ON TOUR! Latest GPS timestamp: 2022-07-01 14:39:55
  • End of part one
    • 23/06/2022
Stage one was getting to Prague in time for a five a side football tournament this coming weekend.

Rewinding a little, Regensburg has a nice historic city centre, which apparently we deigned to not destroy int wars, although now it is under a smouldering pile of tour groups, fresh off their river cruise ships just like the ones you see on those TV ads.
Also, while the campsite was indeed for canoeists and cyclists only, they were having a birthday party for one of the members that went on until about 4am....
So I eschewed the worlds oldest hot dog takeaway and escaped as fast as possible on a disused and fortunately shady railway line, wiggling vaguely towards the Czech border.
Much relief to camp at a small site in the woods and get a quiet night - though the morning was anything but, with thunder cracking all around. I love a good thunderstorm - well, when I know I'm going to stay dry anyway.

Monday was the definition of rolling hills, largely capped with forest, one capped with an old NATO listening tower from the first cold war, and after one last German backerei I crossed the now inconspicuous border.
I was going to treat myself to some Czech home comforts at a penzion, but the one I aimed for turned out to be closed so had a nice wild camp instead, just me and some deer, and the fireflies

Scenery is pleasant if unspectacular, lots of fading yellow and orange buildings in villages with inevitable fish ponds but no obvious helpful water supplies. Somehow managed to do more vertical metres here than in Switzerland?

Yesterday Martin and Tesh cycled out a few km from Prague to escort me into the city, where I have been able to buy some spare bolts to stop my front pannier rack falling off.
Now the bike is locked away for a few days respite before the next sprint to Berlin...
  • All roads lead to somewhere
    • 18/06/2022
Turns out that today I'm on or following the route of the via Claudia Augusta, a Roman road stretching from northern Germany to Verona.

Setting off with thunder approaching, first rain drops falling, a single cuckoo calls out from nearby, mocking.
Donner and blitzen, very exciting, but soon passes and all dried out within no time, back to the baking sun.

Next village has a trail of grass clippings from church to Christ on a cross, brass band ready to go. Is it a wedding tradition or is there a Jun 16th something else? Oh. Its a south Germany public holiday, Corpus Christi. All shops are closed, and the entire population seems to be riding towards me on their electric mountain bikes... Annnd a dodgeball tournament?

Saw a bloke walking down the street with a surfboard the other day, which I thought a bit odd, but now understand why - can surf in rivers by holding onto a rope hanging from a bridge

The river still being the Lech -
Escape the baking sun with a jugenherberge in Augsburg, a city with UNESCO recognition for its use of waterways to power mills for its fabric industry - rather than benign canals, water rushes through the city centre at high speed along a network of channels.

Onward scenery is fairly unremarkable countryside. Pick your own strawberries.
A hare.

Cigarette machines everywhere, and they even sell them at the checkout at lidl

May poles, blue and white stripey everywhere

Storks on pole, storks on roofs, storks in fields, carefully stalking through the crop stalks

New babies announced by huge proclamatory placards outside the houses

Still sunny
Reached Danube. Got in it. Very refreshing

Free campsite by the river, supposed to be just for canoeists and cyclists, but unfortunately the campervan brigade has found out about it.

Bloke with electric bike also heading for Sweden, he has a trailer for luggage with a big 150w solar panel on it to charge the spare bike battery as he goes (while its sunny anyway)

Catalogue of other long distance cyclists met so far: (not including those just following rivers)

Dutch lady bikepacking to venice
Lyon guy on way home
North German on shakedown with too much stuff, belt drive
Munich guy going to Madrid heading for klausenpass
Austrian lady recently set off for 3 months to Baltics and back
German guy also bike packing to Venice

Saturday
Still sunny.
Along the river, with detours to a couple of breweries, and a small boat ride to get down a bit where the Danube goes through a scenic gorge, with people diving in from weathered cliffs and sunbathing on pebbly beaches
  • Over and out (of Austria)
    • 16/06/2022
Today is marked as a big climb, but the last big climb, and a much gentler gradient than the previous. From 650m up to 1770m up into Arlberg and then turning off for the Flexenpass over to Lech. Was a bit concerned looking at the map that the cycle path would run next to the motorway all day, but in fact it was often a treat through tranquil woods - albeit with a couple of steep gravely bits which I had to push up. The main entertainment though came from an a accident blocking the autobahn and forcing all the traffic to sit stationery in the tiny side roads to watch me grind past at a stately 8 kmph.
The final part of the climb was steepest, but still comfortable thanks initially to a series of well planned hairpin bends. The final 2km though was largely up through a tunnel/gallery, where the noise of any approaching vehicle would gradually amplify to jet engine deafening levels, impossible to tell which direction it was coming from. So a great relief to pop out at the top into the cool clear air, and soon after find an altitude signpost at the saddle of the pass, complete with the obligatory stickers from all kinds of clubs and such.
And down to Lech (ski station)

Next day began with an exhilarating fast descent from the heights, until the valley levels out into inhabited farmland and cute alpine villages, the valley of the river Lech, tantalising turquoise waters flanked by meadows of flowers and forests of fir. And a nice signposted path to follow away from the already quiet "main" road.
An easy day in legs then, but eventually the peaks either side start to give way and you can sense that there will be a sudden end to the landscape, and indeed, the country, as the transition marks the border into Germany, and a spate of castles built on the last walls of rock, including the spectacular but entirely ornamental Neuschwanstein.
  • Swiss Rolling
    • 15/06/2022
Well Switzerland is pretty isn't it? Leaving Basel behind, and climbing through rolling hills and villages full of water troughs.
Having the backdrop of snow capped peaks is always nice, then throw in the inviting clear blue lakes, meadows of alpine flowers, farmers making hay, locals playing beach volleyball, quaint old buildings with painted frescos, quite the antidote to the monotonous canals.

