For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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I have a trip planned to europe starting the end of April next year and im interested in doing a cycling tour. I had origionally booked in a tour with https://www.adventuretravelgroup.com/ starting in Barcelona and heading up to the pyrenees but un-fortunalty they haven't received the number to run the tour.
I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions / recommendations for an active tour in europe? i've done the typical Bus tour of europe hence looking for something a bit different and more active this time.
There are loads of companies that offer tours within the popular cycling regions of Europe.. just search them on google.
If you're thinking of doing it solo then a) I'm jealous and b) it's very possible with a bit of research. I had a taste of the pyrenees last year and would love to do Europe more extensively on a bike in the near future.
Canyon Ultimate AL
Area of Germany south of Munich is well worth a trip, particulalry towards the Austrian border - Bad Tolz is one of the main centres in the areas. I cycled through it en route to Venice a couple of years ago, and at the time wished I'd had more time to explore the area in a bit more detail but as had arranged to meet up in Verona, I couldn't really hang around. I'd love to go back there. The hills aren't as big as the Frencch / Swiss Alps, however, with full touring gear, they're big enough...
I liked the French Alps around Bourg d'Oisans. Very cycle friendly, unlike the Chamonix area, where all the traffic seemed to be filtered up the valleys so every road seemed like a motorway. Further south, the French Riviera can be stunning in places - cycling around the bowl overlooking Monte Carlo is very impressive. For something more chilled out, the coast further east in Italy towards Finale Ligure can take in the old Roman road, which although it can get very busy with cars in the peak seasons, higs the coast line all the way to Genova. Italians are crazy drivers. But at least they smile when they're scaring the living daylights out of you. I was recommended to try the road further round from Genova - can't remember what its called - something like the "Five Villages'.
For something very different, riding in Iceland is an experience. Its not that big, and would be fun to go all the way round!
Cinque Terre maybe??
In my signature below there's a video from my ride across France last year. It was across the south, whereas in the past I've been across the lower north of France. Both were good rides, it's all about the quiet country roads and great food. I went back to France because it's just such a nice place to be. Got a bit sick of the French this time, but I forgive them
I once did a four-month W-shaped tour across Europe from the Netherlands to Poland, as far north as Amsterdam and Warsaw, and as far south as Geneva (Switzerland) and Timisoara (Romania). Netherlands/Belgium is over in a flash because it's flat and there are entire roads dedicated to bicycles, but it's an experience.
There was good cycling in Germany, Austria and Hungary. One major part of my trip was following the Danube through Bavaria, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, where there are cycleways alongside it the whole way and lots of amazing, history-buff things to see and do (and drinK).
If you like hills, go to Scotland. I've been around it on a bike and the combined total of elevation you gain is supposed to be comparable to scaling Everest or something. Also northwest Scotland can be more beautiful than anywhere in the world.
The wildcard I would throw in is Switzerland. People think "holy crap, it's all mountains", but it's not - you can ride the whole length of Switzerland along scenic lakes, with the Alps on one side and the Jura on the other. Suggested route: Geneva to Schaffhausen, then get a train somewhere. It's amazing, safe, cultural, and expensive (the only downside).
Having done my return trip to France, the place I would personally head for is Germany because I speak the language and I would like to see the parts I've never been to. I plan to ride all the way around Germany next time I can afford to travel to Europe.
I've never done a bus tour, but a Kon-Tiki tour group camped next to me one night in Budapest and they were bloody awful. They had not smelled the smells of country roads, sat under a remote tree with camembert, baguette and vin rouge, then ridden drunkenly onwards in the rain, and they hadn't really survived anything significant. They didn't get lonely, I suppose, but neither did I when they chatted to me all night.
If I can answer any questions about these places, fire away.
here is a link to the tour i did in 1989 by myself
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/To ... urope-1989
i did this on a very low budget and had a great time. i was invited to peoples places regularly to join them for dinner which is an experience that wouldn't happen on a paid tour.
dont try my route with an april start though. norway wouldn't be a good pplace to cycle/
Dunno about that. I timed my Norway tour so I was up in the Arctic Circle for the 24hr sunshine. Admitedly started my tour a little later (in early May) and had fantastic weather through to June. Still snow in places but mainly bright sunshine, and very clear air.
Thanks everyone for their suggestions and tips, its always interesting to hear about everyone else's experiences!
I have finally made a decision this week and i'm going to be doing a tour that follows the Giro d'Italia which starts with the time trial in venice and then progresses into the Dolomites which is a challenge i'm really looking forward to.
Training has now stepped up another cog and i've also booked in to do the 4 Bright boot camp in 2 weeks time which will be good for me to see how the legs fare on some decent climbs.
You would probably be surprised how many Aussies overseas are running cycling tours. While I don't specially note that a company is Australian run, in the directory of tours here, there are more 'australian connections' than I would have assumed.
MrCooms, did you book locally or directly OS? Would be good to hear how it goes - recommendations are always good.
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I'm not all that sure about travelling in Europe solely by bicycle at the moment. I want to visit so many countries, that I will probably end up doing a mixture of bike and train travelling in the end. Otherwise, if 2009 and 2010 work out well for me, I'll just spend the whole of 2011 travelling around Europe. Let's hope that the Aussie Dollar climbs up in value against the Euro otherwise I'll be screwed for currency.
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