Learning on the road

By Alpkit

Last month James and Adrian headed off on a 100 day tour of over 20 European countries. Although very familiar with the two wheeled type of transport, when it comes to cycle touring they are a little bit of self proclaimed rookies. Adrian reckons “This trip is about taking on a challenge, experimenting with a different way of living and experiencing life to its full. I love to travel and I love to meet new people so the fact that we are cycling makes this the perfect adventure” it also shows that sometimes the best way to learn is just to get involved and make the Inspiring Adventure even more memorable.

In many ways it feels like this journey has shifted up a gear, the past week has been a tough one but probably my favourite so far. The first couple of weeks were such a whirlwind, but life on the road is beginning to feel normal at last, we’re adjusting. I feel different, much more relaxed, more calm.

So, we were in Switzerland. The Rhine. Gateway to the Alps! Then came Austria, wow, what can I say about Austria. Breathtaking! We’re big fans of Austria!

We struggled a bit in Switzerland though if I’m completely honest. It was a case of bad timing I guess, we got caught out a bit, rookies that we are. So…. we turn up on Saturday evening, we’ve got enough food for a couple of basic meals but barely enough gas to make a brew, and unfortunately for us over the past few months Switzerland has become the most expensive place in the universe. Eating as much as possible is pretty much the golden rule of cycle touring and we broke it. After stopping at every camp site on the south shore of Bodensee (Lake Constance) in search of gas for our stove we finally caved in, we bought a couple of donner kebabs for our Sunday dinner and called it a day. We’re still learning. Everyday.

The following morning we headed south to St Gallen, a slick little city in the hills. We had been told that we could get the gas we needed there and hopefully a decent map of Austria too. Without these items we would be up shit creek as they say. Our luck was in, we found the stuff and set off up a pass towards Lichtenstein. The road we took out of St Gallen was a beauty, with views over the city and down to the lake we’d been following the previous day. After an hour or so we we’re well in to the rugged countryside. The sound of cowbells made me laugh to myself. Is this really happening? As the road took a sharp right just after the summit it seemed like the whole world just fell away. The perfectly flat valley was so far down, the scale of the space below us proved difficult to comprehend. It reappeared on alternating sides as we descended the countless switchbacks. The cowbells faded, replaced with the hum of our tyres, the electrified buzz of freewheels and the rush of wind in our ears. Welcome to the Alps!....

The great thing about being so transient is you never know where you’re going to wake up tomorrow, we’ve slept in some unusual places. The most ridiculous so far has to be Klosterle village hall. We were going to camp next to the hall but when we noticed the doors were open we decided to sleep inside. We woke in the night to hear someone snoring, quite loudly. Thinking it was probably a tramp we went back to sleep. In the morning we discovered we’d accidentally gate crashed a scout camp, the scouts were all camped behind the hall, the snoring was coming from one of the scout leaders who had also been sleeping in the hall. The funny thing is they hardly batted an eye lid when they saw us in the morning they just said hello and went about their scout business. Everyone seems fairly relaxed in Austria…..

Read a full account of their current progress on their Really Big Bike Ride

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