The time has come. Time to put ideas into plans; and make plans reality. I will have a huge long summer this year, from end of June till the start of October, so I am trying to find something to do that will be really memorable and fun. It will be hard but I am finding that I need, and want, to go one better than last summer’s 3000km around Europe. That was just the beginning.
The planning of a trip is a part that I really enjoy. I find you get a sense of fulfilment when you book those plane tickets or accommodation. You almost reach a point of no return; there is no going back now. I enjoy that feeling as it gives me extra motivation to see the trip through. However in order to start planning you need an idea which you can act upon. This is where I am struggling. I have so many. There are so many wonderful destinations to cycle and so many options of how to get there it can become quite overwhelming.
I really like the idea of SE Asia as I think that part of the world is really beautiful and I would love to cycle there. However I would also love to cycle New Zealand and Australia, oh and not forgetting my place of birth the USA! How to choose a destination? I am lost. Although I do want to go to all these places none are really jumping out at me or routes through them. I think I would much prefer to go through them on a trip around the world –during a gap year possibly. When planning my route last spring I knew Europe was the destination with it being right on our doorstep and easily accessible it was easy to plan and find a nice route. Job done. There is another option; I still haven’t explored much of Europe and countries like Croatia, Romania and Albania I have heard are really beautiful to cycle through. However the fact that I can only speak English and a modest amount of French I think may hold me back in these countries.
I have just finished reading Andrew Sykes ‘Cycling Europe’ and he used the Eurovelo 5 cycling route to take him from London to Brindisi, Italy. There are 14 Eurovelo cycling routes spanning 70,000km across Europe. Although not all finished yet they are predicted to be finished by 2020. Around 45,000km have been finished so far however as they are not totally completed finding maps is very difficult. I think the Eurovelo routes are a fantastic idea and if you want to know more check out their website. However as they are not totally finished I am not sure I want to use them this summer.
I am currently reading ‘Free Country’ by George Mahood a book based on a superb idea. Lands End to John O’Groats, without spending a penny. They just ask people for food, shelter, clothes and even bikes! A great read and it has really inspired me to do something of a similar nature because why should you have to pay lots of money for a good time? Relying on peoples good nature to get you by, I think sounds like a wonderful challenge, but where to do it from and to?
A cycling plan I have already made is that rather than get the train to St.Andrew’s in Scotland, for a week away with my girlfriend in summer. I am going to try and cycle the near 500km in two days. One route is 492km with 1000m of ascent and another is 421km with over 4000m of ascent, I think I’m going to opt for the latter because it sounds like a fun challenge! The reason for me choosing to do this is mainly because I wasn’t lucky enough to be in the 700 people who registered for the London-Edinburgh-London as when I tried it had all filled up.
I am still open to other forms of travel such as Mountain Biking or Hiking. I could pick a destination and try to get there ‘by any means’ which will add a good feel of adventure. One thing I am almost certain on though is that I will do it with Tom again. I am beginning to get a feeling that we will end up going on every future holiday together! However we form a good cycling team and it’s always fun when you go on holiday with your mates.
As of yet I am still undecided and open-minded –if you couldn’t tell already. If any of you have any suggestions I really welcome them. One thing I am sure of though, wherever I end up going it will be a good adventure. As Bilbo once said to Frodo “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”