Earlier this week I received a friend request on Facebook from a certain Tom Hooker. I like to think that his second name is Jasper, James or Jeremy and that his friends call him TJ Hooker but as he only looks as though he is in his 20s, this reference to 1980s TV icon would probably be wasted on him. And actually, I’ve just found out via his email address that he is Tom Alex Hooker (clearly his parents have no sense of humour!). As I was saying, he requested me to be his friend and gave the following reason;
“I am really inspired by your cycle to Rome and beyond. I’m going to cycle from Rome to London for Great Ormond Street Hospital and I was wondering is there a book or website I can get a London to Rome route from ? Sorry to bother you. Tom Hooker.”
It made me feel quite proud to have inspired someone, especially someone who has 883 friends compared to my 118 (of which one is a bike). Alas, Tom, as I have noted many times on this website, the Eurovelo 5 remains unmapped and largely undocumented. By all means follow the route that I took although I do remember thinking on arrival in Brindisi that one of the nice things about the route was, on reflection, that is wasn’t mapped and I had the freedom to pick out my own route. The stressful parts of the trip (in terms of direction finding) tended to be where I did have a national or regional route to follow (for example in Switzerland where the Eurovelo 5 route piggy-backs upon the Swiss National Network route number 3); I would become obsessed with trying to make sure I was indeed following every nook and cranny of the marked route. Buy a compass and make sure you are always heading roughly south by south-east and you’ll get there. Good luck!