With ‘Brexit’ a sad reality we wanted to make the most of our freedom of movement, of unrestricted European travel and so, on February 29th, 2020 we left a rainy England on a ferry to northern Spain. This was to be the start of the Unscripted Ride European tour: a 6-7 month ride from west to east and back again. You can read about our travel plans on the blog.
However, there were a lot of things conspiring against us with this trip and unfortunately our planned adventure wasn’t meant to be. February and March 2020 will be remembered in the UK and more generally in Europe for widespread flooding and the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Sadly after only two weeks in Europe we made the difficult, but correct, decision to return home. We put our trip on hold for an unknown period of time and like the majority of other travellers out there, have been waiting the pandemic out at home ever since.
So it wasn’t the epic European trip that we had planned for this year but this blog post tells the story of our short (but very fun) Spanish cycling adventure.
“Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not yet the end.”― Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Whilst we weren’t able to complete our European bikepacking trip this time, it is not the end. We are using this time to be productive. Reflecting on our past trips, organising photos and updating the website are all productive uses of our time right now and when this passes, we will be ready to embark on a new adventure with more energy and enthusiasm.
The initial plan for our Spanish adventure was the head west to Santiago de Compostela and Portugal but due to bad weather in the Picos de Europa, we changed direction and headed south for warmer weather. If you haven’t already read it, our blog gives you an insight into what the ride was like and the final route map is below.
These are our final stats for our shorter than anticipated foray into Europe.
|01/03 – 14/03/2020…|
|Days on the road||13|
|Distance covered||551 km|
|Average daily distance||61.2 km|
|Time in the saddle||44|
|Longest day||44 hours 26 minutes|
|Total elevation gain||7915m|
|Biggest daily elevation gain||1315m|
|Highest point reached by bike||1796m – Puerto de la Fuen Fria|
|Average speed||12.38 km/h|
|Nights under canvas||4|
|Nights in paid for accommodation||6|
|Average nightly accommodation cost||€32.50|
|Nights free hospitality (Couchsurfing/Warmshowers)||2|
After riding a bike for two years around the Americas, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves. We have also learned what is truly important to us to carry (or not), how we want to load our bikes and how they should be set up. This is slightly different for each of us, but the principle is still the same: carry only the essentials and make sure the bike fells comfortable.
As such, we have built up new bikes for the next adventure that suit our riding styles and that are built for a shorter multi-month trip around the dirt roads and mountains of Europe. Further specifications to come soon.
Now that we have this unexpected downtime to research and plan the next trip, 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 send us a message. We’d really appreciate it!