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Independent Cycle Touring in EuropePiaw NaREIhttp://touring.piaw.nethttp://books.piaw.nethttp://piaw.blogspot.com
Introduction20,000 miles of independent touring1 trip/year since 1993League Cycling Instructor (LCI #1040)Cycled in:JapanScotland, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, GermanyNew ZealandSouth AfricaCalifornia, New Hampshire, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia
RosenlauiBeautiful mountain views send many cyclists to famous passes such as Grosse Scheidegg
Beautiful Bike FacilitiesA cobblestone tunnel bypass provides beautiful views unavailable to car drivers
Beautiful hill townsProvide a lovely backdrop to ride in, as well as opportunities to explore architecture and other cultural artifacts.
Friendly LocalsBy riding your bike, independent tourists meet friendly people who will not hesitate to stop to offer you conversation, or in the case of this vintner, offer you a taste of his wine!
Interesting places to stayBy eschewing reservations and guides, you leave yourself open to interesting opportunities to stay at great places.
Bellinzona, a town with 3 castlesBecause your party size is small, you can fit in little hotels that big tour groups cannot hope to get into.
Bike pathsRiverside bike paths ensure you always have a car-free way to get to where you want to go.
Less is moreThis couple is trying to combine a backpacking trip with a cycling trip. By focusing all your attention on cycling, you’ll carry less and have more fun.
Route Information “On the ground”Because bicycle travel at human pace, signs and map guides that are easily skipped by motorists are easily viewable by you.
Why Europe?First class cycling cultureNearly everyone in Europe rides a bike or knows someone who ridesLaws are predicated on cyclists being legitimate road users—if a car driver hits a cyclist, the burden of proof is on the driver to show that he wasn’t at fault$10/gallon gas means fewer SUVs on the road and more public transit friendly to bicyclists
Stephanie Raez on her way from Chur to ParisNearly everyone in Europe cycles. Helmets are uncommon, and a summer tour something nearly everyone will do sometime in their lives.
First class cycling culture
First class cycling cultureBy Wittink, Roelof; I-ce Interface for Cycling Expertise: Planning for cycling supports road safety; In: Sustainable Transport, Planning for walking and cycling in urban environments, ed. Rodney Tolley; Woodhead publishing in Environmental management, ISBN 1 85573 614 4; 2003
FacilitiesSummer is the low season!Primary tourist facilities are ski resorts—cheapest in the summerBig investment in cycle paths and cycle waysBike paths have covered bridgesSeparate bike tunnelsVery few bike bans on trailsDense network of roads!Dense network of cyclist friendly hotels/lodging
FacilitiesGerman bike path in Munich: along a river (the Isar), and away from traffic. Note the separate benches for both bike path and pedestrains.
Austrian Bike Path in the Salzburger LakesSeparate bike “tunnel “ alongside lake. Auto traffic routes through tunnels with no views.
Hotel RosenlauiAndreas Kerhli, the owner of Hotel Rosenlaui, welcomes cyclists.
Natural Beauty“The Sierras no longer look pretty to me.”“Best cycling in the world”“The prettiest country I’ve ever seen.”“After riding in the Alps, the death ride was uninspiring.”
Cultural AttractionsHistorical artifacts (castles, grand old buildings)MuseumsArchitecture (great cities)History
SwitzerlandBeautiful Alps9 major bike-fares criss-crossing entire countryClean and safeRoad engineering superbTrains precisely on timeExpensive? Maybe.English spoken
Cycling in the Bernese OberlandBeautiful lakes, mountains, and extremely polite drivers
GrindelwaldMountain Views from Grosse Scheidegg are to be seen to be believed.
Swiss Road EngineeringHairpins are flat. Climbs only happen between hairpins. Grades are consistent. Signage is accurate. Tunnel bypasses for long tunnels. Tunnels are lit and lights are maintained.
FranceHigh mountainsBeaches on the MediterraneanLong river toursHistoryFrench foodPoor train service for cyclistsLearn a bit of French before you go
Col du TourmaletFamous passes frequently featured in the Tour de France can be climbed all through the year in Southern France
Col De L’IseranHighest pass regularly climbed in the Tour de France. Ski town on one side provides readily available lodging. Markers every km for grade!
