Monday, June 23, 2008

Down, down, down!

I cycled in INDIA!!! From a hill station called Mahabaleshwar, situated about 150 miles outside Mumbai... it was mostly downhill and wasn't that far, buttt it was great to be able to cycle in India!! Rode to a small village near Mahabaleshwar called Wai!

Route (Mahabaleshwar to Wai): down the mountain!

Bike: 22 miles

Monday, June 2, 2008

Trip route

Dublin // Liverpool - Manchester - Sheffield - Nottingham - Leicester - Bedford - Luton - London // Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Antwerp - Brussels - Enghien

Bike: 579 mi / 926 km

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Leaving the bike behind

So having had my schedule delayed due to staying in Belgium an extra day, and still wanting to be in Paris on Sunday, and still not be up for riding long distances (ahhhh!!!! how horrible!!!), I decided to take the train from Mons to Paris. Yes, a horrible horrible thought. So I get to the train station, only to discover that they don't allow bikes on the train I had to take-- WHAT?! This to me sounded absurd and strange. Absurdly strange. So now what was I to do?!

So the decision was made that I would leave my bike with Austin... and I started traveling without my bike.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Not feeling it

Brussels to Enghien

I find it to be a lot easier to ride with minimal rest days... Biking through England, I basically was riding everyday. But since I've gotten to mainland Europe, I've been having a rest day pretty much every other day. I actually think it makes it more difficult, because I get out of the mindset of riding. And so yet again, after not having ridden in three days, I was not really in the mindset...

So I ended up being rescued by Austin by car in a city about 15 miles from his place.

Route (Brussels to Enghien): N8 / N285

Bike: 22 miles

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Simple enough

Antwerp to Brussels

I was able to ride to Brussels with relative ease... well, except for when I got into the city itself.

Route (Antwerp to Brussels): N1

Bike: 38 miles

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wayyy more mileage than necessary

Rotterdam to Antwerp

Well let's see. What should have been a 60 mile ride turns into a 90 mile ride. Am I really surprised. Not really.

Getting out of the Netherlands was relatively easy. There were bike path signs leading all the way to Belgium. Even to Breda, which is a city a little before Belgium in the Netherlands.

Oh, and it definitely started pouring basically once I got into Belgium. I didn't want to be as wet and cold as I was during my ride to Luton in England, so I decided to give my poncho a try. And it actually worked out well. I wasn't sure what it'd be like wearing a pancho while riding, so I didn't use it during my ride to Luton. But now that I know it really doesn't interfere with riding (besides minimal wind resistance), I will not hesistate to use my poncho in the future!

Anyway, so the hard rain lasted for about an hour (actually I have no idea because I have no sense of time when I'm riding... or ever haha), and then it let up and the sun came out.

So I made it to Breda, and there, as far as I could tell, the bike path signs that were so helpful abruptly disappeared. Oh! And I came across a street named after JFK--how random! Anyway, so in Breda, I started using my compass. Unlike when I used my compass to get to Rotterdam, the roads to Antwerp didn't always go in the direction I wanted it to. So I ended up going too far east, and then figured out a road that went southwest (or maybe just west, I don't remember) to get me on a road that went straight down south to Antwerp... or something like that. That probably didn't make sense anyway haha. Oh, and I passed through a street carnival (in a city I shouldn't have even been going through). One of the rides was called "American bump cars." With an American flag. But I liked how they distinguished bumper cars as being American haha.

Anyway, so eventually I found my way to Antwerp.

Route (Rotterdam to Antwerp): followed bike paths signs to Breda, then used compass

Bike: 91 miles

Friday, May 23, 2008

Only a compass to guide my way

I did a rail and sail thing. Rail to Harwich (east England), sail to Hook of Holland via overnight ferry, rail again to Amsterdam in the morning. Stayed in Amsterdam for a couple of days.

Amsterdam to Rotterdam

It took me over an hour to get out of Amsterdam. Of course I started using my google map directions, but when that failed, I resorted to plan B, which was to just start heading south using my compass. There were occasionally signs pointing to different cities, and had I known what cities were between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the signs may have been a little bit of a help. (I really need to replace my lost map.) But instead, I just kept heading south and southwest, in (what I thought was) the general direction of Rotterdam.

I came across a sign pointing to Utrecht, and started going in that direction because I thought maybe somehow it could work out going that way... but then texted Dinja to have her confirm my suspicion that Utrecht is much further east than I want to be. Rotterdam is more southwest of Amsterdam. East would be in a completely wrong direction. So then at the next possible intersection, I started heading in a different direction. This took me to more of the countryside and back roads.

I just kept looking at my compass and riding either south or southwest, just hoping I would end up in the right general direction.

Eventally, I found out what city I was in by asking someone on the street and went into a bookstore to look at a map. I was going in the right direction, YAY! After that all I had to do was follow bike path signs to Gouda and Rotterdam! Yes, it was wonderful, there are signs specific to bike paths leading to various cities.

So I was able to make it to Rotterdam!

It actually turned out to be a good thing I didn't follow my directions. Or else I wouldn't have had as scenic of a route as I did. Lots of open fields, lots of canals, lots of residential areas I passed through.

Oh, and I had my first incident of a bug flying into my mouth while riding. And I swallowed it. SICK!!!!!

Route (Amsterdam to Rotterdam): following bike paths going south/southwest

Bike: 59 miles

Bike around Amsterdam throughout stay: 17 miles