We have just a month to go until we leave on our third big Europe cycle tour. This time we are starting in Rome and ending in Hamburg. The 2017 map on the site is just a stub at the moment, I will be entering our locations as we go.
I found this post that Kris wrote on our last tour when cleaning up my cycle computer files and thought I would re-post it. It goes some way to answering the question “why are we doing this??”
Things balance out. When it is hot, the breeze from the front will help to keep you cooler. When it rains the heat your body creates from the exercise will warm you up.
You inevitably develop sore spots. Some of these may be a sore wrist, sore aching muscles and saddle sores. Your body also adapts an become more effective each day.
Cyclists need to rinse or wash their clothes every night and always look at how the accommodation can be used to wash and dry clothes (washbasin, plug, hangers). Most accommodation provides a washbasin and you hang your wet stuff in the shower or in various other spots (we have been forced to hang them on the bicycles).
When you cycle tour every day you start dreaming regularly at night. I discussed this phenomenon with a fellow cycling psychiatrist. He reckoned it is because the brain has received many inputs during the day which it has not had a chance to process, There are decisions about routes, passing glimpses of interesting surroundings. Cyclists think about their bicycle, bodies, and contemplative thoughts on a straight stretches. Your mind tries to catch up with the processing by staging varied dreams
Food tastes better when your body really needs it. Beer provides carbohydrates and alcohol and liquid. Beer is a triple whammy that makes your body purr after you have done a days cycling. Many cyclists drink beer.
You need fewer belongings and simple stuff become more valuable, like rope and tape. You depend on your bicycle, so the state of your bicycle becomes important. This is common to all cyclists, so it is very normal for inn-keepers to initiate the first interaction by saying they have a place where you can lock your bicycle. Conversely it is reassuring that you can replace your whole bike for a few hundred dollars if you need to (the cost of renting a car for a week or two).
It seems like the hotel community is keen on cyclists. Cyclists leave early and they drink a lot of beer. They will also eat almost any food after a ride.
You become adaptable. If you travel by bicycle and you are finding your own way and accommodation, days can be a little chaotic at times. Random things happen that are particular to the fact that you are cycling. A kid in a very small village threw stones at us. We used water bottles to store left-over red wine. A sip can be useful to improve the mood when you a close to your destination but you are struggling. Bicycles and equipment break. The towns where you planned to stay may not have suitable accommodation. The people you stay at may behave in an unexpected manner. Your main source of locomotion is your body, may have an injury or feel off. Some days you will get lost while you are trying to find accommodation. You learn that life is not on rails. Your stable job and the next five years of your planned life is a chimera.