So once we discovered the Eurovelo Routes, our imaginary grand adventure started to become something we really discussed. Currently, the two front runners are Route 12 (the North Sea Cycle Route) and Route 6 (the Atlantic-Black Sea route).
Route 6 is flatter and shorter and goes through more countries I haven’t been to while also hitting several places I love. Route 12 is longer, more exciting, and means getting to go back to Norway which is the most beautiful country I have ever been to.
Our other options include
North – South Routes:
1 – Atlantic Coast Route: North Cape – Sagres 8,186 km
3 – Pilgrims Route: Trondheim – Santiago de Compostela 5,122 km
5 – Via Romea Francigena: London – Rome and Brindisi 3,900 km
7 – Sun Route: North Cape – Malta 7,409 km
9 – Baltic – Adriatic: Gdansk – Pula 1,930 km
11 – East Europe Route: North Cape – Athens 5,984 km
13 – Iron Curtain Trail: Barents Sea – Black Sea 9,000 km
15 – Rhine Route: Andermatt – Hoek van Holland 1,320 km
West – East Routes:
2 – Capitals Route: Galway – Moscow 5,500 km
4 – Central Europe Route: Roscoff – Kiev 4,000 km
6 – Atlantic – Black Sea: Nantes – Constanta 4,448km
8 – Mediterranean Route: Cádiz – Athens and Cyprus 5,888 km
10 – Baltic Sea Cycle Route (Hansa circuit): 7,980 km
12 – North Sea Cycle Route: 5,932 km
The following are contributing factors when picking a route:
1.) New places – I have been to Paris, Germany (Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, several towns in Bavaria, etc.), Austria, Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence, Pompeii), Amsterdam, Belgium, Olso, Copenhagen, Vienna, Salzburg, Rothenburg, Switzerland (Lucerne, I think), Athens, and a number of other small towns. (We can discuss how lucky I am some other time.) Husband has done Venice, Rome, Greece, Madrid, Cadiz, Amsterdam, and some of the other common places to hit on a backpacker’s tour. I don’t have an inherent objection to going somewhere that we have already been (especially because we have been to none of these together), but I would like it if at least a large part of the trip involved going somewhere new.
2.) Ability to get to the starting point by train from Manchester or London. We will go visit my husband’s family at some point on the trip, and I would like it if it was at the beginning and the end (flying from the states to Manchester most likely), so Routes 12, 2, and 5 are the most appealing because they start in England.
3.) Off road portions. I don’t mind some road cycling, but I would like it if some portion of the trip was off road. Route 6 is appealing because it is 70% off road.
4.) Easy lodging. Ideally we would spend some time in hostels and some time camping. A route with a lot of campsites along it would be great. I think if we stayed in a hostel every 3-6 days, and then camped the rest of the time, I would be okay with that.
5.) Good weather. Cycling in the rain in Wales last summer sucked big time. I’m concerned about the headwinds on the North Sea Route.
So if anyone has any suggestions for routes, based on what I’ve laid out here, or any additional things we should consider for long distance cycling (things like elevation will be considered, but will ultimately not decide the route), please share.
I’ve also hammered out a reason why I want to do this trip, why now, why it’s so important. I know it feels important to me, but saying, “because it’s there” or “because we can” doesn’t feel concrete enough. This can’t just be about not wanting to go to work anymore, or giving my husband an excuse to jump ship. So I have it some serious thought about why we should do this now, and not when we are retired. The thing is, when you have an extensive family history of memory loss on both sides, I have an intense desire to create very strong memories that will hopefully last us a lifetime. And I don’t mean last us a lifetime like in the, “what an unforgettable trip” kind of way. I mean quite literally, I want memories that last. I want memories that are deep, that are really and truly unforgettable. It’s possible that even quitting our jobs and throwing caution to the wind and spending 90 days on bicycles might not last us a lifetime, but I want to try.
If you were thinking to bike Europe, which route would you pick? Why?