French Roadside “Tombstone”Provides current altitude, how far to go, what to expect for the average grade over the next km. When you see one, you know you’re in cycling country!
French minimum passing law1.5m = 5 feet. For reference, California has repeatedly failed to pass a 3 foot minimum passing law. French roads (as illustrated here) are about 7-9 feet wide. The 5 foot passing law means using the next lane!
AustriaRelatively untouristedFantastic bike facilitiesGreat train service for cyclistsCheap, even for luxury hotelsBeautiful mountains for hiking/cyclingRugged!English frequently spoken.
TimmelsjochBetween Austria and Italy, Austria features beautiful lonely roads, and cheap lodging.
Tauern RadwegThis 200 mile bike path from Salzburg through Tauern National Park is gorgeous and has relatively easy riding.
RadstadtLittle known towns in Austria are gorgeous and cheap to stay at.
Austrian Bike PathsThey are the best in the world. Beautiful and chock full of facilities like water fountains, covered bike bridges, and plentiful lodging and restaurants.
GermanyBeautiful Spring/Fall touringCheap train travel for cyclists!Go from one end of country to another for 21 EUR!Bringing friends? 28 EUR for 5 people!English frequently spokenScenic small townsSmall towns cheap, large cities expensiveMountain roads too well engineered
German Farm RoadsNear Munich, extremely dense networks of roads mean that there’s very little traffic traversing some of the prettiest small towns you can imagine.
BodenseeOne of the largest lakes in Europe spans 3 countries: Germany, Switzerland, and Austria (with the largest portions in Switzerland and Germany). It’s suitable for all ages and features a “car-free bike route.”
ItalyBeautiful mountainsCrazy driversRoad conditions not idealItalian food!Friendly peopleNot necessarily cheapInfrequent English speakers
StelvioThis legendary climb features 47 switchbacks and ends at well over 9000 feet. Hotels halfway up provide rest stops and lodging.
Fedaia Pass in the DolomitesJobst calls this the “Fastest Highway in the Alps.” with well banked, 13% grade descents.
TimmelsjochBeautiful passes in a part of Italy that used to be Austria before world war I. As a result, most people speak German.
Italian Bike PathItalian bike paths are not as well marked (or sometimes as easily found) as Austrian and Swiss bike paths. This one went through a back alley but was a welcome escape from busy main roads.
England/ScotlandEnglish spoken (watch “Trainspotting”)Beautiful backroadsExpect rainBest in late SpringEasy navigationExpensive
Why Tour Independently?More interactions with localsNo “cocooning”More local foodFlexibilityRaining? Ride less or stay putNever have to fight headwindsTired? Choose easier route
Why Tour Independently?Serendipitous encountersRetired chefs cook for youPeople invite you into homesCheaperIndependent touring in good lodging and eating out—50 to 75 EUR/dayTour operators cost $200/day!All the support you need is already available in Europe!
Friendly PeopleI met this man in Chur. He tried to give me money just for being a tourist, then invited me to his home and tried to give us one of his cycling jerseys.
When/where to Go?SpringAustrian LakesGerman Black ForestSouthern Italy/FranceSummerAlps (Switzerland/France/Austria/Italy)Northern countries (England/Scotland)DO NOT Visit Europe in AUGUST!FallPyreneesSouthern Germany/France
Trip PlanningDecide where to go/when to goDecide on cycling companionsRun a qualifying tourBuy plane ticketsPlan routes
EquipmentNeed a bike (almost any bike will do)Don’t carry stuff on your back! (Panniers/Saddlebags)Bikes are designed around their brakesShoes you can walk in!
The reason to wear shoes you can walk in.
TrainingDon’t sweat it if you’re doing an independent tourYou can choose the difficulty of your trip according to fitnessMore important to enjoy riding!
Cycling companionsCan make or break the trip (or friendship!)Do a test tour (at least overnight!)Make sure you can cope with each other’s habits/snoring
Choosing CompanionsI did many day rides and overnight rides with Mike before we toured together.