Luzern is tourist paradise, with its covered wooden bridges, big lion carving, and panoramic painting of refugee French troops from the Prussian war being the highlights I had time for before taking a ferry part way across the lake. Very pleasant, but mixed feelings as it hard to say it isn't cheating, but I need to save some time for what comes next - well initially skirting the remainder of [...read the rest]
  • Rhine Valley Cycle Superhighway
    • 10/06/2022
Wissembourg, Strasbourg, Colmar

These three towns share a style, with wood framed houses leaning over flower lined waterways, a postcard picture around every corner.
Scenic detours in the Alsace meant a late arrival into Strasbourg, with the only place left to stay a campsite on the German side, in Kehl.
As the Rhine cycle route is massively popular, this resembled a festival, but turned out to be surprisingly quiet.

Late arrival in Colmar meant I missed out on the Bertholi museum (guy who designed statue of liberty) but I did spend a couple of hours at Cite du Train, the French equivalent of York railway museum

The last three days has essentially been all following the river / canals, which has been easy but a bit dull, only punctuated by the passing barge traffic and fores [...read the rest]
  • More borderlands
    • 07/06/2022
Guiding Saar
Nipped back to the Europa museum as had to retrace steps from the campsite anyway.
Forecast is rain of doom, and though it did rain a load overnight, bigger problem first thing was the load of ants I seem to have attracted during the night.
Anyways, clouds are threatening but its hot, humid, sunny, windy.
Steady climbs out of the Moselle valley and over to that of the Saar, passing giant with turbines and a sequence of bizarre menhir based sculptures, somehow significant in the context of the old Germany France border.
Great view from up here of the dark clouds gathering, distant rain etc. A nice Luxembourgeuse? Lady I met at the top warns of " impending hurricane - aren't you worried about getting wet?" Well it just kept not happening, a few light drizzles may [...read the rest]
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Eurocycle 2022
latest trip pic
Part 3 cycling in Europe, Dunkirk to Stockholm via Switzerland

Getting away for the summer, playing some football, seeing some new parts of Europe
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Trips!
Eurocycle 2022
Part 3 cycling in Europe, Dunkirk to Stockholm via Switzerland
Getting away for the summer, playing some football, seeing some new parts of Europe
Iceland 2020
North to South traverse hike of Iceland
A return to trekking after the last couple of trips by bike. 400 miles across volcanic desert should be gruelling enough to shed some lockdown pounds...
Eurocycle 2
Taking the summer off to explore former Austro-Hungary, Western Balkans region
I've never been to any of these countries before, except for a brief school history trip, so this should be an interesting trip, expecting a mixture of western europe and communist influences, a mixture of mountains, rivers, plains, historic cities and rural villages.Maybe some interesting wildlife? I've mapped out a load of points of interest to visit, but have tried to avoid looking at photos so that everything can be a surprise!
Africa Overland 2017
Safari tour in a big yellow dustbin lorry
Travelling from Nairobi to Victoria Falls, through game reserves and whatnot, with Oasis Overland
North Sea Cycle
cultural bike ride around northern europe
Over a couple of months, i'll be testing my legs by riding from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Bergen in Norway. Approx 3000 miles, sounds like a lot but not very much each day on average...
Caribbean 2016
3 weeks of sun, sand, and craziness
A much needed relaxing break in the Cayman Islands... was what i expected, but instead almost none stop action, sports, sightseeing and partying. And then 10 days in Cuba, a beautiful, welcoming, and bewildering place like no other. And then back to Cayman for more awesome...
Tour du Mont Blanc 2015
A 10 day hike around Europe's biggest peak
The alps in the summertime are majestic. This walk, between 1500 and 3500m took in breathtaking views, high altitude camping, wildlife, and charming locals. After completing the walk i spent a few days relaxing on the shores of, and in, Lake Geneva.
Wales Walk 2014
A three week struggle across Wales on the Cambrian Way
Having skipped Wales on last year's LEJOG, i wanted to finished the job. The Cambrian Way provides 18,000 metres of ascent, the same as Everest - and twice that of the Pennine Way or Cape Wrath Trail. So it was hard work!
LEJOG 2013
1800 mile trek from one end of Britain to the other
After being a nomadic traveller for two years, I wasn't ready to go back to real life and get a job, but i wanted to do something constructive. Whilst in other far flung parts of the world i was often embarrassed by my limited knowledge of my home country. So i bought a train ticket to Penzance. And i walked.
South Pacific 2012
Beaches and reefs, palm trees and cava
A month relaxing in the Cook Islands, another month relaxing in Fiji and Samoa, with lots of diving, snorkeling, book reading, cava drinking, sunbathing and such. Then hitting the tourist trail on New Zealand's North Island, from Cape Reinga to Wellington. Off to Australia for a couple of weeks of modern world, then flying to Singapore, numerous public transport adventures through Malaysia and Thailand to the gap yearers mecca of Bangkok before flying home.
North America 2011
Backpacking around the US and Canada
Summer camps in New Hampshire, backpacking around the East Coast, protesting at the White House, traveling across Canada to track down my namesake, couchsurfing and hitchhiking through California, bears, snowboarding, crazy cyclists, Christmas in San Diego