A couple of months ago we decided to ride bikes from Copenhagen down to Berlin then over to Hamburg, Bremen, Zwolle, Amsterdam, Eindhoven and then back into Cologne and surrounding areas. We did minimal research, we were unprepared, we really had no idea at all. We had bikes but that was literally it. We had no bike gear, Gilberto had saddle bags for the back and a helmet. I thought i could just strap a bag to the back of my bike and have the other half of my stuff in a basket on the front. This did not work haha needless to say the day before leaving I bought saddle bags. I also (stupidly!!!) did the whole ride without a helmet and rode most of the way with no shoes on. Other people we saw on the road with really good set ups would laugh as we passed them. However we learnt to embrace the embarrassment after a few days.
This was our first day of the bike tour. Still in Denmark with no idea what we were in for.
How I carried my food and some other things… haha
This was our first nights accommodation.
We looked some stuff up on a few websites about what routes to take, Berlin to Copenhagen was about the only set bike route we could find. We also found an amazing app called Strava which allowed us to map our whole route as we went but besides this we knew nothing. We picked our destinations on MapsWithMe (because we only had offline phones) and then decided how far we wanted to ride that day. The decision was based solely on how tired we were and how likely there was to be an open supermarket and abandoned buildings at our destination. But that was about it. We chose our stops day by day and made the rest up as we went.
The first day we rode about 130kms to get to the ferry and then camped under some trees in an industrial area in Rostock next to some freight trains. This was the most either of us had ever ridden in a day and with all our stuff packed. We really did not have a clue what we were in for. We were laughing the whole day just going no, we are never going to make it haha. As painful as it was we were driven by our curiosity of whether or not we could actually ride a few thousand kilometres and lust for both being outside our comfort zones again.
It was really warm this night and there were so many stars out we did not put the cover on the tent. We woke up to blinding lightning and crazy loud thunder, only to have colossal amounts of rain pouring down on us seconds later.
How we ate most of our meals. Sitting in a gutter outside a supermarket.
There was only two flat tyres the whole trip the both happened on Danes’ bike and were both in the same hour. Gilberto waiting for me to sort my shit out.
When we arrived we knew we camped close to the tracks but they were not that active so we thought it was not a big problem. 11pm and we thought the world was ending when everything became as bright as day and the noise and motion from the train almost scared us through the roof of our tent.
More eating on the ground.
We slept in several abandoned buildings. This one was nice but maybe the most dirty as we had to set the tent up inside to keep the mud off us from the ground.
Berlin arrived after 3-4 days where we stayed with friends, Berlin to Hamburg was 3-4 days again. We decided it was not overly fun to try and ride more than 100kms a day and we would miss fun places and just exhaust ourselves in the process so we aimed normally for 70-100kms each day arriving before dark so we would not have to search for somewhere to camp and eat and do everything in the dark of night. After Hamburg though the distances got dramatically shorter and it became warmer and over all more enjoyable. Gilberto claims he was fine but, even after 7 weeks my ass never ever got used to sitting down on the seat for that long everyday.
As far as bike tours go Holland was by far the best country to ride through. There was bike paths through the whole of Holland and everyone expects it. Germany and Denmark were also good for riding bikes but nothing like we experienced in Holland.