Buying plane ticketsCheck bike feesUnited/Lufthansa charging $250 each way!KLM: 1 extra piece of baggageAir Berlin: 80 EUR round tripBritish Airways/Virgin: Bikes fly free!Air Canada: $50 each wayAlways book a jetMinimize transfersBike reservations? (Lufthansa/Air Canada/Air Berlin)
Bike packingCheck airline bike packing policyBA/Lufthansa allow “naked” bikesCardboard bike boxesBoxes at REI! (free!)Boxes at Amtrak ($20/free)Boxes at Bike ShopsCan throw away at each endZurich has bike packing service
Packing a bike into a cardboard boxWrapping things with bubble wrap is a good idea
Bike Packing Service in Zurich AirportFor 25CHF, the man here will pack your bike into a cardboard box for you. This is why I prefer flying into (and out of) Zurich when I’m packing my bike in a cardboard box.
Bike packingHardcase bike boxes$250/box, but heavyNeed to store on both sidesNaked bikesWrap with bubble wrapRemove deraileur
Public Transit and BikesBicycle friendly countriesGermanySwitzerlandAustriaBicycle indifferent countriesItalyBicycle unfriendly countriesFrance (reservations required)Japan (must disassemble bike)Need train help? Euraide (http://www.euraide.com)
Bike spaceLocal trains in France do allow bicycles
Alan WissenbergFeatured in Rick Steves and Lonely Planet, in 2008, he and I worked together to figure out various train systems and bike friendliness. He is my “goto-guy” for all train travel in Europe. http://www.euraide.com
Cell PhonesGSM Phones requiredPrepaid SIMs available everywhere at low costIncoming calls free/Outgoing calls costDo not expect data plans$20/5GB in GermanyWatch out for roaming data charges!Buy a new SIM card for each country
NavigationYour phone’s GPS feature is uselessRoaming data chargesGoogle’s bicycle routing is poorBuy paper maps!Choose smallest routes/most scenic routes“White” roads over “Red” roadsKeep water to your right
Classic Michelin MapThe best cycling maps are packed full of information and reward close reading
Maps1:300,000 scaleAAA maps are uselessMotorcycle maps are sometimes usefulShould include elevation/gradient infoShould include scenic roads/small roadsAppropriate maps for each countryBuy as you go
Bike pathsCan be found on dedicated maps, or look for signsEvery time you cross a river, look for river-side bike pathsSome countries (Germany/Switzerland) assume you have a mountain bike!Don’t expect bike paths in mountains, but trail riding can be fun!
Bike Paths in SwitzerlandSometimes, they’re dirt. This picture doesn’t show it but to the right is a beautiful lake.
Bike path signs in Switzerland, Austria, and ItalySwitzerland: watch out for difference between mountain bikes and road bikes. Routes are numbered but with no destinations. Austria: little sign posts signed for one end to another. Italy: Some signs with destinations.
GPS-assisted navigationGarmin Routing unitsReprogram Garmin to route like a bicyclist“Dynamic routing”Explore with confidenceDon’t bring your laptop
LanguageLearning “please” and “thank you” goes a long way!Europeans more formal than AmericansLanguage learning programBerlitz much more useful than PimsleurLearn to countLearn to ask for lodging/directionsLearn the right language! Northern Italy speaks German!
Daily Tour TimelineTour Daily Timeline7:30am Breakfast 8:30am Ride Every 90 minutes Water/snack stops 11:45am LunchEvery 90 minutes Water/snack stops16:00 Tourist information 17:00 Hotel /lodging/campground search17:30 Inspect hotel/accept17:45 Shower & Laundry18:30 Dinner
FoodBreakfasts usually included with lodgingBakeries open early (6-7am!)Lunch:Best deal—Supermarket lunchesCheapEat whatever you wantFast (no “service waits”)Watch out for supermarket closures around noon!“Bar lunches”Common in England/Scotland. Hotel bars serve quick meals
Picnic on the WalenseeNot only a supermarket lunches faster and cheaper, you get the best possible location for your meal: the great outdoors. If you have special dietary requirements, shopping for yourself guarantees you eat right.
FoodDinnerFrequently included in lodging “half-pensions”Hotel Restaurants happy to serve non-guests“Fixed menu” usually good dealGood news: restaurants in Europe now non-smoking!
