We’ve been thinking a lot about our Americas cycle trip since being back at home. The scale of what we achieved has only just started to sink in and we have so many fond memories of our time away that we don’t want to stop travelling yet. There’s still more of the world to see but being at home for six months and working has been an easy way to earn some more money so we can head off again. Also, how fast does 6 months go?!
When we were in the Americas, a lot of people asked us about travelling around Europe and if we’d cycled there first before flying so far from home. Surprisingly we hadn’t and when we really got thinking about it we haven’t seen much of Europe at all, even though it’s so accessible from the UK. That’s probably why though. Because it is close, it’s easy to get to and didn’t feel as adventurous.
Well, now with ‘Brexit’ a sad reality we probably won’t have quite as easy a time of travelling around Europe ever again so that is why from February 29th, 2020 we are setting out on the Unscripted Ride European tour!
We are getting a ferry across to northern Spain – please keep your fingers crossed for us that it isn’t cancelled… the weather looks terrible for this weekend. [Update 29/02/20: Ferry was cancelled today due to storm Jorge, ironically named by the Spanish met office, so it has been rescheduled for tomorrow – a 24 hour delay isn’t the worst thing that could have happened.]
From Santander we’ll ride a loop around Spain and Portugal following parts of the Camino De Santiago, before riding east towards Greece. The rough plan is that we’ll do a tour which takes in a lot of the European countries, following the mountains as much as possible and seeing where the road takes us. We don’t know exactly how long we’re going away for, maybe 6 months but if we like a place maybe we’ll stay longer. As usual, it’s all left very open ended and the unplanned nature of this feels exciting again.
But what about the rest of the Americas? You might ask.
We’re not ruling out riding from Panama to Alaska as a future trip, just rearranging the way that we visit the continents due to circumstances out of our control. We also like the idea of travelling by ferry and train, rather than planes. With a bike it’s a lot of hassle taking your bike on a plane because you have to dismantle it and pack it in a box, as well as the environmental impact of flying and subsequent guilt, so the idea is that it’ll be a nicer way to travel and surprisingly, it even works out cheaper.
Will you take the same bikes?
Again, after spending 2 years travelling by bike we now know exactly how we like to travel, what our day to day riding is like and the things we need for this type of trip. Before the first trip we relied on internet research to help us build the bikes and buy equipment. We ended up in a weird middle ground without the four big panniers and skinny tyres like the traditional cycle tourist, but we were not the mountain biking / bikepacking style either because although we had chunky tyres, we had racks and a little too much luggage. But more important than our luggage preferences it turned out that each of our bikes were marginally too small. Over 20000km will highlight any tiny issues of bike fit, so we’ve taken steps to improve this for the next trip. Also, since 2017 the bikepacking trend has really taken off and there are so many more options out there now, so it felt like a good opportunity to upgrade our rigs. Between a mix of parts from Ben’s vast collection of bike spares, some Ebay bargains, and some carefully selected shiny new components we now have bikes that much more suit our preferred riding styles and terrains, and fit us properly.
With our first hand experience to draw upon we are going full bikepacking mode, ready for lots of dirt touring on Europe’s backroads. Our bikes don’t have racks to carry our bags, we just have soft luggage that attach to the bike and we are taking only the things we need. We will be leaving behind the ‘just in case’ stuff. We’re also going full 3 inch tyres and more Voile straps to tie on anything else we might need. (Plus Voile straps are great anyway, #notsponsored)
So keep following our Facebook, Instagram and the blog here on our website for more updates as we embark on this new continental adventure. We’ve also started to give the website a makeover so be sure to let us know what you think.
We have very loose European route plan for our ride from Spain to Greece, as is the nature of how we travel. So if you have any suggestions or recommendations of places we should see, things we should do, places to stay, general European tips and info, or anything else please leave us a comment or send us a message. We’d really appreciate it!
There are exciting times ahead. We better keep planning as there’s not long to go now until we’re on a new continent, on our bikes and on our way.
Steph and Ben