This page outlines how the tour was undertaken, planning (or lack of planning) aims (or lack of aims), etc.
Not dissimilar to last year’s cycle tour plan, basically “no plan” i.e. no destination, no duration, no route. Just depart and take it day by day.
There are a number of other pages providing additional information about different aspects of the tour linked to at the bottom of this page.
Other than a ferry across that Channel to Ouistreham /Caen there was no real destination. Each afternoon after setting up the tent the route for the following day would be decided.
The tour had no set duration, no end date. When I’d had enough I’d head home.
There was no route, no destination, no mileage, no aims, nothing. After each day’s ride a destination for the following day would be chosen.
However, the way things worked out, for quite a lot of the tour the “tomorrow’s route” was pretty well determined by the terrain. From Ouistreham, headed south to the international Eurovelo 6 Cycle Path (that runs east-west across Europe, Nantes to the Black Sea). Then on reaching the French/German/Swiss border close to Mulhouse/Basel the route switched from Eurovelo 6 to Eurovelo 15 to the north down the Rhine valley. This route follows river valleys and canals so once in the valley, to head-off away from the river/canal means significant hills – so the route for tomorrow was often to continue along the river valley or canal (on the Eurovelo cycle path).
So, initially south from Ouistreham, past Le Mans to La Loire river west of Tours. Then head east along La Loire valley on Eurovelo 6, across to Le Doubs river valley (still on Eurovelo 6) to the French/German/Swiss border. Then head north in Germany along the Rhine valley on Eurovelo 15, past Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Koblenz, Bonn, Köln, Düsseldorf and up into the Netherlands. Then north through the Netherlands, Groningen, Leeuwarden, then back south through Rotterdam and home to the UK. 2 months and 2000 miles (3200 Km).
Full details of the overall route taken are on paged linked to below
The tour was intended to be more travel by bike as much as a cycling tour. Plus, cycling in the morning, arriving at a campsite early afternoon then gives you the afternoon to look around the village/town/city so you get to see places as well as riding the bike. So daily mileages were generally between 40 and 60 miles per day (65 to 95 Km /day). The average over the tour around 40 miles day-1.
Camping. Full camping gear taken and carried.
Campsites were not booked in advance and reservations were not made. Just turn-up at the campsite. Only on one occasion was there any problem and that was where a municipal campsite in France had closed down but they’d not bothered to update the listings. Otherwise every campsite had plenty of space.
Small gas burner taken to boil water for coffee. Food purchased along the route. Initially eating in restaurants, bars, etc. but later started self-catering but with cold meals i.e. not cooking. Generally food was purchased on a daily basis and was eaten on the day of purchase (i.e. not carried on the bike). However, 2 “emergency” dehydrated meals (600 kcal each) were carried as well as several cereal bars (for “emergency” energy). Cereal bars were good when having a break part way through a longer day ride.
There are a number of other pages providing additional information about different aspects of the tour