With two months to go before leaving Holland to cycle to Australia, my equipment needed testing, and friends needed visiting. I cycled back to La Jonchère in France – where I spent 3 months as an exchange student in 1988-89. This was the start of my relationship with Europe.

And, yes, I am glad I tested my equipment. I need a new pedal axle, and the baggage-holder has broken off from the frame. I’m glad I have time to fix all that before I leave!

As I only had one week this year, I started in Paris – last year I cycled from Eindhoven to Paris, so that stretch was already covered.

Day 1. 145km. Eindhoven-Brussels: A day along the canals of Belgium, staying with Kevin in Brussels.
Day 2. 191km. Brussels-Guise: Following bike paths (existent and non-existent) along rivers and train-tracks to beautiful France.
Day 3. 205km. Guise-Paris: I was awake before the sun. It was crisp – well, cold outside. My tent had a layer of ice as I left it to start my morning ritual. Today was a long and eventful day. It saw me cycle 205 km into the Parisian dusk.
Day 1. 155km. Paris-Égreville: A ride through the old and the new. The old: beautiful Paris – overflowing with memories of the last 26 years. Bathed in warmth and sun, I cycled through memory lane. The new: Following the Seine upstream I discovered the meandering valley, and met my lovely Warmshowers hosts – Nicole and Claude – at their house in the rolling hills of wheat.
Day 2. 120km. Égreville-St Cyr en Val: Along a sand path next to the canal – on and on along the green, shady waterway. A bit bumpy, but peaceful and pretty. A cycle of solitude, finished with a lovely dinner invitation at the camping ground.
Day 3. 165km St Cyr en Val-Montbazon: Sun, castles, views overlooking the Loire, minor bike problems with improvised fixes. Very very bright. It’s summer. I like!
Day 4, 125km. Montbazon-Luzeret: Sun, sun and sun. Leaving the Loire valley, the hills are getting bigger, and the sun is bringing out the sweat. Rolling fields along the Indre River, and then a landscape of lakes in the Brenne region.
Day 5. 95km. Luzeret-Ambazac: South of the Creuse River, the hills get bigger, they said. They did. They also got more familiar, those hills, and I got more emotional. I am here again, and by bike – I laughed with joy. My arrival at La Jonchère was marked with thunder and lightning.

With the equipment tested, and all the farewells made, arctic-cycler is ready for the big trip. Bring it on!

Day 5. 95km. Luzeret – Ambazac

Posted: June 27, 2014 in Cycling
Tags: ,

South of the Creuse River, the hills get bigger, they said. They did. They also got more familiar, those hills, and I got more emotional. I am here again, and by bike – I laughed with joy. My arrival at La Jonchère was marked with thunder and lightning.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sun, sun and sun. Leaving the Loire valley, the hills are getting bigger, and the sun is bringing out the sweat. Rolling fields along the Indre River, and then a landscape of lakes in the Brenne region.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sun, castles, views overlooking the Loire, minor bike problems with improvised fixes. Very very bright. It’s summer. I like!

Read the rest of this entry »


Along a sand path next to the canal – on and on along the green, shady waterway. A bit bumpy, but peaceful and pretty. A cycle of solitude, finished with a lovely dinner invitation at the camping ground.


Click here for map and gpx download.

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 1. 155km. Paris – Égreville

Posted: June 23, 2014 in Cycling
Tags: ,

A ride through the old and the new. The old: beautiful Paris – overflowing with memories of the last 26 years. Bathed in warmth and sun, I cycled through memory lane. The new: Following the Seine upstream I discovered the meandering valley, and met my lovely Warmshowers hosts – Nicole and Claude – at their house in the rolling hills of wheat.

Read the rest of this entry »


Its less than 3 months now before I leave on my big bike trip from Eindhoven in the Netherlands to Australia. I have done the first wave of sorting out my clothes, papers, other ‘stuff’. Next week will be my training run – testing out all my equipment, when I will cycle to friends in Limoges in the centre of France. Stay tuned for a practice blog on that trip.

But now, I am updating and refining my planned route. I will have a whole 3 months to make it from Eindhoven to Istanbul, and I think I will really need 2 or less. No problem. Europe is beautiful, and there is a lot to see. If I have time, I would like to see more of Greece and then south western Turkey. It is hard to find suggested gpx routes through Greece. This alternate route through Greece is the Eurovelo 8 route ending in Athens. After Athens, I could take the boat to Izmir and continue on in Turkey. Click here to see a zoomable version of the map, and download the gpx.

Alternatives in Albania and Greece

Alternatives in Albania and Greece

 

Do you have any tips for getting to Athens? And, more importantly, do you know about which boats run in the winter (November)? I could even think about cycling along Crete, then to Rhodos, and catching a boat to Fethiye in Turkey, although, I don’t think there are any boats running in the winter. I guess and hope there will still be boats between Athens and Izmir in the winter..

I’m looking forward to seeing more of Greece. I hope it eventuates!