Rachel, an artist from Grand Junction, Colorado has been in touch. Ever the teacher, my answers are in red;
Love your blog Thanks! and I’ll have to get the book when it’s ready! Know any publishers? My husband, son, and I are considering doing the section from Colmar to Rome next year at a VERY leisurely pace. My son will be 5 years old at the time and we will have to pull him in a trailer. We’ve never been to Europe, but done some week-long trips in the States and he did great! I guess the question is, Is it crazy? No Is it possible (if we get in great shape) to pull a trailer over the Alps? Absolutely. The Alps are no longer the formidable edifice of rock that they were a few centuries ago; mankind has tamed them somewhat with long switch-back roads, tourist amusement opportunities at the passes and trains (should you opt out at the last-minute) that go through them rather than over the top. Don’t over-emphasise how fit you need to be. Clearly it’s not recommended for anyone with a heart condition but with a reasonable level of fitness and you’ll be fine. Don’t over-do the training, especially if, as you say, the pace will be leisurely. Did you ever encounter families camping and cycling? I did, yes, at the campsite in Bellinzona just after having gone over the top of the Alps. I seem to remember they were Swiss and doing a circular tour which involved going over rather than through the mountains. Both mum and dad had a child in a trailer behind them. They were having a great time! Trailers are becoming increasingly common in Europe so you wouldn’t really stand out from the crowd. Also, we considered breaking the route to connect over to the Cinque Terre and then back through Tuscany…any thoughts on that? Go for it! I’ve never been to the Cinque Terre (although I have eaten lots of pesto sauce 🙂 ) but have heard nothing but good things about the area. I have visited coastal towns in Italy a little further north on previous trips to the country and they were stunningly beautiful, clinging as they do to the cliffs. Just bear in mind that the Cinque Terre coast is famed walking country mainly because there are a lot of ups and downs so that might be a factor with bikes and trailers. That said, by the time you have been over the Alps, they will seem very trivial indeed!
Hope that answers your questions Rachel. If it doesn’t feel free to get in touch again. Good luck and let me know if you do make it over to Europe; you won’t regret it. The picture by the way is one of Rachels and you can visit her website by clicking on the image itself. I sense another art-related post coming up after this one. Watch this space!