I’m about to set off writing along the Rhine, the final part of 2022’s Grand Tour. And here is the map to guide me.
Tim Sanders holds the accolade of being one of only two people to have attended every single Cycle Touring Festival since the event first appeared on the calendar in 2015. During this year’s event in Clitheroe he spoke to The Cycling Europe Podcast not only about the joys of the festival but also about a recent cycling journey that took him from the Istrian Peninsula on the Adriatic coast along the Parenzana Trail to Trieste and onwards over the Alps to Munich in southern Germany.
So says cycling contact Simon Johnson, and watching the video that he pointed me in the direction of, it’s not difficult to see why. It’s one of those ‘watch and weep’ videos I’m afraid from the perspective of anyone who lives in the UK… I must add it to the list of places to visit; it’s not far from the Rhine. (Zermatt also gets a mention in the video! I have been there – it’s a car-free town in the Swiss Alps – and I mention it to anyone who claims we can’t remove cars from British towns and cities…)
If you are a member of Cycling UK and pay your £4 every month, you will hopefully have had the opportunity to read my account of last year’s Grand Tour that appeared in the June / July 2023 issue of Cycle Magazine. (If you are not a member, why not?? It’s a bargain and the magazine is one of the best cycling reads that you can get your hands on; real people, real cycling, real stories…)
Welcome to June… and to the summer of 2023. Well, if the first is your definition of summer. There are several from which to choose. My focus over the next few months will be continue to write the first draft of my new book about last year’s ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe. I’m now heading south along the Vélodyssée in the west of France (day 25 of around 60) so I should have that draft ready by the end of the summer. However, earlier this year I was approached by Dan Joyce, the editor of Cycling UK’s Cycle magazine, asking if would be able to contribute an article about last year’s cycle. That article has now been published and if you are a member of Cycling UK, you should have received your copy of the magazine in the last few days. It’s the June / July issue.
In the autumn of 2022, Susan and Ron Crump, a retired couple from Kentucky in the USA set off on their first cycle tour. Instead of dipping their toes in the shallow end of the cycle touring pool, they plunged into the deep end by embarking upon a 3,500km cycle from Amsterdam to Athens. Along with two more experienced cycle touring friends – Pam and Ralph – this is the story of their trip; the preparation, the execution and the aftermath. They may have been jumping for joy upon arrival in Athens but were they jumping for joy throughout the cycle? And has the trip been a springboard for future rides or will their next visit to Europe be on a cruise ship?
On July 3rd 2022 I set off from The Hook of Holland in The Netherlands, turned right and pedalled off in the direction of France. It was an anti-clockwise tour of the continent; the EuroVelo 12 along the Belgian coast, the EuroVelo 4 to Dieppe, L’Avenue Verte to Paris, La Véloscénie to Mont St Michel before rejoining the EuroVelo 4 to Morlaix, the EuroVelo 1 / Vélodyssée to Royan, the Canal de la Garonne to Toulouse, the Canal du Midi to Sète, the EuroVelo 17 beside the Rhône to Andermatt in Switzerland and finally the EuroVelo 15 / Rhine Cycle Route back to The Hook of Holland and the return ferry to Hull on September 3rd.
Although during the trip I posted short daily videos recounting the tale of my cycle around Europe this summer, the main reason for filming what I did was to make a film about the cycle from the Hook of Holland to the Hook of Holland. It’s quite a daunting task editing 2,500 videos into one film of about an hour but over the next few weeks that’s the plan. To whet your appetite, I have started by creating an into. You can watch it below.