The Antidote….

….to the first day back at work after a long two-week holiday is receiving an email from a new blog reader that exudes positivity in the way only Californians can manage, which is useful for JJ Istrin as he hales from Los Angeles! JJ and his wife have exciting plans and he has emailed to share them and ask a few questions. In true style, JJ writes in blue, and I respond in red;

My wife and I are planing on being in Europe for a few months this summer from July to the end of September.  We are non traditional travelers and avid cyclists.  We love camping and getting out on our bikes.  We are 25 and have done a few century rides here in the states (161km).  We just started thinking more concretely about our Eurotrip.  At first we were thinking about of spending a lot of time backpacking in the Alps, some long hiking trips/camping, than we stumbled on your website and the wheels started turning and we begun to think about biking. Wow! I have inspired someone.

We would have to probably buy used bikes in Europe and sell them when we left; would this be difficult?  OK. The buying of the bike bit is easy 🙂 The selling less so. I suppose if you were hanging around in Italy for a few days and made contact with potential buyers either through the Internet or people you meet then selling them on might be a possibility. We were thinking of maybe starting in Brussels, and working our way down to Rome along your route. Do you have mapped out specifically what roads you are going to go on? Because we have such short time, I thought the only way it may happen is if we follow your itinerary/route and take advantage of all of the meticulous leg work you have done. I’m honored that you have chosen my route but I can’t stress how much of a work-in-progress it actually is and lacks the detail on the level of knowing which roads I will take from town to town. I personally don’t mind this; I’m happy pouring over a map for a good half an hour or so over a drink the night before the “stage” and figuring out in more detail. You overstate the amount of work I have actually put into the route itself by using words such as “meticulous”!  We want to enjoy this though, is it a pretty grueling ride? It shouldn’t be too grueling a ride apart from some of the days in the Alps when the climbs will be relentless. Northern Europe is more undulating than Alpine and following the Rhine along the Franco-German border is probably going to be a fairly flat route. How is the scenery? Bloody marvelous! How are the roads? The roads should be good to excellent, especially in Switzerland where everything is done “properly” (not the case in the UK or in Italy!) Is this feasible…. in such little time? I reckon you have plenty of time to complete the cycle – I’m aiming to do London to Brindisi in five weeks so you should have plenty of time to do Brussels to Rome

Another concern is we only speak English and a little Spanish.  Will finding our way be a problem? No problem whatsoever – the key thing with the language aspect of things is to have a go and learning a few words of French, German and Italian will reap enormous dividends when it comes to asking directions or dealing with the everyday things in life. If you can show that you are making an effort to hold out a linguistic olive branch, it is usually reciprocated!

Thank you for looking over this crazy e-mail and for putting together such a great and helpful website. Thank you for reading it!

That’s JJ surfing in the picture btw from his own website.

Categories: Cycling

Tagged as: ,

2 replies »

  1. Thanks for the offer Massimo. It looks like it may be a little too much for us to cycle the whole route and buy bikes because we want to see so much of Europe. We do want to do some of the route and some bike touring in Italy. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks.

  2. You are modest Andrew, you have done an awful lot of work on the route, which we will all benfit from no end!

What do you think?