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Journal of my ride across Western Europe

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Journal of my ride across Western Europe

Old 09-25-17, 02:26 PM
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raybo
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Journal of my ride across Western Europe

In May, 2017, I rode from Amsterdam to Passau, Germany. The ride took 28 days and included such highlights as the sand dunes west of Amsterdam, riding along the Rhine, the Vennbahn rail trail in Belgium and Luxembourg, bathing in Baden-Baden, the Bavarian Alps, Berchtesgaden and others. It was a great ride with a couple complete days in the rain but mostly partly sunny days.

As always, I met fabulous people, saw some wonderful sights, and spent time doing what I enjoy the most: riding a bicycle.

I've finished the detailed journal of this ride, for those who would like more details. The journal contains over 750 photos and links to the planning I did and the route I actually rode.

I hope you find it interesting.
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Old 09-25-17, 07:03 PM
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alan s 
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Fantastic work. You really put a lot of effort into documenting your trips. Looks like a nice place to tour. Not sure if you addressed it, but what are your impressions of the Bike Friday for touring? Any limitations?
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Old 09-26-17, 08:46 AM
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raybo
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Fantastic work. You really put a lot of effort into documenting your trips. Looks like a nice place to tour. Not sure if you addressed it, but what are your impressions of the Bike Friday for touring? Any limitations?
I spent several months riding the Bike Friday on training rides before I took it on tour. I wrote an article about my first impressions of it.

The things I liked about it (easy to unpack and set-up, easy to mount the bike by stepping over the crossbar) at first I like even more after my tour.

The things I didn't like about it (twitchy steering, unstable when standing over it) didn't improve with touring experience. I got accustomed to the steering, but I applied my brakes at much slower downhill speeds on the Bike Friday than I would have on my other touring bike. I tried everything I could think of to try and straddle the bike while I was taking a photo. Nothing seemed to work and I simply learned to step aside when the front fork twisted, usually for no reason, and let the bike fall down. This is enough of a problem that the next time I tour with the bike, I will try various methods to prevent the front fork from turning too sharply. In the end, it was a bother but not a show stopper.

While I have no way to verifying this, I think the Bike Friday climbed a bit easier than my other, diamond frame, touring bike.

When I was done, I was very pleased with the Bike Friday. It takes about 45 minutes to unpack and set-up and about 30 minutes to pack. The case is easy to maneuver around though carrying it, instead of rolling it, is a bother.

The only unforeseen problem was the shelf I bought to hold a large gear bag and add weight to the front of the bike. While the Bike Friday has eyelets for a low rider rack, the small wheels (20 inches) make that a bad idea. Instead, I bought a small shelf that attached to the brake arms. This is unstable and it took me a while to find a method to stabilize it. In the end, I had to tie rope around the shelf, the bag, and my fork to keep it from falling over. This solved the problem.

I look forward to touring again on the Bike Friday and would recommend it as a touring bike with only the qualifications I mentioned above.
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Old 09-26-17, 09:14 AM
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Raybo, nice article. I am doing a very similar tour starting in May but I will stick pretty much to the Rhine river and then switch to the Danube at Tutlingen. When I reach Budapest I will take a train to Prague and ride the Elbe up to Hamburg and then the north coast back to Amsterdam.

I already have my airline tickets for my wife and I (she is going for the first two weeks) and am very excited about going.

Great pictures, thanks for sharing your trip!
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Old 09-26-17, 10:44 AM
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Great journal! Really love the photos.
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Old 09-27-17, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by DGibson View Post
Raybo, nice article. I am doing a very similar tour starting in May but I will stick pretty much to the Rhine river and then switch to the Danube at Tutlingen. When I reach Budapest I will take a train to Prague and ride the Elbe up to Hamburg and then the north coast back to Amsterdam.

I already have my airline tickets for my wife and I (she is going for the first two weeks) and am very excited about going.

Great pictures, thanks for sharing your trip!
I hope you and your wife have a great tour.

However, I think you should consider places you might want to visit that aren't on the Danube. It is a long river and, unless you really like river views, the scenery will be consistent virtually the whole way. There will be plenty of pretty villages and some very large towns along the way, as well, but how many villages do you and wife need to ride through?

For example, you might find a place to take a train to the top of a mountain pass and then ride down it or into a valley or two before taking another train/riding back to the Danube. That said, I like riding through mountains and valleys way more than I do down rivers.
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Old 09-28-17, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I hope you and your wife have a great tour.

However, I think you should consider places you might want to visit that aren't on the Danube. It is a long river and, unless you really like river views, the scenery will be consistent virtually the whole way. There will be plenty of pretty villages and some very large towns along the way, as well, but how many villages do you and wife need to ride through?

For example, you might find a place to take a train to the top of a mountain pass and then ride down it or into a valley or two before taking another train/riding back to the Danube. That said, I like riding through mountains and valleys way more than I do down rivers.
To each their own I love waterways, you like mountains. We all like bicycling.

In 2008 I did spend a summer touring Europe by rail, bus, and car. So I was able to enjoy many of the more spectacular views. There is plenty of joy to be had for all.
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