Preparation 2008

The Plan
24/04 till 30/05/2008

This is a rough map of the direction we will be taking. This plan follows the shortest route but also one that will take us through some places of interest.
First we’ll be cycling along the river Maas (Meuse) through the Ardennes. This will be our second ride along this river, we enjoyed it the first time (on the way to Barcelona) so much we’re looking forward to riding along this route again.
Second point is cycling along the river Loire where we’ll take a day off and check out the castles around Blois and Tours.
Third is cycling along the Atlantic coast (never done before) from just south of Rochefort to Biarritz. Hopefully we’ll have nice weather so we could check out the sunsets over the ocean.
And fourth is climbing into the Spanish hills to Pamplona and following the St.Jacobs route to Santiago de Compostela.
We will still continue to do research on this route but we’re limited on the time we have, any detour will add more days that we really do not have.
The blue line (bottom left) is our non cycling, we’ll probably take a train route to Porto for our flight back home.



Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hello again, it’s clear but freezing weather outside and getting bored here at home so I decided to start our new page even if it’s’ a bit early 🙂
Reading many touring journals in our spare time we are getting that itch again but we have just over four months to go before we can take off again.
It is still very early for precise tour locations and we have narrowed it down some but we wont post anything just yet.
I have started training already (in the gym) as I have put on some weight on my last trip to Greece, as hard as I try I can’t keep off that Greek food.
There is still a lot of work to do on the bikes. I haven’t done anything to them so I will need to strip, clean, oil and grease everything. I’ve also to replace some things like my sit post, cables, their covers, and most likely my front racks when I get the new Ortlieb panniers.
That’s it for now.

Friday. 18 Jan. 2008

We have finally made our decision for our spring tour, it was down to two choices Ireland or Spain. We chose Spain mainly for the time of year as the Irish weather in May could get a bit uncomfortable. So Ireland would have to wait for another time 😉
We also had a problem with Santiago de Compostela, we could not find a way back. The nearest airport that Brussels air fly’s to/from is Porto, about 230kms south, but they have a new policy of accepting only 2 bikes per flight ?!? and for the day we wanted to return they only had room for one. We tried for other airlines but they were more expensive and not direct flights.
But after some research and brain storming we found a way.
It seems the St.Jacobs route is so popular that there is a shipping company that will pack, insure and deliver the bikes to our home within two weeks, which is great not having to deal with the bikes at the airport.
So after dropping off our bikes, we get a bus from Santiago to Tui, cross the bridge into Portugal hop on the bus/train to the camping at Lavra near Porto airport. It should be easy enough to accomplish in a day.
According to our desktop countdown clock we have 98 days to go, so still early days yet. Map with details will be posted later on.
So its back to the gym and daydreaming of our spring tour 😉

Update 05 February 2008

Having caught this nasty flu just before carnival “of all times” 🙁 and having a lot of time on my hands, I played around with the itinerary and came up with these numbers.
The tour is roughly 2338 kms (counting on a bit more) with 27 riding days 5 rest days and 3 travel days (without the bikes). We will be averaging around 86.6 kms per day with the longest being 142 kms and the shortest 49 kms. All this will probably change some by the time we leave, so it’s about 95% accurate.
Now you can tell how much more time I have on my hands :-))

Saturday, 08 March 08

It’s seven weeks to go and we continue to train (in the gym). The weather has been very cold lately and we don’t like to cycle when its below 10c. We did go for a small ride +/- 50kms two weeks ago when it got around 15c for a day, and it was good to get back on the saddle after a few months. It was also a good chance to check out the bikes after the complete service I’ve given them and they were perfect. I also got the Tubus Cargo and Tara racks for my bike.
Hopefully in the next couple of weeks the weather will warm up a bit and we’ll get back on the saddle.
We finally got our new Ortlieb Back roller and Front roller Classic panniers, I have the blue and Monique has the red, so there wont be any more bag mix ups in the tent 🙂
We can’t wait to fill them up with some blankets and mount them on our bikes to see how they look.
But for now and the following week it will still be too cold and wet to go out on our bikes so it’s back to the gym.

2008newbagsChecking out our new Ortlieb roller plus bags.

Friday, 04 April 08

Three weeks left and we’ve hardly trained. The weather has not been kind to us and we’ve only managed about 300kms. The longest being 120kms with the last 60kms having to fight force 5/6 head winds which was very tough.
The forecast doesn’t seem to be getting any better either with this weekend expected to brink heavy rain, hail, and wet snow and nighttime temperatures dropping to freezing.
We’ll try for some small rides 50/60kms near our home during the week days but we would preferred to have done at least twice as many kms till now. We will start putting our things together this week and see if we’re missing anything. So far we’re convinced that we will need much warmer clothes.
The following weekend we would like to do an overnighter and double check everything and get used to the bike fully loaded again.

Monday, 21 April 08

Three days left now and we are very excited. We have arranged for a couple extra days so now we’ll be leaving on the 24th instead of the 26th. Always nice to have a couple extra days incase of foul weather.
We have just came back from an overnight shakedown tour this weekend, to just North of Venlo and are feeling very good. We were glad it rained also that night because I found a leak on the tent which needs to be repaired also the kitchen setup needs to be reorganized. We like to have one bag just for the kitchen, plates, burner, gas canister, eating utensils, etc… For the rest everything went well.
Now just to tie up some loose ends around the house and were off, over five weeks on the road 😉
We really like the new look of the bikes with the Ortlieb bags. This is how we will be packed for our tour to Santiago.

2008shakedownOur brand new look, we just love it.

Wednesday 23 April

The time has come, I repaired the leak on the tent, rearranged the kitchen and took care of all the things that needed taking care of and now just a quick double check of everything, and that’s it.
My bags are 8.4 kgs front and 10.6 kgs rear, tent is 5.5 kgs. Handle bar bag is 3.0 kgs.     Total 27.5 kgs
Monique’s, 6.4 kgs front and 9.0 kgs rear, mattresses are 2.6 kgs. Handle bar bag is 2.5 kgs.         Total 20.5 kgs
This is with food included but not the water. There are some things that could be lighter, like the tent, but it really wasn’t in the budget for a new tent on this tour. We got our eyes on a couple from Hilleberg but they are quite expensive.
After buying 2 sets of Ortlieb bags and new Tubus racks for me, the Piggy Bank ran dry 🙂
We have also been keeping an eye on the weather and it looks pretty good over the next few days, the weather is getting warmer, and there is a slight chance of showers tomorrow.
Well wish us luck and we’ll update this site when we return.
Tailwinds to all 🙂

Week 1 – Maastricht to Bagneau s Loing