Tag Archives: George Jemmott


I believe in competition; it gives people an opportunity to benchmark what they do and try and make improvements. It sometimes gets bad press when it encroaches on things like health care or education, but I am generally very supportive to the whole concept of the chase. It’s just a great pity that I am not one of life’s born competitors.

In this light, it is good to welcome what looks like a quality Eurovelo 5 blog; George Jemmott has moved over to WordPress and has created a potential rival to Puglia 2010. This is a good thing!

If this were the real world of course, George’s attitude to business would no doubt attract the ire of the Competition Commission in the UK as he has emailed me with details of his new venture (neither of us charge for our services to the Eurovelo 5 community but this kind of activity can only lead to price fixing in the future). He writes;

“…I wanted to let you know about my recent progress.  I finally started putting stuff up on the net.  Check out eurovelo5.georgejemmott.com ….I’m working on the section of road between Switzerland and Milano.  I’m calling it “The Ticino-Milano problem,” and have a page dedicated to it on my site.  Hopefully I’ll get it resolved fairly soon.”

As you might guess from George’s style, he takes a more scientific view to the route than me. He is a GPS enthusiast and is undertaking some extremely valuable work mapping the route of the Eurovelo 5 from Milan to Calais. As he says, “The Ticino-Milano problem” is currently on his mind and I will be following carefully his findings; he lives in Milan and is thus in a perfect position to investigate whether it is better to take a westerly route from the Swiss border to Milan along the shores of Lake Maggiore or a more direct route via Como.

Interesting that he has chosen to use WordPress as well for his blog. It is certainly Rolls-Royce blogging software compared to the clunky Blogger system.

Competition? Bring it on :)

Sanoodi Mapping

I need to remember this: Sanoodi mapping. It is a way of recording your route, en route and showing it live via the Internet. Oli Broom (Cycling to the Ashes) appears to use it (although it is credited on the map on his site with two other companies: ESRI(UK) and OpenStreetMap). It works, I think, via a compatible GPS phone (which I don’t have: i-Phone, Nokia S60, Blackberry…). Not sure how Mark Beaumont does his map, but he is via the BBC website so he has a bit of help! George Jemmott (GPS person) might have more to add to this – George: please comment below!

WWOOFing: Clarification

In the comment to the previous post, George Jemmott has explained what WWOOFing is:
WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)ing is awesome. Work while you travel, see http://www.wwoof.org/ .

Actually he doesn’t really explain what it is does he? But if you visit the website it explains it all there. A kind of “I’ll scrub your back if you scrub mine” arrangement whereby volunteers work on organic farms across the World for free board and lodgings (including of course, lots of organic food). And this is what Rob Lewis and his new wife will be doing en route to Istanbul.

Honeymooning (and Woofing?) Rob Lewis

Just recieved the following email. Rob’s comments in red, my comments in blue:
Hi Andrew
Just been looking at your blog which is very helpful and inspiring. Thanks!
Me and my girlfriend are planning to cycle London to Istanbul in May (for our honeymoon) and are considering route options. Good idea.
I am currently thinking of following route 5 as far as Milan then heading over to Venice, catching a ferry to Istria in Croatia, then cycling down the Dalmation coast. That should be spectacular – I’m jealous already. We will potentially then catch the ferry back over to southern Italy and spend a couple of months there WOOFING. Err… you’ll have to explain that one Rob, sorry. I am assuming you are not a dog. Then heading back over to Greece and cycling to Istanbul potentially whilst doing a bit of island hopping. I’m still jealous. Will probably take about 5 months in total.
Looking at the Eurovelo routes they seem to do a lot of off roading. Interesting comment: I haven’t found anything sufficiently detailed yet to indicate one way or the other. The official definition (well, from Wikipedia) of a Eurovelo route is as follows: “For a route to be part of EuroVelo it must:have no gradient above 6%, be wide enough for two cyclists, have an average of no more than 1,000 motorised vehicles a day, be sealed for 80% of its length”. Even that doesn’t really smack of “off-roading”. I’m assuming that it will be able to cycle the EV5 using a normal touring bike rather than a mountain bike. I won’t be folllowing the bits that are off road (if they exist) as I only have a maximum of six weeks to make my trip. I’d be interested in knowing more about why you think it involves alot of off road cycling.
Was planning to try and stick to minor roads and paved cycle paths (avoiding non paved surfaces).
Do you intend to do something similar? Yes – see comments above.
Is there anywhere you can download these routes on GPS? That would be incredibly helpful! Pity you didn’t join the online chat discussion last Sunday at 8pm! We were discussing GPS. An American guy called George Jemmott is really into the whole GPS thing. He is planning on doing some GPS mapping of parts of the route (from Milan to Calais – very useful for you!) in March / April 2010. Have a look at his website for more information. I haven’t found any GPS details yet. Have you tried looking at the maps on the CTC website? You do have to be a member to look at them. Perhaps I should have a look for you (I joined them last year).
Also is it worth buying the eurovelo route maps? No. As far as I know there isn’t one for EV5. There is a general overview map for the whole EV network which you can also see on the European Cyclists’ Federation website. You can read the description of the Eurovelo 5 route on this website – I copied it from the back of the EV map!
Would be good to hear from you. Hope you found the above useful. Keep in touch. Would love to know how you get on. And what the hell is “Woofing”?
Best wishes
Same to you