WaterFountains near center of every town!Exceptions:D’leau non-potable!KeinTrinkwasser!Look for fountains alongside roads in mountain areas
Water FountainsMost European Water Fountains have potable water
LodgingTourist information centersAds/Bill boards in rural areasGuidebooks (usually useless unless cycling specific)Cyclists’ trip reports (e.g., “Jobst hotels”)Family-owned hotel networks “Logis de France”B&Bs “Zimmer Frei”/”Gites de France”
Lodging (Continued)Easy to find on the dayStart search around 4pmException: weekends (Friday night + Saturday night) in popular areasOK to backtrackCheck for bed bugsDon’t conflict with big multi-billion dollar events like the World Cup or the Tour de FranceLodging will be booked a year in advance!
GafthofBatznhauslWe lucked out, finding this hotel/restaurant at the end of a rainy day
Tourist InformationMost tourist information staff are more than happy to help you make a reservation, find appropriate accommodations, and even provide a town map with directions to the bike path.
Tools/RepairLearn to fix flat tires!Overhaul bike before you leaveEasier to carry tool and find someone who knows how to use itSpread spares between the group
VAR Tire LeverVery useful for mounting difficult tires
Illness/InjuryDo not ride with a fever!Moist Wound CareAltitude Sickness
Questions?Trip reports:http://touring.piaw.netBuy the book(s):http://books.piaw.netBlog:http://piaw.blogspot.comFollow me:Twitter: @choonpiawGoogle plus: http://profiles.google.com/piawFacebook: Independent Cycle Touring

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Independent Cycle Touring in Europe

  • 1. Independent Cycle Touring in EuropePiaw NaREIhttp://touring.piaw.nethttp://books.piaw.nethttp://piaw.blogspot.com
  • 2. Introduction20,000 miles of independent touring1 trip/year since 1993League Cycling Instructor (LCI #1040)Cycled in:JapanScotland, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, GermanyNew ZealandSouth AfricaCalifornia, New Hampshire, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia
  • 3. RosenlauiBeautiful mountain views send many cyclists to famous passes such as Grosse Scheidegg
  • 4. Beautiful Bike FacilitiesA cobblestone tunnel bypass provides beautiful views unavailable to car drivers
  • 5. Beautiful hill townsProvide a lovely backdrop to ride in, as well as opportunities to explore architecture and other cultural artifacts.
  • 6. Friendly LocalsBy riding your bike, independent tourists meet friendly people who will not hesitate to stop to offer you conversation, or in the case of this vintner, offer you a taste of his wine!
  • 7. Interesting places to stayBy eschewing reservations and guides, you leave yourself open to interesting opportunities to stay at great places.
  • 8. Bellinzona, a town with 3 castlesBecause your party size is small, you can fit in little hotels that big tour groups cannot hope to get into.
  • 9. Bike pathsRiverside bike paths ensure you always have a car-free way to get to where you want to go.
  • 10. Less is moreThis couple is trying to combine a backpacking trip with a cycling trip. By focusing all your attention on cycling, you’ll carry less and have more fun.
  • 11. Route Information “On the ground”Because bicycle travel at human pace, signs and map guides that are easily skipped by motorists are easily viewable by you.
  • 12. Why Europe?First class cycling cultureNearly everyone in Europe rides a bike or knows someone who ridesLaws are predicated on cyclists being legitimate road users—if a car driver hits a cyclist, the burden of proof is on the driver to show that he wasn’t at fault$10/gallon gas means fewer SUVs on the road and more public transit friendly to bicyclists
  • 13. Stephanie Raez on her way from Chur to ParisNearly everyone in Europe cycles. Helmets are uncommon, and a summer tour something nearly everyone will do sometime in their lives.
  • 15. First class cycling cultureBy Wittink, Roelof; I-ce Interface for Cycling Expertise: Planning for cycling supports road safety; In: Sustainable Transport, Planning for walking and cycling in urban environments, ed. Rodney Tolley; Woodhead publishing in Environmental management, ISBN 1 85573 614 4; 2003
  • 16. FacilitiesSummer is the low season!Primary tourist facilities are ski resorts—cheapest in the summerBig investment in cycle paths and cycle waysBike paths have covered bridgesSeparate bike tunnelsVery few bike bans on trailsDense network of roads!Dense network of cyclist friendly hotels/lodging
  • 17. FacilitiesGerman bike path in Munich: along a river (the Isar), and away from traffic. Note the separate benches for both bike path and pedestrains.
