A self-supported solo cycling expedition across southern Europe.
In June 2011 I resume my quest to cycle around the world, starting on the other side of the Atlantic where I finished a previous continental crossing last summer. In this new leg I will set off from Lisbon and head to Istanbul, continuing an easterly and incremental progression around the planet.
Unlike my US crossing, TransEuropa 2011 differs in several respects. It promises to be much, much more difficult. I will cycle across Europe solo and self-sufficiently, carrying everything I need in panniers on my bike. And unlike my American adventure where the itinerary was prescribed and the trip was organized by a professional company, TransEuropa 2011 is entirely of my own devising. While I know the general direction on this trip (‘go east’) I will improvise the route and the pace to Istanbul. And finally, it will not be a non-stop shot to Istanbul. I will interrupt my cycling for family visits back in Asia.
I aim to pedal 100km (60 miles) each cycling day, which is a comfortable touring pace, hoping to arrive in Istanbul by late October. I will mostly be doing credit card touring, but will stay in a variety of accommodations, the cheaper the better, and also do some camping.
As of April, the theoretical plan is to pedal through 14 countries to Istanbul in two stages. This is really just theory, as part of the cycle touring charm is to go which ever way the road takes me; to follow my nose.
Stage I: Lisbon – Munich
Iberian peninsula: Setting off from Lisbon on June 5, I will cycle in a northeasterly direction via Marvao to Salamanca, Spain, and continue on to Bilbao and San Sebastian.
France: After crossing the Pyrenees, I will head to Bordeaux via Biarritz. From Bordeaux I will cycle through the Dordogne river ralley and head due east, somehow navigating the Massif Central. Approaching Geneva, I will cycle through the Rhone valley.
Switzerland: From Geneva I will cycle along Lac Leman to Montreux. If I get my timing right my arrival in Montreux will coincide with the Jazz Festival in the first half of July. From Montreux I will take the Mittteland cycling route to Lake Constance, hang a left and target arriving in Munich by July 18. Prost.
In Munich I will take a hiatus from cycling for some family time.
Stage II: Munich – Istanbul
Returning to the saddle in late August, I will head south via Innsbruck and Trieste to the Adriatic coast. Along the Adriatic I will pass through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Albania, Macedonia and Greece before arriving in Istanbul by late October.
When I cycled across America I endeavoured to find the prettiest barn in the country and the tastiest ice cream, in addition to raising funds for A New Day Cambodia. I am proud to say that mission was accomplished on all fronts.
On TransEuropa 2011 I intend to:
– Arrive at Istanbul and immensely, meeting new people, going new places, and doing new things along the way
– Cycle EFSI — every friggin’ safe inch between Lisbon and Istanbul
– Raise at least US$35,000 and awareness for Yaowawit, the Thai children’s charity
– Raise awereness about the pressing need for individual action to combat climate change.
– Find the best pastries in Europe. As I burn thousands of calories a day there’s no need to count them. I will take full advantage of the chance to eat my way across Europe without guilt or shame.