Thursday, August 30, 2001

Tour of Western Europe, May-August 2001

From Cycle Tour Photos...

From 29 April 2001 to 3 September 2001 we set off on our tandem for a tour of France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium & back though France.

Our bike is a Cannondale MT1000 tandem. We bought our tandem in 1997 and we both agree it is the best thing we have ever done! Tandem is a great way to travel. For this trip we also purchased a Cycletote trailer to carry our camping gear and luggage. The trailer worked really well, and keeps the weight off the bicycle. It is also equipped with 26" wheels and hub brakes which improved our stopping and enabled us operate with our existing Magura cycle brakes only.

We set out to camp unless we were staying with Friends. Our trip was 127 days long, and we camped for 100 nights. Overall we stayed in 73 different campgrounds. Campgrounds were plentiful in all countries and overall the quality was good. France was generally the cheapest for camping, but most basic. Other countries were often better equipped with camper kitchens. Camping is a great way to meet people!

We planned our route prior to setting out, and followed about 60% of our plan, it is essential to be flexible. We had very good weather with only 33 days (out of 127) with some rain, and only 4 days where we decided not to move due to rain. We actually only cycled for 83 days, and averaged about 4 hours riding each day. There are many useful books written by other cycle tourists, the two we used the most were;
"Cycling Europe: Budget Bike Touring in the Old World", Nadine Slavinski, Bicycle Books, 1992
"Europe by Bike: 18 tours geared for discovery", Karen & Terry Whitehall, The Mountaineers, 2nd ed. 1993

A number of times we used other forms of transport, mostly ferries and trains. This was generally not too difficult, although tandems with trailers on trains in France are problematic!