  • 18. Austrian Bike Path in the Salzburger LakesSeparate bike “tunnel “ alongside lake. Auto traffic routes through tunnels with no views.
  • 19. Hotel RosenlauiAndreas Kerhli, the owner of Hotel Rosenlaui, welcomes cyclists.
  • 20. Natural Beauty“The Sierras no longer look pretty to me.”“Best cycling in the world”“The prettiest country I’ve ever seen.”“After riding in the Alps, the death ride was uninspiring.”
  • 21. Cultural AttractionsHistorical artifacts (castles, grand old buildings)MuseumsArchitecture (great cities)History
  • 22. SwitzerlandBeautiful Alps9 major bike-fares criss-crossing entire countryClean and safeRoad engineering superbTrains precisely on timeExpensive? Maybe.English spoken
  • 23. Cycling in the Bernese OberlandBeautiful lakes, mountains, and extremely polite drivers
  • 24. GrindelwaldMountain Views from Grosse Scheidegg are to be seen to be believed.
  • 25. Swiss Road EngineeringHairpins are flat. Climbs only happen between hairpins. Grades are consistent. Signage is accurate. Tunnel bypasses for long tunnels. Tunnels are lit and lights are maintained.
  • 26. FranceHigh mountainsBeaches on the MediterraneanLong river toursHistoryFrench foodPoor train service for cyclistsLearn a bit of French before you go
  • 27. Col du TourmaletFamous passes frequently featured in the Tour de France can be climbed all through the year in Southern France
  • 28. Col De L’IseranHighest pass regularly climbed in the Tour de France. Ski town on one side provides readily available lodging. Markers every km for grade!
  • 29. French Roadside “Tombstone”Provides current altitude, how far to go, what to expect for the average grade over the next km. When you see one, you know you’re in cycling country!
  • 30. French minimum passing law1.5m = 5 feet. For reference, California has repeatedly failed to pass a 3 foot minimum passing law. French roads (as illustrated here) are about 7-9 feet wide. The 5 foot passing law means using the next lane!
  • 31. AustriaRelatively untouristedFantastic bike facilitiesGreat train service for cyclistsCheap, even for luxury hotelsBeautiful mountains for hiking/cyclingRugged!English frequently spoken.
  • 32. TimmelsjochBetween Austria and Italy, Austria features beautiful lonely roads, and cheap lodging.
  • 33. Tauern RadwegThis 200 mile bike path from Salzburg through Tauern National Park is gorgeous and has relatively easy riding.
  • 34. RadstadtLittle known towns in Austria are gorgeous and cheap to stay at.
  • 35. Austrian Bike PathsThey are the best in the world. Beautiful and chock full of facilities like water fountains, covered bike bridges, and plentiful lodging and restaurants.
  • 36. GermanyBeautiful Spring/Fall touringCheap train travel for cyclists!Go from one end of country to another for 21 EUR!Bringing friends? 28 EUR for 5 people!English frequently spokenScenic small townsSmall towns cheap, large cities expensiveMountain roads too well engineered
  • 37. German Farm RoadsNear Munich, extremely dense networks of roads mean that there’s very little traffic traversing some of the prettiest small towns you can imagine.
  • 38. BodenseeOne of the largest lakes in Europe spans 3 countries: Germany, Switzerland, and Austria (with the largest portions in Switzerland and Germany). It’s suitable for all ages and features a “car-free bike route.”
  • 39. ItalyBeautiful mountainsCrazy driversRoad conditions not idealItalian food!Friendly peopleNot necessarily cheapInfrequent English speakers
  • 40. StelvioThis legendary climb features 47 switchbacks and ends at well over 9000 feet. Hotels halfway up provide rest stops and lodging.
  • 41. Fedaia Pass in the DolomitesJobst calls this the “Fastest Highway in the Alps.” with well banked, 13% grade descents.
