Showing posts from August, 2017

#7Countries7Passes Day 4 - Long Day Out

Marti and I set out together this morning, routed towards Villingen, I was just going to see how far I could get towards the target.

Aside from some gentle drizzle, and some unexpected road works, the first 50km went smoothly. Then Marti turned back towards Fulda.

I continued on into the afternoon, and despite rather slow progress, managed to make it to Heilbronn, my rough target, by about 20:00.

Having got too close to the northern side of the city, camping spots soon thinned out, so I made the call to head through to the other side and try my luck on the southern perimeter.

It was 22:00 by the time I set up camp in a sweetcorn field just south of Heilbronn (the city was larger than I had expected, so took some time to cross).

A long day in the saddle.

#7Countries7Passes Day 3 - Detours and Delays

Today's ride seemed to take a while to get underway. A delayed start, delays with some GPS problems, and then heavy legs.

Things didn't accelerate when I hit the hills, and headwind; and I had barely covered 85km by noon.

Then I decided after the kind offer of a bed for the night, from GripGrab's Marti, that I would divert to Fulda, from my planned route.

The Wahoo improvised route led me to believe this would be 175km, taking me to 245km for the day. That would have been doable. Unfortunately, the reality was a bit further...

The wahoo route took me on no end of gravel tracks; on the straightest possible line. My true route would be a lot further.

By 21:00 I still had 45km to go, and was on a busy main road. Marti came out to meet me, for the last 30km, and guided me onto safer roads into Fulda.

I was incredibly grateful for a warm meal and good bed.

New route to Villengen planned, the next two days will hopefully be faster.

#7Countries7Passes Day 2 - An Introduction to Germany

Today's ride provided plenty of variety; from the Baltic coast, to the deep forest around Hamburg; then on into the lowlands of Hannover.

Up with the sun, I was on the road at dawn. Through quiet and deserted Baltic beach resorts, before heading southwards in-land.

The majority of the day was spent pedalling through endless forests, open farmland, and small smart little German towns.

A quick lunch stop at a bakery, and another mid-afternoon stop to make some sandwiches kept me fuelled.

By late evening, I was 150 kilometres in, and searching for a campsite just north of Hannover. Unable to find anywhere though, I made the call to push on through the city and try my luck the other side.

Unfortunately, by the time I had navigated the complex (but stunning) bike paths out of the Hannover forest, it was properly late and dark.

I found a few possible spots to pitch the tent, but then discovered them to be swampy and infested with mosquitoes. I pushed on again.

At about 21:45, I was sto…

#7Countries7Passes Day 1 - Bike Paths, Bridges and Bakeries

We rolled out from Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen at 8am this morning. The sun glistened on the fjord, as the rush hour traffic filed into the city.

Skirting down bike paths, Peter (Marketing Manager at GripGrab) and I were soon out of the thrum of the city, and into the deserted countryside.

Flat roads were a welcome start for first day legs, and we enjoyed heading along the coast at a gentle pace.

Kilometres ticked by, and at the 55 mark we met up with Martin for a few more photos.

Then, after saying farewells and thanks for a fantastic weekend, we parted ways.

By lunchtime I had reached the town of Vordingborg, and treated myself to one last Danish pastry and coffee.

As I headed into the archipelago of islands that composes southern Denmark, the bridges and long straight roads grew in number.

Head down, fuelled by caffeine and sugar, I pushed on into the afternoon.

By 16:00 I had made the Rodbyhaven ferry, and boarded to leave Denmark in my wake. Good memories.

On arriving in Germany,…

The Hansen's Cykelløb - Ice Cream, Gravel and Good Friends

Good friends, great ice cream and gravel adventures. The Hansen's Cykelløb was a unique and special Danish experience, with the fantastic team from GripGrab.

Riding your bike should be fun, revitalising and memorable . It should bring excitement, adventure and reward, in equal measure. A gravel ride in the Danish countryside; with ice cream, fresh coffee and great company, sounded like the perfect warm-up ride before my #7Countries7Passes tour.

A Danish celebration Hansen's are one of Denmark's most famous ice cream producers; creating beautiful fresh dairy ice cream, from the local herds of cattle that graze on the country's fertile grasslands.

The Cykelløb highlights Hansen's love of the Danish countryside, and of their prized ice-cream. 130 kilometres of gravel tracks; taking you through the green pastures just north of Copenhagen. With fuel stops featuring fresh 'Hansen's Ice', coffee, Danish sandwiches, and plenty of friendly conversation.

This is…

#7Countries7Passes - The final preparation

Copenhagen to Andorra, via some of the highest mountain passes in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France. 3,000 kilometres. 50,000 metres of climbing. The #7Countries7Passes tour is imminent.

The bike is packed, the kit list is finalised, and the route is plotted on the map. My approaching departure from the Danish capital of Copenhagen, will mark the start of my longest and hardest bike tour to date.

The Route My route plans have been tweaked and modified over the last few months, but here is the current (still changeable) plan:

Checkpoints/Passes/HighlightsStart: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen (Denmark)Checkpoint 1: Villingen (Germany)Pass 1: Hochtannbergpass (1675m) (Austria)Pass 2: Timmelsjoch (2474m) (Italy)Checkpoint 2: Merano (Italy)Pass 3: Stelvio Pass (2757m) (Switzerland)Pass 4: Col de Montgenèvre (1854m) (France)Pass 5: Mont Ventoux (1911m) (France)Checkpoint 3: The ‘Cycling House’ (France)Pass 6: Col de Pailhères (2001m) (France)Pass 7 (Finish): Port d'Envalira (…

Review - LedLenser MT10 Handheld Torch

The range of handheld and head torches from LedLenser are market-leading, in terms of quality, technology and performance. The MT10 handheld torch is one of their latest releases, aimed at the outdoor adventurer looking for a compact and powerful handheld torch.

It might seem odd that I am featuring a handheld torch on Life In The Saddle, given that it doesn't come with bike-light attachments. The reasoning is that with a little adapting, this could be a superb bike light or helmet light; equally, as it stands it is a great light to use for camping, touring and adventuring - all things that many cyclists enjoy.

Meet the M10 The M10 is the mid-range handheld torch in the LedLenser Outdoor line-up.

The unit has a 1,000 lumen max light output, which lasts for 6 hours. On the low power efficiency setting the light has an incredible 144 hours burn time.

Clever lighting technology The beam on the LedLenser M10 has an adjustable focus; so you can pinpoint in on an area a long distance a…

Gearing Up - #7Countries7Passes - The Kit Selection

As the time of the Grand Depart on the #7Countries7Passes tour approaches, this is the kit that has made my final selection for the 3,000 kilometre journey from Copenhagen to Andorra.

Read more about the #7Countries7Passes trip here

Below I have linked through to the product that I will be using, where possible; so that you can find more detail about the items selected.

If any of the kit changes between now and the departure, I will update the below lists (and eventually photos) to reflect the change.

The Kona Rove Ti First up, the bike. The Kona Rove Titanium.

This bike has already been on some great adventures in 2017, such as the Dirty Reiver Gravel Race.

For the #7Countries7Passes tour this bike has had a bit of a road-orientated overhaul. It includes fitting a Kinesis ATR Disc Fork, rather than the Lauf suspension fork; changing the handlebars and seat post to alloy options (following a crash back in April); altering the gearing for fully-laden touring; plus, a few other tweaks, …