Not All Who Wander Are Lost
A lazy loop thru Europe in 2014 via EuroVelo long-distance cycle routes.
EuroVelo is a brilliant concept, a network of 12 long- distance cycle routes crossing Europe. The total proposed length is 60, 000 km, of which more than 44, 000 km are in place already.
Sounds really good doesn't it?
Naturally there are things that aren't so good, for example, in 2012 I found gradients of up to 20% on the EV6 in Germany and accommodation can be hard to come by particularly in 'new' Europe... Whatever!
Bits from my journal might provide some colour
Getting ready to go:
Maps: While I'm ancient enough to love paper maps, I use a Garmin Edge® 800 - a bike computer with GPS. And it ain't always easy going
I used paper maps way more than the GPS, especially Verlag Esterbauer route books and while both book and GPS were pretty good ( both were sometimes a tad vague) and this, combined with the sometimes crap signage meant that I spent a bit of time getting lost every now and again
Visa: Under the Schengen rules I don't need a visa, but something that can be problematic is the 90 in 180 days time limit under Schengen rules. As the ride took longer than 90 days I had two basic ways of extending my stay in Europe, a 'temporary residence permit' in one of the Schengen states (do-able in Germany for example) or a much simpler, if not entirely upright, way that's open to Australians and allows us to spend an additional 90 days in the Netherlands (or Denmark) at the end of a tour which in theory at least allows 180 days in 180 days, well, as long as the immigration officer at the airport isn't too inquisitive about exactly what you've been doing the past 90 days.
I saved all the inevitable hassle with airlines by buying a new bike when I arrived!
My lovely Riese and Müller Charger e‑bike
As it turned out, an expensive, but good option. While I bought the bike back to Oz ‑by sea freight, and no, you don't wanna go that way, at least with Australian Customs ‑ if I were to buy another bike in Europe I'd find a way to leave it there/be cared for...
Vaccinations: I didn't bother
Once you're there:
Accommodation: Warmshowers hosts, bed 'n breakfasts, pensions and hotels but no camping for me, I say I'm too old to sleep on the ground
Food: Lots of mouth-watering delights! I ate like a couchon but even so I 'lost' 5 kilos of weight over ten weeks
Money: This was a 'credit card' ride and everything, well, almost everything, was available by credit card and for those things that weren't, there were be heaps of ATMs
Roads: As in 2012, I found variable conditions, mostly well paved and often with nice clearly marked bike lanes but of course, out in the backblocks the roads are more like those in Oz - a collection of patches and pot-holes
Traffic: See above, variable!
And while I said that I never want to see cobblestones ever again, let alone ride on them, well, I know I will...
The most frequently asked questions:
By folk in Oz: Why?
This really is a case of it seems like a nice idea...
By folk in Europe: Aren't you worried about riding an e‑bike so far away from a city?
My Riese and Müller Charger is more of a commuter bike than a tourer, but it served me really well on tour and I only ran the battery quite low once (on ridiculous 20plus% gradients in Slovenia), for me, 'range anxiety' simply didn't exist.