Bikepacking, Europe adventure

La routine

My daily routine involves a continental breakfast at the hotel. Every morning I have my croissant, yogourt and granola. I may take an apple and pastry for the road πŸ™‚

I should also include stretching the muscles and verifying the bike, but I keep forgetting .

I read that it was surprisingly hard to find food in France when in rural areas and it’s true, there’s nothing and it’s the same in Belgium. I now load my front panier with extra food (that I buy at a grocery store) to get me through the day. I then like finding the perfect park bench and enjoy my piece of cheese, salami and crackers.

A town I slept in only had one food option, a regional and exotic restaurant. Once you passed the creepy exterior it actually was not too bad. If the lovely B&B host didn’t recommend it, I would have lived on my leftover peanuts.

There are plenty of lodging options, from camping, B&B to High end hotels everywhere. No camping for me this time. I shipped all my camping gear home last week, it’s been below freezing every night. It’s off season now, so it’s cold, but hotels are also cheaper πŸ™‚

Where does my bike live? The higher end hotels are usually very nice and don’t mind me bringing my bike in my room, but I look for more budget friendly places. My bike had to live in garages and bike rooms, but one hotel in Strasbourg wanted me to lock it outside. I have a lock, but we all know how long a good bike lasts overnight in a city.

I just got to Switzerland and it will be my home for a few days and I already fell in love with it. It has everything for the perfect adventure; great coffee, chocolate, bakeries and mountains to climb.

The bike routes are super easy to follow here and very well marked. I barely looked at my phone for navigation. A steep climb started my day and a long gravel ride ended it, perfect!

My german is inexistant, so I keep trying to figure out what the signs say. Was it a street name or an instruction I should follow? Is that road blocked or is it the name of the next town? Keeps things interesting πŸ™‚

Advertisements
Standard
Bikepacking, Europe adventure

Je suis en vacance

I am taking a day off! If I keep telling my self that it’s a vacation and not a race, maybe I will take it easy πŸ™‚

It’s great to aim for lots of kilometres, but what about enjoying a coffee along the canal? How about having time to explore the gravel road instead of the paved bike path?

The path along the canal was a good change. Peaceful and flat with less then 12 humans sightings when I was riding along the Saar but a bit livelier while riding on the Marne to Rhin canal.

I now reduced my daily distance to 100km, allowing me to take breaks, smell the roses and get lost. I do get lost a lot! but as a friend told me “Europe is tiny” so getting lost is just bonus miles πŸ™‚ Google, Galileo, Garmin, Eurovelo5 apps, I still manage to take wrong turns.

My little bike is fixed, I got rid of the brake rub and all my gears seem to work. All nuts and bolts have been tightened . The cobble stones, gravel and dirt roads may be shaking my loaded bike a bit too much!

Time to enjoy a coffee and a book before exploring Strasbourg. There may be a lot more coffees happening today.

Standard
Bikepacking, Europe adventure

Summer is definitely over

Not sure there will be any camping happening on this trip. I have been starting my days with a chilly 5C, crisp temperatures that stay low until late afternoon. It’s all fine, my planned routes seem to always start with a climb πŸ™‚

Isn’t Belgium supposed to be flat? When it’s not hilly, it’s still not flat and SO windy. Luxembourg wasn’t that much different, with more fun climbs.

Glorious mornings, either starting in the fog along a canal or clear blue skies into vineyards.

I expected the Alps to be really cold at the top so I have all the warm clothing, I wasn’t expecting to wear so many layers at once everyday. I have yet to ride without sleeves, vest or leg warmers. But I am getting better at peeling layers off while riding.

Yesterday was a really tough day, I ran out of water and never found an open bakery or grocery store. My hilly 170km ride made me suffer. The cheese and apple I stole from the morning’s buffet may not have been sufficient fuel for the ride.

Today my 75km ride starting in Luxembourg ended up being 99.5km long, but was fun. I decided to let go of the technology and trust a map and signage. Eurovelo 5 is almost finalized here. I scrambled at first trying to find my way following the bike route, but when I entered Germany the route was marked at every corner and intersection.

