Crikey it’s a while since I was here.
A lot has happened since. I moved to London. I rented out my flat. I rented a flat. I started cycling to work and realised I quite liked it (mountain biking (badly) has been more my thing). I put my flat on the market. I started looking for a flat to buy. And I decided to take a little bike trip this summer.
I’ve never had an urge to be a ‘touring’ cyclist. For some reason these guys seems to be way on the uncool side of cycling. Not that I was on the cool side in any way. Anyone who saw me stack it over the handlebars and land on my back on the road 6 ft below during a trip to Bike Village a couple of years ago can testify to that. Anyway, I guess it just never really appealed.
Then after a year of working hard down here in the smoke, and thinking that I needed a break, I started looking for a mountain biking holiday, perhaps in Africa (somewhere I’ve visited just once and need to visit again…). CycleActive had a trip in Morocco which looked a bit more technical than I fancied and a much more chilled trip they had to Malawi appealed seemed much more appealing. More of a journey. In the end the trip wasn’t running but it got me thinking.
A bit of Googling and a purchase of a few books later, and I’m taken with the idea. There are so many people out there undertaking amazing journeys, large and small, on two wheels, and it all looks amazing. Here’s just one photo from TomsBikeTrip:
The Fully Loaded Touring gallery has plenty more.
So I’m going to try it. Whilst somewhere tough and remote would be great, I realise that although I mountain bike and cycle to work, I’ve never done any long distance cycling on a loaded bike. I may HATE it. I may wimp out.
So to start with its going to be somewhere relatively easy – Europe. A friend of mine is moving to St Gallen, in Switzerland next week. So that is Target Number 1: London to St Gallen.
St Gallen just happens to be virtually at the start of the Panorama Route, one of the 3 national Swiss mountain bike routes, which runs all the way across Switzerland through the foothills of the Alps to Lac Leman. So that’s Target Number 2: The Panorama Trail.
I do have a friend with a flat in Barcelona and depending on time and my speed, might try to head there. However, that might be asking a bit much with probably only a couple of months away from work at the moment. But a touring guide I bought for the Alps shows a route which heads from Geneva (close to Lac Leman) all the way down through the Alps to Nice on the Mediterranean Coast. It sounds like its a route for the sadomasochistic lycra clad roadies: climbing up as many steep passes as they can, but provisionally, that’s Target Number 3: Lac Leman to Nice.
That’s just about as far as I’ve got with the route so far. I’ll be aiming for as many small roads as I can, and I’d quite like to do as much of it off road as I can, so I need to do a little research. A route that heads down to St Gallen through Germany’s Black Forest seems to make sense and I’m sure that there must plenty of off road trails there.
Watch this space.