Generic Touring Thread

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  • Booking was easy, you only have to select the "bike" option. You only can take bikes that are partially disassembled (wheels off) and that are in a bag (max dimensions 125 x 95 cm, I believe).

    It worked fine for me two years ago (Bruxelles to Valence) so hope it goes as easy as back then.


  • Some impressions. Weather was ok in Lyon so decided to head for the Alps. Went from Lyon to the Chartreuse range passing the Col des Portes (1000 m), than over the Mont du Chat (1500 m) to Chambery and Albertville and Monday I arrived at St Jean de Maurienne after crossing the Madeleine. Yesterday was a day if relative rest and climbed the double Telegraphe-Galibier. Today taking my stuff and hope my legs are good enough to get over Croix de Fer.

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  • A good descent that way off the Galibier! And bagging an extra Col, although the Lautaret doesn't really count if you descend over it!

  • Did the Lautaret two years ago when I toured the more southern part of the Alps. Went over the Crox de Fer today. Boy, that col is long...

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  • Ah man this made me miss the time I was touring there in 2016:(

  • It's a fantastic region to tour, indeed.

  • Ever since watching this video about two years ago, I wanted to ride the Bikepacking Trans Germany (BTG) trail. It starts in Basel, and makes its way up to the north of Germany along 1600+k of forest roads, gravel, tarmac, old cobblestone, and singletrack.

    Das Fahrrad:

    Since I don’t own a car, and taking a bike on the train seems like too much of a hassle, I decide to cycle towards Basel from my home in the south of the Netherlands. Then do a section of the route, swing off somewhere, and make my way back home. I have three weeks.

    My route:

    Fully vaccinated and packing some self-tests, I set off on August 21st. The flat lands make progress effortless during the first days. I needn't worry though; ripples in the earth will slow me down soon enough.

    The following days are moody: drizzly and foggy, but not cold. The Vennbahn is an excellent bicycle highway in the direction of Switzerland; smooth tarmac surrounded by dense forests, full of pine trees. Then the hills finally start, and I have to wake up my skinny Dutch legs for something they’re not used to.

    A week has passed now. The weather takes a turn for the worse, but not before my stomach does. My tiny green tent is turned into a sick bed, as I struggle with liquid bowel movements for a day. The next morning things seem solid enough again, but having lost a day I opt not to start the BTG portion of the tour in Basel. Instead, I directly cross-over from Steinach (some 100k north of Basel) to the BTG trail. Going east I will meet it soon enough.

    And what an introduction it is. A quote from the BTG info page:

    There are technical sections along the route but almost all of them are rideable, even with a heavy loaded bike. The only exception is a 2km section through Hell’s Kitchen gorge that you will face on the first day of the ride. This section will require you to carry your bike in some ridiculously steep sections.

    The word ‘ridiculous’ keeps echoing in my head. I am having to carry my bike up infuriatingly slippery hiking paths, with the panniers removed from my 35kg rig. All the while asking myself out loud who would make such a route. Maybe the better question is why I’m riding it, but right now is not the time for self-reflection.

    Kilometers of extremely rooty single track are completely eroding my enthusiasm for this route. At this point I am just trying to make it through the day. The rain is coming down in full force now, and all signs of it being summer have ceased. I’m so put off by my first BTG day, that I reluctantly make the decision to ‘resort’ to traditional road touring going forward.

    And what do you know? The sun starts shining again, Cadillac gravel roads emerge in front of me, and I’m enjoying myself again. The forecast shows a week of rainbows and butterflies, and I set my crosshairs to Leipzig, where I am meeting up with Tijmen. Arriving there, two weeks of pedalling is put on pause to fiddle with bikes, eat all the homemade food that’s put in front of me, and sleep like a baby in an actual bed.

    The wrenching isn’t for nothing: Tijmen is going against all trends by replacing his one-by crankset with a double, to get some easier gears on his bike. He will accompany me for two days starting in Leipzig, heading west (back home for me). No one in five tours and around 10.000k has ever toured with me, but it’s a big success. A couple of hours pass while our rhythms sync up, and we conquer some tough hills together.

    After two fun days it’s time to say goodbye again, after Tijmen hands over the GPS routes of the final three days he has made for me. And they are more ambitious than I probably would have made them. Ramping up in distance as the days go on, because why not. The final stretch was supposed to be 140k, but a ferry that apparently only operates during the weekend makes me backtrack to a bridge, adding another 20k to the mix. Done and dusted, I arrive home after three weeks of touring. I don’t unpack. In fact, I don’t do much of anything. I eat, and I sleep. And that’s it.

  • Sounds like you (eventually) had fun. :)

    It's not quite clear to me though - did you actually stick to the BTG or not, after the first day of wet, rooty tracks and if you did what did you think of most of it? Was it just one section that was tough?

  • amazing. your ride reports are always a treat.
    hoping to ride together over here in the future!

  • @hippy: Cycling is always fun, afterwards. No, but party it's a 'in the heat of the moment' thing.

    I didn't stick to the BTG route after my first day. Apparently I got the the really nasty part, but at the time couldn't really bring myself to try again the next day. Might try again later, perhaps with a hardtail or something. Because judging from the videos and pictures it looks really good.

    @platypus: We should definitely make that happen in the future!

  • Thanks for this. Really nice to read.

  • I watched that video. Looks pretty cool. have taken the route down though while some issue gets sorted out with it.

  • Inspiring, checking how much holiday I have left to plan a tour immediately after I post this reply

  • Great write up, thanks for sharing!

  • Lush

  • Awesome @Tijs , thanks for the write-up

  • Fantastic write up thank you, I've always been interested in doing more riding in Germany since I saw that trans-germany route.

    @tommmmmm and I had a great time riding from Hamburg to Poland

  • Ha, this makes me dreaming of a next trip. Thanks, @Tijs

  • Just finished a 31 day ride from North London to Malaga… have plans to write it up and will share the route. It was an amazing month and would recommend doing something similar to anyone with a gap between jobs or in need of an adventure. Bivvied about 3/4 of the nights, treated myself to b&bs on the rest. Bike set up worked perfectly, pretty low weight and simple, only one flat on the corsas over 3,275km!! Have stuck a few images here as a placeholder

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  • Must have been a fantastic ride. Been to El Torcal de Antequera? Second pic reminds me of that region. Been touring there back in the early 2000's (between Malaga, Granada and Arcos de la Frontera).

  • Das Fahrrad

    This touring bike - wow

  • Sounds lovely. Spain is so cool to cycle in.

  • Great pix! Sounds like a wonderful ride too.

  • Rad. I fucking love cycling in Spain.

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Generic Touring Thread

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