With a bit of effort, I have finally got my head around using Google MyMaps. This is an extension to Google Maps that allows you to overlay points of interest (POIs), photographs and route information on top of Google Maps. This aids navigation and can be used to record locations on your journey for future reference.
Here is the MyMaps I used for the North Sea Cycle Route. It shows campsites, photographs (automatically geotagged), Ferries and other POIs.
Click on these links to interact with the map. You can switch each layer on/off and zoom into each country:
I recorded my journey with a Garmin 520 GPS device, which worked very well. Here is a summary of each day for those who like statistics. My observations:
- Longest day – Inverbervie – 9 hours cycling over 11 hours elapse
- Furthest day – Netherlands – 165 km – flat and a ferocious tail wind
- Quietest roads – Scotland (less than 10 cars per hour) – and the sun was out
- Most off road sections – Denmark, mostly covered in sheep sh*t
- % on busy roads – Sweden (busiest = more than 10 cars per hour), although England definitely heaviest traffic
- Toughest day – Feda to Mandal, Norway (Max speed 60kph, 1889m ascent) – exhilarating descents, including one 450 degree bend (I had to think about that)
- 55 days elapsed, but 53.5 days actual cycling taking into account flights and major ferries (LHR to Bergen, Shetland to Aberdeen, Sweden to Denmark)
- Highest average speed – to Grenaa to Ubdyhøj – 20.4 kph
- 45 nights under canvas, 2 on ferries, brothers house, 3 B&Bs, 3 YHAs and 1 night in Prison.
A total of 5,936 km (missing out the G20 conference in Hamburg by catching the Brunsbüttel ferry to Cuxhaven and also taking direct routes in Orkney and Shetland). 193,000 calories, 347 hours of cycling (6.5 hours per day average) at a daily average speed of 17 kph. 36,436 metres of ascent – phew!
Click here for pdf – NSCR Itinerary
What I did not expect is 74% of the journey (estimated and noted each day) was traffic free or on very quiet roads. By quiet roads I mean less than 10 cars per hour passing you. With a few exceptions (Aberdeen, Sittingbourne/Faversham and a few other locations), even the traffic roads were safe to ride, not needing cycle courier levels of skill to negotiate.
Most blogs I have read indicate a 60-80 day itinerary, which is probably a better bet if you plan to see more of the sights. A lot depends on ferry timings and availability, many ferries do not operate out of a very narrow summer season in Norway. I’ll write about the ferries soon.
I could sit and watch this for hours. I am glad I am a walker and not a sailor. Earth Wind Map. Also shows wind at various heights so you can see the effect of the jet stream. If you are a sailor you can see waves height patterns too.