Riding the Rhine without a map | Setting off for Switzerland

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Monday, 30 July, 2012

Enfield Lock_7829953742_oI set off yesterday morning for Switzerland, feeling like this is probably the most hastily organised and poorly planned trip of my life.

I threw some clothes, spares for the bike and other essentials into my new panniers, and headed out for the first time on a fully loaded bike.

I quite like it.

Once I got over the feeling that the panniers we’re going to jump off the back of the bike with every pothole in the road, I found the extra weight quite stabilising and made good progress to Tottenham, before picking up the Lea Valley Walk and heading north to Enfield Lock for my lift to Dover.

We made it to Lille for our first overnight stop at 11.15pm and will complete a further 8 hours drive to Andermatt in the morning.

A big thanks to my logistics support:

Damian, for agreeing to drive me to Switzerland at such short notice, and my Dad (the self-proclaimed Fat Controller) who will be feeding me route information by email as I go.

If you would like to support the trip, please find time to make a small donation, or spread the word. If you would like to join me and cycle part of the route, email me and let’s see what we can work out.

In return I’ll try to write as much as I can in between turning pedals and sourcing calories.

Footnote:

I didn’t say so in my blog post, but I nearly abandoned the whole thing before I even set out.

Jumping on a bike was the last thing I felt like doing after the previous days wine drinking. Then 30 minutes before I set out the flats over the canal from me were descended on by a fleet of ambulances and police cars.

I still don’t know what was going down, but it felt like watching the events of two weeks previous playing out again in front of my eyes.

It gave me a bad case of the jitters.

I began the trip by carefully picking my way through the emergency services vehicles, and spent the first few road miles convinced I was going to get knocked off my bike by a car at any moment. I don’t really know why. It was only when I left the road and picked up the riverside path that I let myself relax a bit.

Thankfully the rest of the journey to Enfield Lock passed without incident and the trip was underway.

Continue reading …

 

Index

Prologue

Setting off for Switzerland

I think the first bit might be a bit hilly

Day 1 – Andermatt to Chur

Day 2 – Chur to Rorschach and lunching in Lichtenstein

Day 3 – Rorschach to Shaffhausen and the need for professional help

Day 4 – Schaffausen to Basel and the end of the Swiss section

Day 5 – Strasbourg or burst?

Day 6 – Strasbourg to Karlsruhe

Day 7 – Karlsruhe to Goddelau and more getting lost

Day 8 – Goddelau to Koblenz on a spoke and a prayer

Day 9 – Koblenz to Cologne, the day I hit the wall

Day 10 – moving North from Cologne

Day 11 – Nijmegen to Gorinchem, clogging it along the dijks

Day 12-13 Gronichem to Hoek van Holland and the end of the Rhine

Epilogue

Kit List

 

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