Europe: Legend to become Reality - Grampies on the Go - Again! - CycleBlaze

October 7, 2011

Europe: Legend to become Reality

As we pedaled across North America on our first ever long distance tour this summer (see the blog by clicking here), the distances at times (most times!) seemed infinite. But we plodded on, and soon (too soon!) we had used up most of the continent. Sure, we could have turned South and started a circle or a diagonal or something, but I quipped to Dodie "With this continent not really that wide, have you got any other continents we could cross?" So that's when "Europe" landed on the table (or map case).

It seems a bit weird that after 63 years of life (each!) neither of us has been to Europe. It is a place of legend, fame, and myth, but all we ourselves know of it is "hearsay". Worse, in my case anyway, I could not reliably name the countries if shown a map of outlines. Sure, England, France, and Germany were pretty clear in my mind, but honestly Austria vs Switzerland would have been a puzzler. Sixty-three years old, years of post-graduate education, house full of encyclopedias and high speed internet devices? Go figure!

So this is going to change. Maps of Europe now grace our office. We now know what an electric plug looks like in Germany vs. England (sort of). Do you think we still have a lot to learn? Well anyway, we have at least also discovered EuroVelo.

EuroVelo is analagous to the Route Verte in Quebec. It is a system of thirteen bicycle routes covering in total 44,000 km and crisscrossing (mostly)western Europe effectively. We like Eurovelo 6, which goes from the Atlantic to the Blsck Sea, and we like EV 15, along the Rhine. We have started to follow blogs in CGOAB that are in these general areas. On the other hand, there is so much to see that we are far from settling on a route. All we really know right now is that we will allow about four months, and go about 5,000 km., and do it next Summer.

In the next little while we need to keep looking at maps, keep reading blogs, and hopefully slowly to begin to settle on a general route.

One other piece of thinking we have done is to sort of put aside the principle of our "cross Canada" ride, which was to "cross" something. With Europe, we want to see "everything", which means something more like circling or darting around, rather than "crossing" it. The other piece of thinking is that any circles or darts we do do not necessarily have to join up with each other. That is, we could do 1000 km somewhere and then hop over and do another 1000 km in a different region. We would change regions probably by train.

To support this we began to see the advantage of the folding bike. We were scarcely aware of them earlier this year, but began to notice some blogs, like the "Circus Bear" accounts of David Omick in Crazyguy. David strongly recommends the Bike Friday, which is made in Eugene Oregon. So, yes, tomorrow morning we are charging down to Eugene to see what it is all about. In true Grampies fashion, we will document all we see there, so stay tuned!

Europe has scads of countries and major bike routes. Plotting an itinerary will not be easy. The red circle was our first cut, but we also need to check out England, end to end.
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