After 55 days, of which 50 nights in a tent, 2 in B&Bs, 2 in Youth Hostels and 1 in a Prison (converted into a Youth Hostel I’ll add quickly) – I have completed the North Sea Cycle Route, also known as Eurovelo 12. My Garmin tells me I have covered just over 6,000km, which is consistent with gpx estimates, given I avoided the G20 conference in Hamburg and did not cycle follow all the options in Shetland and Orkney, having done those on a bike a few years ago.
Cycling in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France has been a revelation for me. The cycle paths are wonderful. The ferries have been wonderful (a total of about 25) and most of all, the people I have met have been wonderful. Apart from a loose bottom bracket (fixed at 8PM in Stavanger by Plamen), my Thorn Sherpa has performed superbly, although I now need to replace a few of the components (another chain, sprockets, bottom bracket) and give it a good going over. I am feeling much fitter and weigh something approaching my 30 year old self. I took my 2 man Terra Nova tent, which was ideal for the hot weather and stood up to the occasional downpour.
The experience has stimulated thoughts for new adventures, perhaps the Atlantic Coast from Plymouth to John O’Groats, via Ireland and the Outer Hebrides.
Things that worked well:
- An uncanny ability to turn up unplanned for a ferry to find it departed in 10 minutes
- Caxton FX card – ease your foreign exchange woes
- EE (and others) now have European roaming included in your UK allowance – great 4G signal (until I got back to the UK 😦
- Lovely campsites (particularly “mini camping”)
- Google MyMaps for navigation
- Brookes saddle – now run in to perfection
I’ll write up some more details about the trip at a later date.