The route took me through farm fields, forests, across little towns and along rivers. I ended my day in a more industrial city in Germany. I finally got to enjoy a very good pretzel and a wonderful coffee πŸ™‚

Standard
Bikepacking

Tout un dΓ©part

I was expecting to ride away from Brussels straight in the country side, see old castles and hear only my thoughts, but it took 70km to get there.img_0847I hugged my daughter goodbye, dropped the rental and road away…. just to ride back 5km later. I forgot my GPS in the car 😦

If I first scrambled to find my way the first time, I was way more efficient the second time around! But then a hill happened and my derailleur went into my spokes. No harm done, but A quick repair has to be done ASAP.

img_0827The ride wasn’t peaceful, but that made me forget the constant noise of the disc rubbing, the bad shifting and an unknown click in the crank.

To add the the fun I wasn’t having the Eurovelo app I was using wasn’t working, the signage was also inexistant. I did a few bonus Kilometres before I decided to switch my navigation tool. That’s when I switched to Google. The fun began, great roads, paves, citadels, castles, Abbayes, rivers and not real roads πŸ™‚

img_0833img_0839img_0835My last 30km were spent riding along rivers (la Sambre et La muse) on a bike path. Beautiful, peaceful ride to make the day better.

img_0842At the end it was a great day, I had another great morning with coffee and pastry with by daughter, I rode my bike in Belgium and ate chocolates πŸ™‚

Standard
Bikepacking, Taiwan

One last ride

Yesterday’s ride made me wish we didn’t waste time going to Kenting. We rode from Taipei to the northern tip of Taiwan using some really nice pike paths trying to avoid major roads. Clear blue skies all the way, ocean views and great company made this 100km ride very enjoyable. My butt is glad to not have to sit on the saddle anymore, but I wish I could stay longer and see more. We keep discovering new places and the riding route possibilities seem endless.

we got to ride with friends again today, we worked together to push through the headwind and visits areas even my Taiwan native friend never visited. If only we had time to go to the beach! We got to practice some cyclo-cross skills πŸ™‚

Our last full day in Taiwan has been spent walking through Taipei. Ouch! I am a lot better at the two wheel exploring then the pedestrian thing. Cool bike shops, more great coffees and some food truck snacks.

I wish I could stay longer, but my butt and saddle aren’t friends anymore and I may need to get back to work and plan for the next adventure!

Standard
Bikepacking, Taiwan

The end of the nomadic lifestyle

Getting back to Taipei ended up being really easy. There isn’t a straight answer when asking about bringing a bike on a train or a bus, you will be told that it depends on the train, the bus, the driver,… Luckily enough, we met another cyclist who took a bus and was told to buy plastic bags, take the wheels off and throw the bike in the bus, so we did the same thing, bought a roll of garbage bags at one of the so many 7-11’s took the wheels off and brought our expensive trash on the high speed train. One hour and a half later, we had travelled 370km and were riding our bikes on the street of Taipei!

Back in that organized chaos that is Taipei, all these scooters and cars going all directions, I kinda like it! First stop…eggs benedict at our favourite coffee shop πŸ™‚

I am so happy to not have to pack my bag and bike for the next 4 nights.

The plan is to spend a few days taking it easy, ride my bike around town, taste every latte from all those different cafe’s, visit bike shops and relax.

Then Angela arrived to town! Not even a full nights sleep after her 14h flight, jet lagged, she invited us to climb a little mountain, just 800m of climbing in 24km. Thanks for showing me this route!

Tomorrow will be a flat easy day!

Standard
Bikepacking, Taiwan

I did it again!

No mountains today 😦 After a very tasty McDonald’s breakfast we rode our toughest fastest flattest 100km ever!

Getting out if the city took us about 1/2 hour, then it was a constant tailwind as we reached the coast and enjoyed our lunch and coffee break.

Then the winds turned! Well, they kept on turning for the last 30km of our ride. The dominant tailwind helped keep a good speed, but the wind gusts we pushing us off the road or into traffic. Scary!

But as always, I succeeded in choosing the hotel that would challenge us the most. Just one last turn after passing all these charming B&B’s, quaint resorts, a few kilometres more, just enough for the wind to become a head wind and stop us. It’s quite a nice hotel, with ocean view πŸ™‚ and amazing food.

Kenting is very different from the rest of Taiwan, it is a busy touristy beach town. We were hoping to even out the cyclist sun tan, but the wind brought the clouds and the rain.

Standard