Bicycling Europe

The adventure began April 29, 2014 when Mike and I flew to Athens, Greece. We had no firm plans; we didn’t want to follow any schedule. Tentatively, we wanted to start on the Ionian Islands of Greece, continue cycling north through Albania, Macedonia and Croatia. But, we would change our plans as we saw fit. We travel by bicycle to meet the people and the country, not to put miles behind us.

As it turned out, by the time we climbed all those mountain roads from Greece through Croatia, we were ready for some easier terrain. So, we took a train to Belgrade, Serbia with plans to cycle as much of Euro Velo 6 bicycle route between France and the Black Sea as we had time to accomplish. These pages under Bicycling Europe reflect this combined adventure.

Bicycling Europe-2014-Map

Our Equipment

Bicycling Europe for 5 months takes a bit of planning. Always on the top of the list is what bicycles we will take, or, if we will have to buy or rent when we get to our destination. These days, many airlines are charging $200 per bicycle per flight. Add that up for a return ticket and, like in New Zealand, it came to enough bucks that we did a buy back plan on that trip.

Luckily, British Air did not have a separate fees for a bicycle. They charged by the total amount of luggage. So, we flew from Phoenix to Athens on British Air with our own bikes as luggage.

Anne has had 3 recumbents over the years. They have provided a sense of comfort that no upright bike can equal in her mind. She knew someday, she would go one step further and get a recumbent trike.

Anne’s E2 Trike

Since last fall, she had been following the progress of the development and production of a new trike. Designed by an Aussie who had a passion for riding trikes and a small compact car in which to transport it, Allen Ball created the first fully folding trike that did not need to be dismantled for transport. His brainchild became Evolve Trikes. He patented his folding design and partnered with Edge Recumbents of Tennessee to build the trikes. Thus, it’s new name E2 Trike.

She knew this was the trike for her. She had ridden other trikes, but none of them folded small enough or easily enough to carry in our fifth wheel or to travel abroad. The dilemma she faced was…when would there be a trike available for her to buy. The first production models were scheduled to come available in late spring 2014. We had already booked our flight to Greece for April 29th.

Bicycling Europe-Anne's E2Trike
Bicycling Europe-Anne's E2Trike
Bicycling Europe-Anne's E2Trike
Bicycling Europe-Anne's E2Trike

Allen guided Anne to Randy at Edge Recumbents in Tennessee who kept her appraised of their progress. As the dates closed in upon us, production was delayed by sluggish suppliers. But Randy came to bat for us; he secured for her the prototype model used in the videos.

With an extra flourish of last minute changes, his engineer Bill Gillette was even able to change out the crank to mountain bike gearing…something her lung emphysema needed to climb the steep hills in our future.

The trike was in our hands. It is a marvel of engineering. Yes, it folds…into a package small enough to put 2 of them in the back of a small car. And wow…is it ever comfortable to ride. No neck strain, no shoulder pain, and no crotch burn! Go to www.edgerecumbents.com and click on the E2 trike under the Products Tab. It will blow you away!

Thank you Allen, Randy and Bill for all your support and hard work.

Mike rode a Safari Touring bike built by REI.

The bike was designed to carry heavy loads.

Mike would be carrying all the camping gear on a Bob’s trailer.

Bicycling Europe-Bob's Trailer
Bicycling Europe-Mike's bike

We had five days we had to organize. We spread out into three rooms and started sorting through our camping equipment, bicycle equipment, electronics, clothing and all the goodies we had put on our wish list to take on our bicycle adventure through Europe.

On the couch is the tent and fly in two waterproof sacks; we like to protect all our items in sacks. Two Big Agnus air mattresses fit into a pouch on the bottom side of our two Big Agnus sleeping bags. This year, we found air pillows that pack up into baseball size. Love having a pillow!  Another wish list item is two folding chairs that pack into small sacks. All too often, we arrive at campgrounds and there are no picnic tables or benches at the sites. Now we can sit off the ground about 12 inches in comfort.

We carry electronics. We used to carry one Canon SLR with wide angle lens in a waterproof pelican box. Now, we are using a Go Pro Hero 3+ video camera and our Google Nexus for photos.  Two GPS to plot our route (one as a backup); an Olympus Voice recorder to take and transcribe notes; two external battery power units; an assortment of European plugs and converters. We also are taking flashing head and tail lights for the bikes as well as head lamps for camp. All the electronics go into a Stanley tool box. It is waterproof and the hard shell provides excellent protection at a cheap price. Anne built cardboard dividers to keep everything sorted.  Mike will carry this on his rear rack.

The 12 inch Netbook goes into the Bob’s trailer! We write books when we travel!

In the spare bedroom, we spread out all the clothes we wanted to take. If they didn’t fit into our waterproof Ortlieb Pannier, they didn’t go. One pannier for Mike and one for Anne.

There is Anne’s emphysema medicine for six months. We take all of it with us; after much research, we decided shipping it into various countries would be too risky. Once we get it to Greece, we will be able to post it ahead as we travel. There are 8 bottles for one treatment; 4 water and 4 powder. The box with six months supply weighs 30 pounds!

Where we went on our adventure bicycling Europe

  1. Greece-The Ionian Islands
  2. Albania-Sarande to Vlore
  3. Croatia-the coast and islands from Dubrovnic to Split
  4. Serbia-EuroVelo 6
  5. Hungary-EuroVelo 6
  6. Slovakia-EuroVelo 6
  7. Austria-EuroVelo 6
  8. Germany-EuroVelo 6
  9. A corner of Switzerland-EuroVelo 6
  10. France-EuroVelo 6

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