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Crossing Europe by Bike: Richard's bicycle tours across Europe

Over the past four years Richard Resch from Austria has cycled several of the EuroVelo Routes. He has published illustrated books based on his travels, including his most recent trip from Scotland to Athens on the EuroVelo Routes 6,12, 5 and 8. In the following interview, we ask Richard about his travels and the experiences he had during his journeys to date.

EuroVelo: Your last cycling trip led you from Scotland to Athens. Why did you decide to cycle this particular itinerary and which EuroVelo Routes did you use?

R.Resch: I started my cycling adventures by cycling across Austria in 2011. In the years 2013/14, I cycled EuroVelo 6 - Atlantic-Black Sea.This experience of cycling from the Atlantic to the Centre of Europe to the edge of the Black Sea, was complemented by a cycling trip from the North to the South of the “old continent”. The aim of this trip, was to discover the different people, cultures and landscapes along the EuroVelo network and to document them.

For my cycle trip from Orkney Islands to Athens, I firstly cycled the EuroVelo 12- North Sea Cycle Route. From Calais to Brindisi, we when followed mainly the EuroVelo 5 - Via Romea (Francigena). From Tirana to Athens, I mainly followed the EuroVelo 8- Mediterranean Route, except for the last section from Patras-Delphi and Theben to Athens.

 

Good preparation is essential for such long bike trips! How much time did you spend on the preparation process? Do you have any tips for the other cyclists?

Of course it takes some time to prepare long cycle trips. Due to the fact that I’m still working, I don’t have the time to cycle the routes from beginning to the end. Therefore, I selected logical sections which I combined with airplane flights and train rides.

I started with daily stage planning of 100 km. I also took into account rest days, as well as possible accommodation and attractive stopovers.

After this I planned the route in more detail with more detailed maps (mostly with the scale 1: 150.000) and with the help of certain websites (mainly eurovelo.com and bikemap.net). I used maps which I developed on the basis of the information I obtained on these websites and complemented them with Google Maps for more complicated town entrances and exits or other difficult sections.

However, I am still a bit inexperienced with this and actually prefer to have all the necessary maps in front of me, on the handlebars, while cycling. If available, I also like to use regional maps.

 

 

 

What were your best experiences during your cycling trip? Did you have any negative experiences?

Long and empty coast lines,comfortable riverside cycle paths along the Rhine or the Tiber and various Unesco-world heritage sites surrounded by diverse European landscapes, marked my trip from the north to the south of Europe. A few of my favorite memories are: the Scottish West Coast, the crossing of the St. Gotthard Pass and the trip from Bergamo to the Floating Piers of Christo at the Lake Iseo in 2016. Tiring but at the same time also very rewarding is the crossing of the Apennines between Bologna and Firenze, cycling in the Trulli-Region in Apulia or the long drive to Delphi. I didn’t really have any negative experiences.Of course you might come across some sections in which you’ll have to cycle through towns or on busy rural roads with narrow hard shoulders on such a trip. At one point during our trip we also ran out of water (on an empty, four-lane highway!) in southern Italy.


What inspired you to publish the book “Crossing Europe by bike”?

After publishing two illustrated books with selected panoramas and viewpoints, I focused in my most recent book on the personal contacts and encounters, which I had on my cycle tours. Many of the pictures capture short observations, eye contacts and very spontaneous shots. Some pictures are dedicated to the heroes and victims along the way.


Do you already have plans for another project? Which EuroVelo Route would you like to discover next?

Of course I do! I am already planning and implementing my next big project - cycling along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg. In May, I started cycling from Santiago de Compostela along the Camino del Norte to San Sebastian-Donostia. Another section I’ve already cycled is the EuroVelo 1 - Atlantic Coast Route in France from Biarritz to Mont Saint Michel. So i have made a start but there is still plenty more to do! 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, please visit Richard’s blog.

You can have a look at his illustrated books, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Richard Resch