Bike Across Europe 2014

Welcome Back to Spain – Europe 2

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Unfortunately had to spend the day prior un-assembling my newly purchased Bianchi! Yuck! All bike parts were then “entombed” in a disposable bike box (all part of the master bike touring plan ) along with bike panniers and miscellaneous bike repair parts. Distance bike touring unfortunately involves tedious packing as one must carry all necessary tools to fix the bike should a break down occur while riding in the middle of nowhere! Luckily I now have been trained to effectively fix most major bike malfunctions, including snapping cables and broken spokes ( flat tires are a walk in the park compared to trying to fix a broken chain!)

Floridana to Miami International and then an 8 hour flight to Dusseldorf, Germany on Air Berlin. You have to love listening to German and trying to read German for 8 hours! Oh but wait listening to German was the last bike trip through Europe!  On that trip Jeff and I simply gave up on learning the German language ( way too many letters!) Unfortunately we are going to need to revisit the German language on this trip as we make our way through Austria. Maybe this time I will give leaning the language another shot!

Dusseldorf was unfortunately not our final destination and we then embarked on another 1.5 hour flight to Madrid.

After a total travel time of 12 hours and 30 minutes , we officially landed in Madrid.  Neither one of us slept on the plane so we were very tired! When we arrived in Madrid it was 9 am so our day was just beginning!

Wrestled the bikes out of baggage claim and then through customs.  We were able to take a shuttle to our hotel which was awesome as we were not forced to put the bikes together in the airport! Once at the hotel, we immediately started assembling the bikes and all of our gear.  This process took over 4 hours.  Unfortunately my bike box arrived in Madrid with a giant hole in it and I lost my sleeping bag through the hole!   So, after hours of packing we realized that we needed to take the mass transit into Madrid and search for a new bag as well as a new power cord for my computer which apparently also did not make the journey ( it was literally cut in half somehow in my backpack!)

Spent over 7 hours navigating the transit systems of Madrid and getting lost on the streets of Madrid looking for sleeping bag and computer cable and food! We need to sleep! Have been awake now for 36 hours.  The biking begins tomorrow.  We have no idea where we are going.  It is up to Jeff to figure out the first days route in the morning.  Looking forward to using my Spanish and eating chocolate croissants!

Bike Across Europe 2014

Going back back to Europe!

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Ahh Europe .. The land where I am forced to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celcius ( double the Celcius number and add 30 ) and covert kilometers to miles ( multiply by 2 and add a random few miles )! A magical place where one must know like 8 million languages in order to bike across the damn continent ! A wonderful place where your American dollar is worth shit ( currently one US dollar is only worth 64 cents – and that is if you do a direct currency exchange – 55 cents if you use the scam conversion kiosks at the airports). But Europe is a place of unbelievably wonderful chocolate croissants, pastries, bread, salami, chocolate and most importantly, bike-friendly roads! So it would make sense that we would want to go back and bike through this utopia of small, socialist countries ! And for all of you haters of socialism, I suggest you pay a visit to the land of the overly taxed and just see how well the government spends said tax dollars ( I am all in favor of having half of my earned income go towards efficient mass transit systems and well marked bike routes and bike lanes ( complete with their own bike stop lights thank you very much !) Ok. Enough on the benefits of socialism and on to what it takes to successfully attempt a transcontinental bike trip packed to the guilds with 50 lbs worth of gear! On this European biking adventure, Jeff and I will attempt to complete a 2500 mile ride across southern Spain, Southern France, Northern Italy, and Austria. As most of our followers know, our average bike adventures are between three to four thousand miles. However, it appears that we have two massive mountain ranges to cross before we finish our trip ( otherwise known as the Italian and the Austrian Alps ) and it is predicted that these ranges may considerably cause our daily mileage to decrease by a factor of 2!!! Thank goodness for the new bikes! Speaking of new bikes, this year we decided to finally ditch the racing bikes which we had retrofitted for bike touring for steel-framed,ultra-stable touring bikes. These sleek bikes now allow us to carry front bags. This simply gives me an excuse to carry more clothes and more candy! This unfortunately leads to a heavier bike and makes for harder riding ! Just as I like it! The adventure begins June 29! Stay tuned!