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Does anybody cycle to other countries?

Travel Forums General Talk Does anybody cycle to other countries?

1. Posted by Seany (Respected Member 268 posts) 6y

I'm no cycling enthusiast but I have keep getting the idea of riding a pedal bike to another country or maybe a few. I'm not 100% going to do it as I don't a lot about it. It appeals to me as its a quite challenge, it keeps you fit and you get to travel around without without paying for any other transport (unless you want to) - oh, and its green to!! I was thinking this could be quite a good idea across Europe.

Does/has anybody done this kind of thing or tried it before? I would like to hear what its like as well as any unexpected things that have happen from cycling...

Cheers for any info...

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

I would love to, but it doesn't look too likely for me. I think you need to read this wonderful book by Dervla Murphy:

Full Tilt and other early writings

In 1963, Murphy set off on her first long-distance bicycle tour - a self-supported trip from Ireland to India. Taking a pistol along with other equipment aboard Roz, her Armstrong Cadet bicycle, she passed through Europe during one of the worst winters in years. In Yugoslavia, Murphy began to write a journal instead of mailing letters. In Iran she used her gun to frighten off a group of thieves, and "used unprintable tactics" to escape from an attempted rapist at a police station. She received her worst injury of the journey on a bus in Afghanistan, when a rifle butt hit her and fractured three ribs; however, this only delayed her for a short while. She wrote appreciatively about the landscape and people of Afghanistan, calling herself "Afghanatical" and claiming that the Afghan "is a man after my own heart." In Pakistan, she visited Swat (where she was a guest of the last wali, Miangul Aurangzeb) and the mountain area of Gilgit. The final leg of her trip took her through the Punjab region and over the border to India towards Delhi. Her journal was later published by John Murray as her first book Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle. (Wikipedia)

3. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 6y

dadmin might have some tips for you :) Growing up he'd keep the dinner conversation interesting by reminiscing of the bike trips he took when younger. Cycled around Europe and Australia and got started on South America but some illness hitting in the mountains of Peru (I believe?) forced him to cut that one short. As soon as we moved back to Europe, the only thing we wanted to do in our summer holidays was take bike vacations

I think I took 3, varying from 1 to 2 weeks length. The Netherlands is a great starting point though, as it's flat and you can either go nearly all directions and end up in a new country within 2 days. We'd typically not plan these too well, but rather decide based on the wind which way we were headed Well, not quite, but it wasn't far off! The main thing is you have a good map, though in this day and age there is probably GPS to stop you taking some of the wrong turns we did, hehe. You also need basic skills in terms of fixing a flat etc, and to do it cheap, camping is the only way to go. We were always competing to do this as cheap as possible, and I think our daily budget back then was 25 guilders per day per person, which we managed to hit pretty easily (camping spot and all food, at least one meal a day being fast food too). That's 11.36 EUR, although keep in mind this was back in 1990-1993... We ate a lot of fries and other basic 'junk food', but because you're cycling 100-150kms a day, you burn it all off and kind of need it for the extra energy if you don't go down the track of expensive sports drinks etc.

It is really a great way to travel! You feel much closer to everything than you would in a car, and the breaks from cycling in a little boulangerie for example are so rewarding. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to help!

4. Posted by Seany (Respected Member 268 posts) 6y

Sounds like Dadmin had quite a few adventures. The thing is, I don't know if I'm confident enough to cycle across other countries alone. I've asked a good friend if he would be keen to join me....his final decision is pending.

I went to a bike shop in London to ask for some extra info on what kind of bike I would need plus a list if accessories that I should take. The price adds up but in the long run its cheaper than a bunch of aeroplan tickets and alot more fun!

Also I need to take into account the time of the year I cycle, as I can imagine cycling in the cold could be tough. In terms of fitness level's I dont really how to class myself. If i decide to take this trip on, my fitness is going to have to improve..
Mind you, when I was 14 me and a bunch of friends cycled from from East london to Southend on BMX's! (Apart my the lucky one who had a geared mountain bike!)

I'll be researching more into this...:)

5. Posted by jensysmith (Budding Member 6 posts) 6y

Its adventures..I don think it will fit for ladies ...Hence I never tried and I don want to try this in future as well.. But I wish you good luck

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

don think it will fit for ladies

I am a lady and I have cycled in other countries.

Seany, your plan is a great one and quite feasible. The biggest obstacle is usually acquiring some essential gear before you can set out, but cycling from the UK to other European countries is something that is done quite regularly.

Check out this thread: http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=69691

And this blog: http://amyandwim.travellerspoint.com/archive/052007/

If you need any tips I and others will be happy to help.

The thing is, I don't know if I'm confident enough to cycle across other countries alone.

Don't let the fact that you have nobody to do this with stop you. This is Europe we are talking about, a place that is just as safe as England. If you feel confident enough to cycle alone from say, London to Brighton I don't see any problems with a longer trip from London to Berlin or so.

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/assets/files/general/sustrans_nationalmapposter_2010_web.pdf
http://www.fietsrouteplanner.eu/

In terms of fitness level's I dont really how to class myself. If i decide to take this trip on, my fitness is going to have to improve..

You don't have to be very fit to do this. If you are not fit all you need to do is planning on doing less kilometers per day. Even a total couchpotato who hasn't worked out for years should be able to cover around 40 kms every day. If you are of normal fitness and cycle approx. 10 kms each day you can reasonably plan on doing around 60 kms per day. If you go on a longer trip your fitness will improve as you ride. You can start out with doing 20-30kms per day and after 4 weeks in the saddle you will be able to do around 70 kms per day. After two months 120 kms per day will become normal to you.

[ Edit: Edited on 03-May-2010, at 15:15 by t_maia ]

7. Posted by chrisvasil (Respected Member 102 posts) 6y

We knew a couple who wanted to cycle from Canada to US. Abandon the idea after 3 days. Harder than they thought.

8. Posted by wrist (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y

Two of my friends from France started to cycle all around the world. They are new married and their honymoon plan is to travel all around the world with their bike. It is been more than two months they are on the roads and continue. I found this fantastic and a little dangerous but they do. Fascinating. If I find a good friend to travel like this I would definetly do it!!! :)

9. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

I was on a work trip to Austria awhile back and took a flight from Gatwick to Vienna. It took a little over two hours.
On the way back, me and my work colleague popped into the airport to see if the flight was on time, before we went off for a bite to eat. As we came back out to get into the taxi, I got a tap on the shoulder and it was my friend from Islington (North London). He had just cycled to Austria, via Amsterdam. I was running around getting things organised for the lunch before the flight and frantically making phone calls, but apart from that had done very little over the three day trip. I was more worn out and stressed than he was. He made it look so easy. Would I do it? Maybe once to give it a try, dont think I'd go too far though. I wouldn't plan a second one until I'd got back from the first one and gained the experience either.

10. Posted by latestartr (Budding Member 5 posts) 6y

Hey I think thats a brilliant idea! so brillinat in fact that I did consider doing the exact same thing myself this summer although I rejected it in favour of travelling to Vietnam (in an aeroplane of course). I may well do it next summer so if you get the bug we may cross paths. I know of several people who cycled across america last summer - it took them 2 months or so but they absolutely loved it! so in short GO FOR IT! and dont let other peoples bad experiences put you off!