The start of our EU biketour – two weeks on the road

NL: Hallo lieve allemaal, indien jullie onderstaande post graag in het Nederlands willen lezen, probeer deze dan te vertalen via https://www.deepl.com/translator.  

DE: Hallo zusammen, wenn ihr den folgenden Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen wollt, versucht ihn bitte über https://www.deepl.com/translator zu übersetzen. 

FR: Coucou à tous, si vous souhaitez lire le post ci-dessous en Français, veuillez essayer de le traduire via https://www.deepl.com/translator.   

Hello to all of you who are following our EU cycling tour! Thank you for all your kind messages during the past days; asking how we are, how it is going, how the legs feel, if we had rain already… All very much appreciated! Hereby an answer to all your questions in our first blog. We are trying to upload photos a little bit more regularly on our Instagram page: froggiandco, so please follow us there as well if you are interested! We log our route within Komoot and try to show the overview of what we cycled already on the page route, we will inform you once it’s online.  

We are currently (day 14) in Hertford (UK) for a break after spending the first two weeks on the road. As Oliver lived here for several months during his PhD, we are visiting some old colleagues/friends of him and ‘work’ a little bit on our photos, the website, and our bikes. Within the first two weeks we drove a little more than 400 kilometres within the Netherlands and England. We are very happy with how everything is going and so glad we took the decision and courage to leave on this trip!

In the Netherlands our pace was relatively relaxed, we did approximately 30 kilometres per day. Up until the start of our tour, we did both never bike with so much luggage before, but it bikes easier than we expected. (Fun fact: Oliver’s bike & luggage ≈ 60 kg, Chloé’s bike & luggage ≈ 50 kg). Although the Dutch landscape is rather familiar to us (in summary: flat, grass and cows), we very much enjoyed cycling here the first four days of our tour. Cycling along the Dutch coast and through the dunes was great – for our Dutch friends and family; you should cycle there once, highly recommended! We slept at friends’ places (between lambs and chickens), had our first (very nice) Warmshowers experience (Fun fact: the Warmshowers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists) and stayed at a very small camping (the camping was great – after enjoying an amazing sunset we went to bed; however, we did not sleep until rather late while the neighbour farmer had its ‘party of the year’ resulting in froggi dancing in the tent all night long…).

On Sunday the 8th of May (day 5) we cycled from the camping in Schipluiden to the ferry harbour in Hoek van Holland. After some last food shopping at the local Lidl, we entered the harbour area. Passport control (later we learned that this is not the only effect of the Brexit…) went rather quick and we could enter the ferry relatively early. Parking the bikes and all the luggage in the bike-parking area took some time. The ferry drive went smooth, the weather was perfect for taking photos and we enjoyed the view. We felt like the adventure really starts now, as England would be the first foreign country on the tour. Unfortunately, a cargo ship in the harbour of Harwich (do not pronounce the W!) delayed our arrival. Therefore, we arrived at a small campsite behind a pub in the dark. We quickly ate some potatoes with a dip (not worth sharing the recipe on our food page…) in the tent and then fell asleep (it was our first very cold night – however it did not really bother us).

Cycling in England is something else, although this country also has grass and cows, it is definitely not flat! Besides, cycle paths are existing, but can stop out of nowhere without a sign. You will then suddenly find yourself cycling on the road, it’s a bit like if the infrastructure department see cycle paths as the runway lane for airplanes, although we do not fly away after the first 500 meters of cycling… However, cars are very supportive so far, they take good distance and sometimes they horn to greet us (which often comes as a surprise as we are dreaming away). People in England are extremely friendly so far; providing fresh drink water, spontaneously letting us sleep in the garden, cycling with us and ‘pulling’ us over the hills, let us join a pizza-dinner birthday, getting many questions out of interest, offering tea/food, street workers let us cycle on a closed road, offering to sleep at peoples’ places (we even got offered to stay in someones house in Spain!). Our first Warmshowers hosts in the UK (Deborrah and Steven) cooked for us, we shared cycle touring experiences, had interesting talks and we went to the local pub in the village together – where we met the pub owners and a group of scouts. Besides the nice experiences mentioned above, we currently have already approx. 10 phone numbers of people mentioning we should call them when we are in an emergency in the UK. ‘You need some parents in England as well… but do not call us when you have a flat tire!’.