  • 42. TimmelsjochBeautiful passes in a part of Italy that used to be Austria before world war I. As a result, most people speak German.
  • 43. Italian Bike PathItalian bike paths are not as well marked (or sometimes as easily found) as Austrian and Swiss bike paths. This one went through a back alley but was a welcome escape from busy main roads.
  • 44. England/ScotlandEnglish spoken (watch “Trainspotting”)Beautiful backroadsExpect rainBest in late SpringEasy navigationExpensive
  • 45. Why Tour Independently?More interactions with localsNo “cocooning”More local foodFlexibilityRaining? Ride less or stay putNever have to fight headwindsTired? Choose easier route
  • 46. Why Tour Independently?Serendipitous encountersRetired chefs cook for youPeople invite you into homesCheaperIndependent touring in good lodging and eating out—50 to 75 EUR/dayTour operators cost $200/day!All the support you need is already available in Europe!
  • 47. Friendly PeopleI met this man in Chur. He tried to give me money just for being a tourist, then invited me to his home and tried to give us one of his cycling jerseys.
  • 48. When/where to Go?SpringAustrian LakesGerman Black ForestSouthern Italy/FranceSummerAlps (Switzerland/France/Austria/Italy)Northern countries (England/Scotland)DO NOT Visit Europe in AUGUST!FallPyreneesSouthern Germany/France
  • 49. Trip PlanningDecide where to go/when to goDecide on cycling companionsRun a qualifying tourBuy plane ticketsPlan routes
  • 50. EquipmentNeed a bike (almost any bike will do)Don’t carry stuff on your back! (Panniers/Saddlebags)Bikes are designed around their brakesShoes you can walk in!
  • 51. The reason to wear shoes you can walk in.
  • 52. TrainingDon’t sweat it if you’re doing an independent tourYou can choose the difficulty of your trip according to fitnessMore important to enjoy riding!
  • 53. Cycling companionsCan make or break the trip (or friendship!)Do a test tour (at least overnight!)Make sure you can cope with each other’s habits/snoring
  • 54. Choosing CompanionsI did many day rides and overnight rides with Mike before we toured together.
  • 55. Buying plane ticketsCheck bike feesUnited/Lufthansa charging $250 each way!KLM: 1 extra piece of baggageAir Berlin: 80 EUR round tripBritish Airways/Virgin: Bikes fly free!Air Canada: $50 each wayAlways book a jetMinimize transfersBike reservations? (Lufthansa/Air Canada/Air Berlin)
  • 56. Bike packingCheck airline bike packing policyBA/Lufthansa allow “naked” bikesCardboard bike boxesBoxes at REI! (free!)Boxes at Amtrak ($20/free)Boxes at Bike ShopsCan throw away at each endZurich has bike packing service
  • 57. Packing a bike into a cardboard boxWrapping things with bubble wrap is a good idea
  • 58. Bike Packing Service in Zurich AirportFor 25CHF, the man here will pack your bike into a cardboard box for you. This is why I prefer flying into (and out of) Zurich when I’m packing my bike in a cardboard box.
  • 59. Bike packingHardcase bike boxes$250/box, but heavyNeed to store on both sidesNaked bikesWrap with bubble wrapRemove deraileur
  • 60. Public Transit and BikesBicycle friendly countriesGermanySwitzerlandAustriaBicycle indifferent countriesItalyBicycle unfriendly countriesFrance (reservations required)Japan (must disassemble bike)Need train help? Euraide (http://www.euraide.com)
  • 61. Bike spaceLocal trains in France do allow bicycles
  • 62. Alan WissenbergFeatured in Rick Steves and Lonely Planet, in 2008, he and I worked together to figure out various train systems and bike friendliness. He is my “goto-guy” for all train travel in Europe. http://www.euraide.com
  • 63. Cell PhonesGSM Phones requiredPrepaid SIMs available everywhere at low costIncoming calls free/Outgoing calls costDo not expect data plans$20/5GB in GermanyWatch out for roaming data charges!Buy a new SIM card for each country
  • 64. NavigationYour phone’s GPS feature is uselessRoaming data chargesGoogle’s bicycle routing is poorBuy paper maps!Choose smallest routes/most scenic routes“White” roads over “Red” roadsKeep water to your right
  • 65. Classic Michelin MapThe best cycling maps are packed full of information and reward close reading
  • 66. Maps1:300,000 scaleAAA maps are uselessMotorcycle maps are sometimes usefulShould include elevation/gradient infoShould include scenic roads/small roadsAppropriate maps for each countryBuy as you go
  • 67. Bike pathsCan be found on dedicated maps, or look for signsEvery time you cross a river, look for river-side bike pathsSome countries (Germany/Switzerland) assume you have a mountain bike!Don’t expect bike paths in mountains, but trail riding can be fun!
