Read More Here Now that I have cycled across a continent – I thought it would be cool to give a brief summary of a day in the life of a cycle tourer aka me, across a continent, aka Europe. I will plan to do one of these after each continent since no doubt the routine will change a fair amount.
8:20 – Alarm goes off in cheap hotel room. What’s this town called again? Get the iPad out and watch an episode of Netflix fodder while I wake up.
9:00 – either get breakfast at the hotel, or start smashing some chocolate croissants bought the day before. God they taste fake as balls.
9:20 – start packing up for the day in earnest. First (and most hated) jobs are to take a dump, brush teeth, liberally apply deodorant as required (armpits, clothes, ball sacks etc), sun cream to exposed extremities (face, arms and legs), and chamois cream to areas suffering from chafing on the saddle (balls, gooch and ass cheeks).
9:55 – re-check the route for the day. Look at how to get out of the town I am in. Check weather. Check wind direction. Get my bike and four pannier bags out of the hotel.
10:00 – climb aboard the trusty steed. Quick, quiet whisper of FML to myself, and then off we go again…
10:05 – most towns sit in valleys so more often than not I kick off proceedings with a steep as fuck hill. Definitely not ready for this.
10:15 – exhausted from the climb. Legs feel like jelly. when will they warm up and make this feel easy again??! Cycling is still hard even after 3 months.
11:30 – coffee and pastry in a shop, or at a petrol station. Failing that, we’re tucking into the pannier food pantry.
12:00 – watching the ground while I cycle, looking for snakes. Easy to be confused by the endless piles of cords, wires and rubber from blown tyres that litter the road sides. But don’t let that fool you. They are out there somewhere.
12:15 – revel in the joyful tune of a car beeping its horn while waving manically as he drives past. What a legend
12:16 – despair at the pen-arse truck driver who decides to let out an ear piercing horn while right next to me, just to ‘let me know he is there’. Yep. Got that from the expanding black blob in my rear view mirror, the construction style noise of your 18 wheels bundling along the ground, and the substantial amount of air being displaced right into my face.
13:00 – stop for lunch or walk around a church or mosque. Generally get out of the sun. Start to look more closely at google maps, especially distance covered compared to overall distance planned for the day
13:30 – always a brutal climb right after lunch when the belly is full and legs have cooled down. The law of sod.
13:50 – google maps has led me down another shocker. Decide to either turnaround or push on through the puddles and mud in the hope it doesn’t last for very long.
14:15 – now it’s put me onto a busy assed three lane nigh-on motorway. Which mode of transport does it think possible of taking on such varying features in such a short space of time I wonder??!
15:00 – arrive at intended destination. Look for the cheapest hotel in town if nothing already booked. Avoid the inevitable stares from everyone as you cycle past. Just play it nice and cool. Nothing to see here…
15:30 – unpack all my shiz from the bike. Get the air con on or some much needed ventilation. Take a shower. See if I can prise out another dump.
16:00 – venture into the town. Walk around. Take some epic photos. Talk to the locals. Find a nice bar to enjoy a drink in the sunshine and soak up the general atmosphere.
17:00 – look for somewhere to have dinner. Being a solo traveler I don’t want anything too formal and sit-downy. But would prefer a level above McDonald’s.
18:00 – on way back to the hotel buy some food supplies for the rest of the day and the next day if required. Stock up on more of those bad boy chocolate croissants as well as some fruit to try and keep the scurvy at bay.
19:00 – back to the hotel room. Spend rest of the evening rehydrating, getting enough calories down me to offfset the days deficit and one or some of: updating the blog, watching Netflix, reviewing photos, searching on tinder for some dates in future towns, working out where I might next find a hostel with travellers to talk to, thinking about when I should take a rest day or two. Also need to calculate the next day’s route. I will aim for between 70-100km and look to finish in a town. The order of preference regarding accommodation is : hostel from Hostelworld (best chance to meet people); cheap booking.com hotel (£20 or less); cheap airbnb; search on google maps for budget hotels in area I intend to travel to and enquire when I arrive the next day; search on warmshowers or Couchsurfing for free accommodation from strangers; campsites; wild camping. I’m not a huge camping fan so have decided to limit it to those times and occasions that that is my only option.
22:00 – read my kindle to ensure I am finding time to smash through some books on my travels
24:00 – go to sleep. I’m an insane sleeper so ritual includes the twin pillars of earplugs and eye mask. If pillow is too big then dig out my puffer jacket and use that to sleep on instead.
I should mention on re-reading this is a fairly bleak, firmly tongue in cheek account. Of course what I have missed out are the days the route takes you on incredible climbs away from the traffic with views of the countryside stretching for miles around, all the friendly locals who come up to you wanting to get to know this crazy white devil on his massive bicycle, and all the friends I’ve made and boozy sessions I’ve partaken in during my stays in hostels throughout. It’s been an awesome three months!