A sunny december

OspDecember 12. Osp. A little village in stone nestled underneath a gigantic rocky cirque. The paradise of Slovenian climbing. The perfect wild camping spot; the crag a 10-minute walk away under cloudless skies, friendly temperatures and a six kilometre cycle to replenish the water and food. ShoppingEverything came together, we put our difficult winter behind us and finally used our eight kilos of climbing gear that had lain dormant in the depths of the panniers. We’d stay for ten days. Meanwhile, a third adventurer had the time to consolidate his equipment, pack his bike and find a flight to Venice, joining us on the 21st of December. From there, Sylvain took a train for Trieste whilst we climbed the hill separating Italy from Slovenia to greet him. Three on the road. With our need for the open road coming back strong accompanying the better than usual weather, we head for the Istrian Peninsula. Piran, the Slovenian Venice, calls us. An unseasonably zealous security guard dislodges us from our beach bivouac at 2300.

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Philosophical Moments #1. Small Bike

Small Bike on the road of a big adventure.

small bikeTo see things in grand context, there’s nothing better than feeling small.
To point the eyes upwards.
Being aware of the vastness around us.
As lying on the floor to take pictures reveals a new perspective,
With Small Bike it’s never far away.
Thank you Duch for this gift.

To follow Small Bike’s adventures, click here.

Winter in Germany. Cycling and camping.

good traveller[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.

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Cycle paths: definition

Crash LandingIn 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.

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The grand departure

20.10.16  Chaotic start.

No passport, no credit card.

And we're offNo 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.

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Chamonix

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.

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Dolomites, Pizza, Landslides

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.  DollysDespite 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.

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