Our winter so far, cycle touring from England to Austria.
[A little context: today is Thursday the 17th of November. After two days spent with our friend Christine in Regensburg, Germany, we are meant to be back on the road. The apartment is clean, our bags firmly closed, Christine is away at work and the sun is back after two days of persistent rain. We have only to load our bikes and leave. We weren’t counting on my legendary clumsiness… Adam had held the door open with a panier, I decided to help him taking the luggage out. I let you imagine. A swift draft, a slamming door, and here we are sitting on the floor in front of said door, keys inside alongside the remainder of our bags and my shoes. In short, here is how to find time to write a new article!]
But what an idea!
To understand how we got to cycling in winter in Germany, we must return to the start of our project.
In the Netherlands
Red lanes allow cyclists and some other two-wheeled vehicles to travel from one point to another via the shortest route, avoiding detours and with maximum safety. At every crossroad there are signposts. The signs show place names alongside accurate, reliable distances. Any work on cycle lanes is clearly visible and a clear alternative is set up when necessary.
20.10.16 Chaotic start.
No passport, no credit card.
No depart without a false start. As usual, we haven’t been able to leave without forgetting something. Ready, we take off without my passport. I left it in France and it’s on the way via post to the UK. Adam’s parents will have to send them to our next destination, maybe the Netherlands, maybe Germany.
A short edit of some of the things we got up to during our final summer in Cham.
Two years in a van…
It’s been two years that we’ve lived in that van. That small two metre squared house on wheels. A bed, a cooker, an oven, a fridge, lights, shelves for our clothes and boxes for our climbing, alpinism, cycling and camping gear. A solar panel allows us to charge our phones and to run the heater in winter. The height of luxury, we’ve got a library full of mountaineering guidebooks and maps from here to eternity. We repurpose three five litre containers that we fill up once a week with water. The membership at the climbing gym gives us the possibility of a shower during opening times. We need only walk two minutes to reach the public toilet. We try always to park where no one will be disturbed. Discretion, cleanliness, respect and politeness are our watchwords.
A short video of our mini-tour around Mont Blanc. We’d forgotten about the pain that only alpine cols can provide when we challenged ourselves to the classic 330km, 9000m of ascent route.
Adam writes a couple of stories and the lessons learned from our bike tour to the Dolomites in Spring 2015.
LESSONS LEARNED/WHEN NOTHING GOES RIGHT
Being my first bike tour it was always going to be full of lessons.
We’d chosen a route from the French Alps, roughly crossing the Swiss and Italian Alps and then arriving in the Dolomites in North Western Italy. I knew it would be a touch hilly, crossing many alpine cols that are apparently famous in the road cycling world, albeit this time with all our gear and not a centimetre of lycra in sight. Perhaps foolishly I wasn’t concerned about the cycling, more the cars on the road. I figured I was fit and always keen for adventure – enthusiasm is what I normally rely on to see these things through. I also knew at the end we’d climb in the Dolomites, somewhere I’d been wanting to go for a while. Despite being limestone (a rock I say I don’t like because I’m not very good at climbing it) it’s an area famous in the climbing world for huge walls, some of the biggest in Europe.
A short video from Adam and Ed’s climb of the Nose in Yosemite back in 2014, with warmer weather coming to Chamonix valley we’re excited to go rock climbing after a winter of hard work (and the occasional ski…!)
Two days of cycling along the Rhône with family. 100km between Pont de Beauvoisin and Belley. Some hills, beautiful landscapes, nice wild camp, summery weather, successful bike tour for all.
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