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  1. #1
    QED
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    Bike Travel Advice

    After I finally leave the US in August, I am headed to Africa to attempt a summit of Kilimanjaro and then go on safari. Then my plan is to head for Europe to celebrate my 50th birthday cycling around Majorca Spain. After that is where I need lounge help.

    I have a s&s coupled bike in a hard case. I plan to leave Majorca and go to Europe for the rest of September, October and much of November other than a brief trip to Kenya to do some work. My thought had been to go to someplace (i.e. Portugal), put the bike together, ride for a week or so, then pack the bike up and go to the next place that I want to go by train.

    One of my friends suggested just shipping the bike case on to a final destination (I have some friends who live in Hamburg for example) and then sticking a couple of little black dresses and my cycling clothes in the panniers and riding from wherever I start to wherever I ultimately ship the case.

    FTR, I know absolutely nothing about Europe geography or places to see, just what has been recommended to me. I know that I typically like interesting but not tourist places, I love art, I love nature and scenic places, and I love meeting people and experiencing new food, activities, adventures, etc. You get the idea. I like to immerse in the culture of a place.

    I have to admit, only having been a cyclist for a year, cycling in new places in the U.S. scares the crap out of me. Cycling in a place where I don't speak nor read the language is just mind-boggling so I could use some great feedback just to help me htfu.

    So my questions for discussion are: 1) which method would you recommend and why? 2) Suggested places to go and why?

    And for those of you that wanted it, I did start the blog but of course, it doesn't have a lot on it yet. I was hesitant to put it out there because it definitely tells all of my story. But I realized, I have nothing to hide. I am a pretty open person. Life Divided by Zero | The Journey of Becoming Undefined

  2. #2
    Power Napper
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    Adventure adventure adventure. So cool!

    Having never actually cycled for long distances in Europe (I have ridden in and around Dijon France) here's what I do know about.

    You could start out doing things the original way you planned (cycling out of one location then packing up and moving on), then change modes as you get more comfortable. It is fairly easy in most places to put a bike on a train.

    Looking at the map one no brainer of a trip would be to go to Valencia (are there ferries from Majorca?) and travel along the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona, Provence, Marseilles, Monaco, to Italy, maybe cross northern Italy (Genoa, Parma, Modena, Verona, Padua, Venice, damn you could eat your way!) to Croatia, which I hear is a really up and coming destination, then Austria, Prague (Vienna to Prague is a popular bike route) and then around to your friends in Hamburg. A combination of trains and bike would make it very enjoyable. That would be my fantasy trip.
    "When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government." -Thomas Paine

  3. #3
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    A person you may want to reach out to is Phillipc View Profile: philippec - Road Bike, Cycling Forums He lives in Paris, has a coupled bike and has traveled all over the EU. He is also a pretty nice guy from people that have met him. MarkS has ridden with him several times. Len



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

  4. #4
    waterproof*
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    please post pix of you wearing these little black dresses, kthx.
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  5. #5
    QED
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
    please post pix of you wearing these little black dresses, kthx.
    LOL Creaky, I knew when I posted that dress comment wouldn't go unnoticed.

  6. #6
    Meow!
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    QED,

    Perhaps this website might offer some help in route planning, if you haven't otherwise looked at it.

    As to your specific question, I think I'd prefer to send the hard case onto a final destination and then use the bike as my primary mode of transportation. You could still travel by train when necessary, but the hard case IMO will otherwise become an impediment. For as closely spaced as towns and cities are in much of Europe, I think you'll find it easier, not harder, to do it that way.

    Of course, I offer that opinion with absolutely zero experience in touring by bike in Europe to take it for what it's worth!
    You can't change people. They have to change themselves. Just like babies.

  7. #7
    We have met the enemy...
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    I would be tempted to ship the case on to the final destination, and then just assume that you will get there in one piece.

    I know the German trains will let you bring a bicycle on board (with some conditions)--and I suspect that if you needed to you could undo the couplers and bungee all the stuff together (& wrap if you have to) to come up with a fairly compact package should you need to. I'd check with the Spanish rail system to see if they also let you travel with a bike.

    I have not been to Spain--but my sweetie says to detour over to Granada to see the Alhambra; Cordoba is also beautiful she says.
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

    (Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle. Scientific American, January 18, 1896

  8. #8
    Windrider (Stubborn)
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    Quote Originally Posted by paredown View Post
    I would be tempted to ship the case on to the final destination, and then just assume that you will get there in one piece.

    I know the German trains will let you bring a bicycle on board (with some conditions)--and I suspect that if you needed to you could undo the couplers and bungee all the stuff together (& wrap if you have to) to come up with a fairly compact package should you need to. I'd check with the Spanish rail system to see if they also let you travel with a bike.

    I have not been to Spain--but my sweetie says to detour over to Granada to see the Alhambra; Cordoba is also beautiful she says.
    Alhambra is unbelievable.......you have to work to get there...but it is worth it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike Travel Advice-favorites_69.jpg   Bike Travel Advice-favorites_70.jpg  
    Last edited by Len J; 05-13-2013 at 11:27 AM.



    "Evil....is the complete lack of Empathy!"

    ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. " Aristotle

    No one is as bad as the worst thing they have done & no one is as good as the best thing they have done.........think of that when you feel like you understand someone.

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