George: My Response

Hi George
Thanks for your email – your enthusiasm is infectious!
I’m glad to be in touch with another person who is interested in the Eurovelo 5. My initial enthusiasm was not the Eurovelo 5, simply an interest in cycling and a wish to do something a bit more exciting one summer. I have a friend who has a small house in Puglia, Italy and I visited him and his wife a couple of years ago when they were there for the summer so I put two and two together and came up with the idea of cycling to southern Italy. I then discovered the pilgrimage route – the Via Francigena (I’m not in the least bit religious but it does add an element of history to the whole thing) and via that discovered the European Cycle Network and the route number 5.
Although I cycle every day to work – a round journey of around 12 miles – I had never done ever longer distance cycling over a period of anything more than one day so that is why last summer I cycled from the northern most town of England, Berwick-upon-Tweed to the English midlands, a journey of around 300 miles. I survived and the next step is the big one to Italy in the summer and if you have read the blog, you are probably up to date with my plans.
The blog was initially simply a way of organising my thoughts and plans but then other people found it and it seems to have become one of the main sources of reference for details about the Eurovelo 5. I have been in touch with quite a few people around the World and will be meeting up with a few of them over the next few months to chat about things EV5. One person – Richard – is potentially going to join me for the portion of the trip from Strasbourg to Switzerland which should be interesting.
Your comments are interesting and I’ve had a good look at your own blog. It doesn’t surprise me that you had difficulties following the route. From the information I could find, I have come to the conclusion that the EV5 is not sign posted much and that it piggy-backs upon other national routes, for example down the Rhine or from Calais through to Belgium along the canals or through Italy following either the national routes number 1 or 3. That said, I’m not sure whether I will be able to afford the time to follow slavishly the routes as marked. I did this over the summer when I cycled in England, following the Pennine Cycleway, route number 68. It held me back as it, quite rightly, made a point of keeping me on very minor roads or more often than not on cyclable off road paths. But sometimes, I just needed to get a bit of distance under my belt. I think next summer, I will take a pragmatic approach to the route that I follow. First of all, I don’t want to do it in a shorter period of time as I possibly can. I have six weeks at my disposal so the 80 miles per day distance is an average that I need to hit to make it from one end to the other (with a few rest days built in). I read stories about people cycling the route in 10 days. This is not for me: I want a holiday as well as a physical challenge! Where the Eurovelo 5 route allows me to make good time – and I’m sure it often will – I will follow it. However, there will be times where I deviate and take a minor road to make up distance. I would never get to Brindisi in time if I were to do anything otherwise.
I haven’t yet decided how much of the route planning I will do prior to setting off. I will try work out which places to stay in along the way – I plan on camping so villages / towns with campsites are invaluable each day – and then have a rough route planned on the 1:200,000 maps that I talked about in one of my posts last week. If there are local routes to follow – as mentioned above – I will consider following them and I would imagine that more often than not, I will.
So that is my approach to route planning. You mention GPS. I’ve never used it simply because I’ve never needed it. I’ve seen others use it and have occasionally played with the GPS function on my mobile phone but nothing more than that. I hope this doesn’t make me sound like some kind of Luddite – I love the technology side of the trip (the blog, keeping it updated en route etc…) but I do love maps. I love to pour over them and see not just where I am going and where I have been but also to see what is in the next valley or discover that the train line that I have been following branches off to go through a tunnel in the distance only to reappear in somewhere completely off my route – that kind of thing. However, I would love to work out how I can log my route discretely so that others can see where I am and also so that at a later date I can see exactly where I have been. I think this might be possible via my mobile phone and Google – I’ll have to investigate. Clearly, as mentioned above, the technology to do that involves GPS.
All that said, I’m certainly up for assisting your work in any way I can. I think that the Eurovelo 5 does need someone to create a definitive route: I only wish I had the time to do it myself. If you know of anyone who is happy to pay me to do it, let me know !
Keep in touch and keep me updated with your plans – they sound very exciting!
Best wishes


Just received this interesting email. George has also commented on the earlier post about maps:
Hi there Andrew!
I just found your site about EuroVelo5, and I’m rather excited. Introductions first – I’m George Jemmott, a silly American who is similarly interested in EV5. I think we might be able to help each other out quite a bit.
The last time I tried to find EV5, I had a bit of trouble, largely due to lack of research (in fact, I didn’t even know about the EuroVelo system until after I had started my 2009 European cycling trip… but that’s another story). The trip went fine, but I don’t think I stayed on EV5 for all of it.
This time I’m starting the research a bit more (though not much) ahead of time. I just had the idea to cycle from Milano, Italy up to Calais in March and April. Other than to make it to Amsterdam by May 5, my primary goal would be to map and document that 1100-km section of EV5 better than it has been done so far, maybe make a report like this one. Clearly my documentation and mapping could help you on your trip (especially if you, too, plan to use a GPS along the way, as I’d log the trip and organize it by sections I’d found pleasant, what to expect, etc.).
I’ll be looking through the ECF website, and also through your site, mostly looking for maps and documents, though if you have any scans or photos of maps that you haven’t posted yet, I’d love a copy! I’ll likely navigate with a combination of satellite photos, maps, and GPS coordinates that I prepare between now and then.
Anyway, I also just started (a couple days ago) a site about this project of mine, but at least so far it looks pretty crappy and a lot of the important info is missing… it’ll be a work in progress until I leave, I imagine. Check out: http://eurovelo5.georgejemmott.com/
Perhaps I’ll catch you tomorrow at 8pm, UK time.
~George J.