Departure day looms…..

If you have already read the contents of this post elsewhere, I do apologize. It’s one of the penalties of the multi-media age.

Kimbolton to Istanbul is a total distance of 3000kms/2000 miles, passing through Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and into Turkey. 
With each long cycle journey I seem to be breaking new ground. This trek will be quite unlike any other journey I’ve done, including the 2 month trek in New Zealand and Australia last year.
Much more than just a bicycle ride, this will include challenges of a different order. My journeys have always been solo and unsupported, but I have come to progressively eschew reliance on home comforts and amenities along the way. My goal has been to travel light, but carry most of what I need along the way, including a small tent.wpid-IMAG0779.jpg  
The challenges I foresee on this journey, quite apart from the daily distances, are as follows:
1. Travelling across Europe, through multiple countries, will expose me to a huge variety of terrain, cultures, languages (including the Cyrillic alphabet) and dietary expectations.
2. There will be a lot of mountainous terrain, especially in southern Germany, Austria, Serbia and Bulgaria.
3. I will always try to pitch my tent in an available campsite, otherwise I will have to seek permission from property owners or, as a last resort, wild camp. But the one ‘luxury’ I do appreciate at the end of every day is a warm shower.
4. As I move from western to eastern Europe (and into Turkey), I will expect the travelling infrastructure and amenities to be less reliable. Stages of travel will have to be carefully planned.
5. The presence of unfettered dogs in eastern Europe, and especially Turkey, is well known in the world of trekking cyclists. They look on foreigners as ‘fresh meat’……. This is when you realise that bicycle pumps have more than one use! 
But on May 6th I will set off with great optimism and expectation. The first day of my journey will be to cycle the 100 miles to Harwich, where I will board the ferry to the Hook of Holland.

The loaded bike

The loaded bike

If you have already sponsored me, this post serves merely as an update, and I once again thank you sincerely for your support.
If you would like to sponsor me, and support Motivation in their important work in the developing world, please click on my Justgiving page.  £140 ($240) will sponsor a complete wheelchair…….but whatever you can afford will be gratefully received and will be a blessing to the charity.
Thank you for your support. Do please accompany me on my journey by subscribing to this blog (see link top right), and if you feel inspired, please leave comments at the end of my posts. Yours might be the only company I have on the remoter stretches of this journey.

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on May 2, 2014, in Kimbolton to Istanbul 4000kms: a crusader's route and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Good luck! Will be following you along the way.
    Must say you travel light. How in the world do you get all of your gear in the one bag under the saddle?

    • …..simple really, by leaving all those ‘just-in-case’ items at home, and making sure that most of what I do take is multi-use. This always includes an element of risk-taking…..but then that’s what adventure travel is all about.

  2. As for dealing with the dogs, cycling in South America is also a good training ground. We´ve learnt that coming to a complete stop with the bikes makes them stop as well. Throwing or pretending to throw rocks at them is also a good tactic, as is carrying a bambu-horse whip for the stubborn cases.

    • Good advice Alberto. I have acquired a ‘dog-dazer’…..but not yet sure if it works. Some say squirting water from your bottle into the dog’s face also works……..

  3. Best of luck for your travels. I look forward to reading tales of your adventures.

    BTW – I used to think I travelled light but looking at that photo of your fully laden bike, I think I have a lot to learn.

    • ….it’s the result of many years of ‘study’ and experimentation. Sometimes the ‘just-in-case’ items would come in handy…..but on balance, it’s still better to leave as many of them at home as you can.

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