This time in a week I will have just landed in Munich, Germany, and will be fudging my way through putting my bike back together after the flight from Australia. It will be the very beginning of my first solo bike tour
So here's my plans set in stone:
1. On the 27th of July I'll fly to Munich with my touring bike, and all my camping gear. I'll ride my bike somewhere, anywhere. I'll hike a trail or 2 in the Dolomites. 6 weeks later I will fly home from Munich.
2. Nope. Nothing else set in stone. Christ, coming from a super planner from way back, this is weird, very very weird! Even when I did the Great Divide MTB Route plus other routes in North America with Shane this time 2 years ago (read about that here), at least we had a goal, where we wanted to get to, a direction. But I keep reminding everyone else to step outside their comfort zone, so I need to drink the koolaid myself!
But there are some bits that will most definitely happen. This includes beer and pretzels in Germany, and red wine, pizza and insalata caprese in Italy. Oh and gelato. Plenty of gelato! Who needs more of a plan that that?
I do have some magnificent maps of 2 marked biking routes totalling 1,700kms, firstly the Via Claudia which will take me south, south to who knows, but it will cross the Alps and into Italy for sure. Then there's the Munich to Venice route. I'll take that one back north. I'll most likely not actually go to Venice, a people-filled city uuuggh! I might follow these routes, but i might find an offshoot that looks fun and take that.
But to keep it simple, I'll just ride my bike really.
This is my first solo bike tour. It's certainly not my first solo travelling experience, I spent most of my 20's solo travelling much of the world. But I was on a 6 figure salary in my 20's. Budget wasn't a massive factor. I have a budget of AUD$50 a day for this one. And from what I can see, campgrounds can cost around $40-$50 a night. Enter wild camping. That's camping in forests, or in an inconspicuous field somewhere. Not entirely legal, yet generally kinda accepted sometimes. I practiced this once a few weeks back out near Ballarat. I felt so naughty, but it was perfectly fine - nothing to worry about. I'm sure Ill get used to it!!
There might be a few challenges going solo...there's no one to check if I have put my handlebars back on my bike the right way (guilty as charged!), I'll be choosing my campsites myself (think trees, water, slope, rocks, hidden-ness, light, wind, animals...blah blah blah!), no-one to wait with the bikes while I quickly duck into the shop, no one to fix anything that doesn't involve a tyre or an allen key (mental note, must pack cable ties!), and no one to be lazy with when I can't be bothered talking to strangers!
But far outweighing the challenges, there's so much to get excited about doing this solo. Doing exactly what I want, when I want. If its raining, I might stay in my tent. If I meet a local who tells me there's awesome gelato off my route, I can just go. If I feel like only doing 20kms today I can. If I'm feeling good and want to smash out 100kms I can (pffft who am I kidding!). And if I want to catch a train to another cool place, I will. I also understand there's plenty of bike tourers around at this time of year, so I'm guaranteed to make plenty of new friends (And its much easier meeting people when you are solo)!
But between now and then, I have a ton to get done....plenty of work (though Ill be doing bits and pieces while I'm away), and sourcing last minute stuff. And readying my bike, and all its attachments. I'll chuck up a gear list in the next few days!
Want to follow along?