When people think of England, the first things which pop-up are: fish & chips, rain, green landscapes, scones, tea, double-deck busses etc. We have seen/enjoyed all of this already, although the fish & chips were minus the fish and plus onion rings. About the rain, oh yes, we did experience some rain already, even if it was only 1 day out of the 14 so far, the sky gave us heavy rain on day 8. All our equipment showed to be waterproof – except for Chloé’s rain pants. Besides, next time we should probably not forget to put our rain shoe covers on… Rain does bring new situations, now resulting in us having lunch in the middle of a swimming pool / sports centre hallway (we were dry, joohoo!). The positive result of the rain were the even greener landscapes! You just see the trees and plants being happy afterwards. England is really as green as Chloé’s ‘british green’ bike colour; or as froggi prefers to call it: froggi green.

As this all sounds very nice, we do also want to share one last experience with you which was less great (in the end quite funny though). Oliver and Chloé’s faces became also ‘froggi green’ from the shaking of our whole bodies during the specific 2 hours which we want to highlight. On day 10 we decided to not cycle on a B-road (yellow coloured car road with a speed of usually 30-mph to 40-mph) but cycling over some smaller roads. We put it in Komoot (our navigation app) and started our way. Our first trigger should have been a closed gate near a farm, which we needed to pass according to our route. It was locked, but Oliver tried the usual standard ‘0000’ and it worked. The first part of this path was asphalt, after it became very stony. As we continued, the stones became bigger and bigger. We, the bikes and all the bags, got shaked very well. At the end (luckily) of the stony path Oliver his back tire got flat. While it was quite windy, we unpacked our tools bag and started fixing the bike (making sure nothing would fly away). With the back tire fixed, we continued our way and ended up (no joke) in someone’s garden surrounded with fences/gates and a big sign ‘please be aware of the dogs’. Luckily there were no dogs around, but in the first moment, also no people… As we were standing there, a farm worker came from the field. He could open the gate for us, and we left the private property without much hassle (thank you farmer boy!). These 10 kilometres would have taken 30 minutes on the B-road, but instead took 2.5 hours. This is what we call an adventure! And lesson learned for our next detour.

You will hear from us soon,

please leave a message below if you would like to share something with us,

Greetings, Groetjes, Liebe Grüße, Bisous,

Chloé & Oliver

4 thoughts on “The start of our EU biketour – two weeks on the road

  1. Hi Chloé, Hi Oliver, glad to see and hear from you and that everything went and is doing well :)). Discovered that you also have an Instagram account (of course, how could it be otherwise). Think it’s so great that you are doing this and sharing this together. I stay tuned and wish you many more wonderful exciting experiences. If you are in Asturias, Costa Verde, Spain, give my regards to home. Many greetings from Hannover Trinidad

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  2. Hi, wat leuk om jullie eerste avonturen te lezen, en hoe aardig zijn de mensen die jullie ontmoeten. Wie wil er nu geen spare parents! Wij hadden ooit hetzelfde asfalt-stenen-keien-rotsen-lekke band-fietsafladen-avontuur op onze fietsreis door Italië (met als toetje een dubbelgeklapt voorspatbord met duikeling in de berm). Dus als jullie in de buurt van Florence Komen, ook daar zijn dit soort wegen. Stay safe en veel fietsplezier! Groetjes, Wilona

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  3. Bonjour Chloé et Oliver
    Je salue votre courage dans ce beau voyage. Très beau récit Chloé, j ai l’impression de de voyager avec vous.
    A bientôt pour vos nouvelles aventures.
    Bisous

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  4. Liebe Froggi, Chloé und Oliver!

    Zu Eurer wunderbaren, abenteuerlichen Reise fällt mir zuerst ein:

    „Man reist nicht nur, um anzukommen, sondern vor allem, um unterwegs zu sein!“

    Goethe

    und:

    „Vagabondage ist Befreiung, und das Reiseleben
 auf allen Straßen ist Freiheit.“

    Isabelle Eberhardt, Weltreisende, Reiseschriftstellerin

    Ich gebe schon zu das ich ein wenig neidisch auf Euch bin…

    wünsche Euch alle Zeit ausreichend Sonne in den Speichen ! 🙂

    Liebe Grüße
    Carsten, Hameln

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