“Tell ‘im he’s dreamin’!” Dealing with lockdown boredom by prepping for Europe

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Vic­to­ria is cur­rent­ly in our fourth COVID-19 lock­down, and I find myself sit­ting inside, on a chill but sun­ny Sun­day after­noon in late autumn, prepar­ing for a Euro­pean bike tour that might nev­er even­tu­ate, but even if it does, cer­tain­ly won’t for quite a few years.

Setbacks galore

Let me list just a few of the bar­ri­ers between Europe and ourselves:

  1. We (my part­ner and I) live in Aus­tralia, where inter­na­tion­al bor­ders are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Europe is still in the grip of COVID-19 itself and it’s unknown how safe it will be to book any flights or accom­mo­da­tion. It means we have to plan for vary­ing sea­sons and times of year and then play it by ear.
  3. I injured my back in Decem­ber 2020 and am not even out on the road yet, with a due date to return to cycling out­doors set as 17 Sep­tem­ber this year, and ful­­ly-loaded tour­ing set as 17 March next year (12 months post-oper­a­­tion, due to the need to han­dle a bike weigh­ing as much as 20–30kgs).
  4. I start­ed plan­ning for this tour a few years ago, before I had two kids liv­ing with me. We now like­ly have to wait until they are old enough to move out to be able to take a few months and do the trip right.

So why both­er plan­ning it at all? Well, pri­mar­i­ly the answer to that ques­tion at the moment is: I’m bored shit­less. But I also need some­thing to look for­ward to.

Divider illustration

Life nev­er gives us what we want at the moment that we con­sid­er appro­pri­ate. Adven­tures do occur, but not punctually.

E.M. Forster
A Pas­sage To India 

A broad outline of the trip

  • Vienna, Austria

    Start­ing in Aus­tria and fol­low­ing the Danube Riv­er along EuroV­elo 6.

  • Regensberg, Germany

    Con­tin­u­ing along the Danube via Ybbs, Enns and Linz, cross­ing the Aus­tri­an-Ger­man bor­der at Jochen­stein, then rest­ing at Pas­sau. From there, con­tin­u­ing through Deggen­dorf and Straub­ing and rest­ing for a day or so at Regensberg.

  • Ulm, Germany

    From Regens­berg, still on the Danube through Bavaria until Ulm. There are lots of lit­tle vil­lages along the way, and we’ll just stop wher­ev­er we think looks suitable.

  • Lake Konstanz, Germany

    Still on the Danube, we switch back and forth across the riv­er through to Tut­tlin­gen, where we leave the Danube and head south to Lake Kon­stanz and the Rhine River.

  • Basel, Switzerland

    Fol­low­ing the Rhine, still on EuroV­elo 6, we ride across the German/Switzerland bor­der a few times through Schaffhausen, Wald­shut-Tien­gen and Bad Sāckin­gen until Basel in Switzer­land, where we’ll prob­a­bly spend a day or so.

  • Besançon, France

    Leav­ing the Rhine and turn­ing through Mul­house into France, we fol­low the Canal du Rhône-au-Rhin until we join Le Doubs Riv­er at Etou­vans near Mont­béliard. We then fol­low Le Doubs Riv­er until Besançon.

  • Orleans, France

    Rid­ing across Cen­tral-East­ern France, we leave Le Doubs Riv­er at Dole and join the Saône Riv­er, then the La Dhe­une at Chag­ny and final­ly the Loire Riv­er near Montceau-les-Mines. We then fol­low the Loire all the way to Orleans, pass­ing through Digoin, Nev­ers and Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire.

  • Paris, France

    Leav­ing the EuroV­elo 6 route at Ouzouer-sur-Loire, we join EuroV­elo 3 for the last part of our jour­ney. This takes us through Mon­tar­gis, Nemours and Fontainebleau, approach­ing Paris from the south.

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Bike and gear

To pre­pare for this trip (and oth­ers), I pur­chased a Surly Disc Truck­er tour­ing bike in June of 2020. We still have to pro­cure a tour­ing bike for Danielle — I’m look­ing pri­mar­i­ly at main­stream tour­ing bikes such as the Surly Disc Truck­er in the small frame (Danielle is very short) or the Kona Sutra.

I already have a lot of light­weight camp­ing gear we can use along the way, but we’re very uncer­tain of what camp­ing pro­vi­sions there will be in Europe, so we may end up tak­ing some light gear as a just-in-case and rely­ing on accom­mo­da­tion along the way.


I’ve also tak­en up French lessons dur­ing my manda­to­ry stay in bed at the start of this year — I fig­ure hav­ing some basic lan­guage skills will allow us to get along bet­ter with the locals. I’ve also enjoyed learn­ing French a lot, so this has been a nice bonus.

Interesting resources used so far in planning

I’ve found quite a lot of good stuff on and offline, including:

  • The EuroV­elo bicy­cle net­work web­site: https://en.eurovelo.com/. We will fol­low the EV3 and EV6 routes.
  • Some Mar­co Polo 1:800,000-scale coun­try maps for France and Ger­many. This has been great for get­ting an idea of ter­rain and near­by towns, etc.
  • The Crazy Guy On A Bike web­site. Although there’s been a lot of con­tro­ver­sy around the owner/producer of this pop­u­lar cycling forum being a bit of a right-wing nut­ter, there remains a great deal of fan­tas­tic infor­ma­tion for cycle tourists of all coun­tries and persuasions.
  • Google search­es of local towns and sights to see along the way.
  • The Bicy­cle­Tour­ing sub­red­dit. Lots of up-to-date and friend­ly infor­ma­tion is to be found if you dig deep enough.

Pho­to of Eif­fel Tow­er by Chris Karidis on Unsplash. Pho­to of bicy­cle on bal­cony by Davyn Ben on Unsplash.

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