Planning The #RoadsFromRome Tour

The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrim route running from Canterbury to the Vatican, on gravel paths and minor roads. It traverses Europe, and takes in some of the most spectacular landscapes en-route. This historic path is the inspiration for my latest bikepacking adventure… the #RoadsFromRome tour.


The Route

Rather than start from Canterbury, I have opted to make this a 'Long Way Home' ride: flying out to Rome, and then riding back across Europe. It makes more sense logistically, and is also an opportunity to see some familiar roads from the #7Countries7Passes, but from the opposite direction.

Starting from Rome, I will ride out on the newly signposted EuroVelo5 route, which traces the Via Francigena. The gravel roads soon turn into Strade Bianche, as the path heads into Tuscany and through the historic cities of Sienna and Luca. This is a region of Italy that I have been longing to explore after riding the Strade Bianche Grand Fondo last year.

From Tuscany, the EV5 continues northwards, until I part ways with it at Parma, and head towards Lombardy. This is another part of Italy that I have been excited to explore after riding there on the 2016 X-Bionic Cup.

Heading into the italian mountains, I reach new roads and new passes. The first notable mountain road is the Madonna di Campiglio, and then the Monte Lucco, which take me up and over from Lombardy to South Tyrol, where I will take a rest day in one of my favourite towns in Europe - Merano.

After a day in Merano, I take a new road out of Italy, on the lesser-known Timmelsjoch pass into the Austrian Alps.

Austria will bring new challenges, and a new country for me to explore. The mountainous route towards Germany includes the epic high-roads of Timmelsjoch, Hahntennjoch, Simmel, and Schwarzenberg; these are all lesser known passes, but all promise to be incredibly beautiful and challenging.

Skirting up the northern side of Lake Constance, I will head for a comfortable night at my sister's house in Villingen in Germany, and a second rest day to spend with my newborn nephew. Bike touring is a superb way to visit family and friends.

From there, I push northwards through the Black Forest, Western Germany and Belgium. My final 'checkpoint' is with family in Veenendal in Holland; another country that I have yet to really explore by bicycle.

After a day with my Dutch relatives I will jump on an overnight ferry to Harwich, before making a mammoth 300 kilometre final day down to Portsmouth, and home to the Isle of Wight.

Six countries. 2500 kilometres. 33,000 metres of elevation gain.

Gravel roads. Alpine passes. Back-road explorations. The road less travelled, from Italy to Britain; this will undoubtedly be a beautiful and challenging adventure.

Via Francigena
Tuscany - The Via Francigena


Timmelsjoch
Austria - Timmelsjoch Pass


The Black Forest Germany
The Black Forest Germany


The Netherlands cycle
The Netherlands



Kit Selection


I have yet to finalise my full kit selection for this late summer tour, but in time I will reveal the bike, clothing, camping equipment, and riding accessories that I will take on this unsupported trans-Europe adventure.

The choice of bike and equipment will take inspiration from my previous long distance tours, such as the #CoastsandCols and #7Countries7Passes. It will need to strike the delicate balance between lightweight and durable, and it will also need to be able to handle the gravel road sections of this ride.

More to be revealed very soon…



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