My pan-European cycle continues to generate a fair bit of interest. Andrew from Leicestershire writes;
A friend and myself are planning to cycle from Rome to home (Leicestershire) next year for the Loros charity.
I was wondering if you could send me the exact route you took (plus any changes you would have made to it!) plus anything else you thnk could be of help to us. I realise that is probably a very open ended question…. Really hope you can help out as i am finding getting info on the Eurovelo 5 quite tricky and whilst I have tried to plot a route through the Michelin route planner it would be great to hear from someone who has actually done it!!
I hope you have recovered OK
I have replied;
I spent two years trawling the Internet for information about the Eurovelo 5 and what there is out there is probably referenced somewhere on my website. You are correct that it is pretty scant and most people who have cycled from the UK to Italy (like me) or the other way around (like you) have just made it up as they went along. I think when I started out planning the trip I intended planning every turn but in the end I’m glad I didn’t. I had a list of towns and cities along the route, bought some 1:200,000 Michelin maps to cover the entire stretch from Reading to Brindisi (I cut them down to size and threw them away as I cycled across Europe), and made it up as I went along. Usually the route was fairly obvious and in some places I was able to follow other cycle routes upon which the Eurovelo 5 piggy backs (there are no signs yet for the EV5 ) such as the Rhine Cycle Route and then route number 3 across Switzerland. In other places, I just looked at where I was in the morning, where I needed to be in the afternoon / evening and just planned a route on a day-by-day basis. That worked out well and gave me flexibility to make decisions based upon local conditions & recommendations from people I met. The bit of the route that I would probably do differently if I were to do the whole thing again would be northern France. The official EV5 route goes via Brussels and then through southern Belgium. I decided to chop this bit off (I had been to Brussels before and wanted to make good progress in those early days) so cut the corner to just go through France instead. That bit of France is nothing special and I think I would have been better following the route itself and going through Belgium. The rest I would do just as I did it in the summer!