Communication on the road

As most of you know, we are not from the same country and do thus not share the same mother-language. The most received question to us has always been – and still is: ‘in which language do you communicate together?’ In the first years our answer was: English, now our answer is: a mix of English, Dutch and German. Which is bad, we know. Over the years we chose our favourite words in each language and use them mixed up all together. We kind of have developed our own language by now. One of the goals of the bike tour is to get this sorted out. But after being on the road for 2 months, it might be a bigger challenge than we first expected…

Communicating on the road is very difficult when you bike behind each other with a distance of at least 2 metres. Besides, wind, rain, cars etc. do influence what you hear as well. Below we have set out a typical conversation on the bike between us both, we often need to scream in order to understand each other (which is therefore written in capital letters). It is quite funny actually, we often end up laughing. Important detail: Oliver bikes in the front 99% of the time, Chloé follows behind with 2-3 meters distance and froggi is often hiding in one of the bike bags.

(Luckily, we do have some more interesting conversations during the rest of our days when we are not sitting in our bike seats.)

A typical conversation on the bike:

Oliver (NL-EN-DE): ‘Heb je die church gezien? War super schön!’

{Did you see that church? Looked very nice!}

Chloé (NL): ‘Hè wat???‘

{What???}

Oliver (EN): ‘That church looked nice!’

Chloé (DE-EN): ‘ICH VERSTEH GAR NICHTS! WHICH LANGUAGE?‘

{I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING! WHICH LANGUAGE?}

Oliver (EN): ‘…NICE CHURCH!‘

Chloé (EN): ‘Oh I did not see it’

Oliver (EN): ‘HOW COULD YOU MISS THAT?’

Chloé (NL): ‘Ik was aan het dromen’

{I was dreaming}

Oliver (NL): ‘De bomen?’

{Trees?}

Chloé (NL): ‘DROMEN’

{DREAMING}

Oliver (DE): ‘Achsooo… schon wieder…?!’

{Ahhh again?!}

froggi (EN): ‘oh… these two… I’ll buy them a walky-talky for Christmas… 😉’

Towards Wales – a green fairytale

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.  

Our latest blog post has been a while ago, which basically means that we are fully enjoying our freedom. It is difficult to start writing this blog, as so much has happened in the past 1.5 month! So let’s just start where we stopped. After our break in Hertford we continued our way towards the South-West part of England. We passed Cambridge and drove slowly through typical English landscapes for several days. The city of Bath was a nice in-between stop, although cities are quite overwhelming for us after spending most of the time in nature. So as a result, we only spend one afternoon in the city, which was more than enough in our opinion 😉. We did post some photos of this part of our journey on Instagram already, please see the posts below:

From our friend’s place in Taunton we decided to do a small trip with less luggage towards the Jurassic Coast. (Mainly to avoid the crowd in Wales during the Queens Jubilee-weekend). The first two days were beautiful, the coast was very hilly, thus quite challenging as we were still at the beginning of our tour. As we are two different people, we both have a different approach of going up a hill. If it’s steep, Chloé prefers to go a few hundred metres and then take a 30-second break in between. Oliver goes up to the top of the hill and then takes a break until Chloé reached the top (usually 2 minutes after). Even if it was hard sometimes, we very much enjoyed it. In the town Beer (proost!) we got a random piece of grass assigned at the campsite as it was actually booked out. But in our opinion this was the best spot of the whole campsite and we got it for a reduced price, so: win-win for us!

After the campsite in Beer we slept at a Warmshowers host in Topsham wherewith we had a great time. We went to the pub ‘The Bridge’ which is the only pub the Queen of England ever visited. Unfortunately, Oliver got sick here, which made us stay a little longer at our host. But we could not stay much longer as Oliver his insuline need (Diabetis type 1) is much higher when he is sick, and the additional insuline was in our friend’s fridge in Taunton. We were forced to take a train, which felt wrong in many ways, but it was our only solution. Oliver did spend two more days in bed, after we continued our way. As we feared, Chloé got sick two days later – resulting in staying 3 nights at the same fishing campsite, which was not that great. During this sick-campsite-stay, we of course missed our own bed and the local supermarket near our home. But this is also part of travelling for a longer time. When Chloé was better as well, we finally headed towards Wales. Something we will never forget was Chloé her 360 degrees turn (on the ground – not through the air) while breaking in moss on a steep downhill road (never again!). Happy that we survived with only a high heartbeat of the fear… We captured the last hundreds of kilometres in the following post:

Wales was even more beautiful than we expected. So much green, and so many different variants of it! Just incredible. We did a hike in the Brecon Beacons nationalpark and Snowdonia nationalpark. The days after these hikes we continued biking further, where twice we learned that during hiking (especially up mountains), you use different muscles compared to cycling. Resulting in cycling with bad (read: very bad) muscle pain. We captured Wales in some amazing photos, which we posted already:

As this was more of an update blog, combined with previous Instagram posts (for the people who do not have Instagram 😉), we will post a more fun blog describing our communication on the bike (not so easy!) next up. Soon a specific post will also be dedicated to how generous and kind people are. Another idea is to write about our new ‘daily-life’ and the small things in life you appreciate while touring. We will try to post this a little sooner than in 1.5 months, promised!

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

Greetings, Groetjes, Liebe Grüße, Bisous,

Chloé & Oliver

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