  • 68. Bike Paths in SwitzerlandSometimes, they’re dirt. This picture doesn’t show it but to the right is a beautiful lake.
  • 69. Bike path signs in Switzerland, Austria, and ItalySwitzerland: watch out for difference between mountain bikes and road bikes. Routes are numbered but with no destinations. Austria: little sign posts signed for one end to another. Italy: Some signs with destinations.
  • 70. GPS-assisted navigationGarmin Routing unitsReprogram Garmin to route like a bicyclist“Dynamic routing”Explore with confidenceDon’t bring your laptop
  • 71. LanguageLearning “please” and “thank you” goes a long way!Europeans more formal than AmericansLanguage learning programBerlitz much more useful than PimsleurLearn to countLearn to ask for lodging/directionsLearn the right language! Northern Italy speaks German!
  • 72. Daily Tour TimelineTour Daily Timeline7:30am Breakfast 8:30am Ride Every 90 minutes Water/snack stops 11:45am LunchEvery 90 minutes Water/snack stops16:00 Tourist information 17:00 Hotel /lodging/campground search17:30 Inspect hotel/accept17:45 Shower & Laundry18:30 Dinner
  • 73. FoodBreakfasts usually included with lodgingBakeries open early (6-7am!)Lunch:Best deal—Supermarket lunchesCheapEat whatever you wantFast (no “service waits”)Watch out for supermarket closures around noon!“Bar lunches”Common in England/Scotland. Hotel bars serve quick meals
  • 74. Picnic on the WalenseeNot only a supermarket lunches faster and cheaper, you get the best possible location for your meal: the great outdoors. If you have special dietary requirements, shopping for yourself guarantees you eat right.
  • 75. FoodDinnerFrequently included in lodging “half-pensions”Hotel Restaurants happy to serve non-guests“Fixed menu” usually good dealGood news: restaurants in Europe now non-smoking!
  • 76. WaterFountains near center of every town!Exceptions:D’leau non-potable!KeinTrinkwasser!Look for fountains alongside roads in mountain areas
  • 77. Water FountainsMost European Water Fountains have potable water
  • 78. LodgingTourist information centersAds/Bill boards in rural areasGuidebooks (usually useless unless cycling specific)Cyclists’ trip reports (e.g., “Jobst hotels”)Family-owned hotel networks “Logis de France”B&Bs “Zimmer Frei”/”Gites de France”
  • 79. Lodging (Continued)Easy to find on the dayStart search around 4pmException: weekends (Friday night + Saturday night) in popular areasOK to backtrackCheck for bed bugsDon’t conflict with big multi-billion dollar events like the World Cup or the Tour de FranceLodging will be booked a year in advance!
  • 80. GafthofBatznhauslWe lucked out, finding this hotel/restaurant at the end of a rainy day
  • 81. Tourist InformationMost tourist information staff are more than happy to help you make a reservation, find appropriate accommodations, and even provide a town map with directions to the bike path.
  • 82. Tools/RepairLearn to fix flat tires!Overhaul bike before you leaveEasier to carry tool and find someone who knows how to use itSpread spares between the group
  • 83. VAR Tire LeverVery useful for mounting difficult tires
  • 84. Illness/InjuryDo not ride with a fever!Moist Wound CareAltitude Sickness
  • 85. Questions?Trip reports:http://touring.piaw.netBuy the book(s):http://books.piaw.netBlog:http://piaw.blogspot.comFollow me:Twitter: @choonpiawGoogle plus: http://profiles.google.com/piawFacebook: Independent Cycle Touring