Berlin to Helsinki, Spring or early Summer 2017
Hey everyone! I'm totally new to touring, and would like to do Berlin to Helsinki (about 1500-1700 km) sometime around May-June, 2017. I've got 9 months to get in shape and take gradually longer trips until then.
First of all, who wants to join?
Second of all, I would be taking a modified version of the R1 route
- my ideas for modifications are: 1) going north from Berlin and riding east along the northern coast of Poland until Elbag and 2) going straight up from Riga to Tallinn, as I want to then take the ferry to Helsinki. Of course, I need to do a lot more research in order to know if this is feasible. Also, there around about 150km passing through the enclave of Kaliningrad, Russia, on the way from Poland to Lithuania. Apparently there is a 70 euro fee for a 72-hour visa, so another option is to just go around the area (doubling the time and length).
More about the idea: I'd like to complete this in three weeks, which means 80 km/day with 1 rest day a week. I'd like to do couchsurfing and cheap hostels, so no camping gear and less weight. In fact, I would like to travel as minimally as possible - maybe just a 7kg saddle bag with mini toiletries, a rainjacket, and a change or clothes or two, and a handlebar bag with tools.
A worry: I've read up a bit, and apparently a lot of the Baltic bike paths, and even main roads, are gravel or dirt. I recently acquired a road bike from the 80's, and was planning on changing to higher handlebars, flat resistant tires, and making some other modifications to make it more touring appropriate, but now I'm worried about those rough roads. Should I invest in an actual touring bike (not a heavy duty one, though, as I won't be taking a lot of weight), or maybe convert my Trek hybrid somehow?
Has anyone done this tour? Any suggestions? Ideas? Thanks a lot