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 🙂

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 🙂 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.

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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 🙂

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 🙂

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Bikepacking

Tout un départ

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 🙂

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 🙂

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