The EV15 could be easily recommended as introduction to bicycle touring. The route is mostly flat, well marked and near services at all times. If you start from Chur as I did, it can be done pretty much with any kind of a bike, since you wouldn’t have to climb up the big alpine passes in the beginning – I wouldn’t try them with a s/s.
Until this trip I had only rode a one century in my life, but on this tour, most of the days I made it well past a 100km. With a nice slow pace you can keep on going for longer and not get any muscle soreness. The only thing sore all along the way was my poor bum and I came to the conclusion that the Brooks B17 is too narrow for my big bum and upright riding position. Better get a wider one then. I do enjoy the upright position as it’s easier for the cranky back and there’s not so much neck stretching while enjoying the scenery.
Lot of the times I was probably enjoying the scenery more than having my eyes on the road, but managed to stay alive. The kit was sufficient enough, a kitchen towel worked somewhat well after forgetting my spacetravel-era-tech-towel to the first camp site. For the next time I will of course get the wider saddle, but also change the handlebars and upgrade the gears as there might be some hills, so low gears will be needed. Also, will be looking into SPD sandals, which might be a solution in terms of fitting footwear and riding with clipless pedals.
Kept pretty careful with my budget and so didn’t get to enjoy the local cuisines much and also didn’t have any wine in the end. Wasn’t really the region for my taste, with wine that is. It was a third time in all countries apart from Switzerland where it was my time. Apart from a few dull sections the route kept being enjoyable and interesting to ride and some of the best parts was to ride through the pretty woods and forests in all four countries.
Following the river was a nice way of making the way, but of course a lot of times the route was a bit far away from the river. The thing was, that riding with the river you could see her life from the beginning to the sea. Might have to go back one day to ride the Andermatt – Chur section and visit the source of the river. The trip was also about connecting, being connected and present. Here and now. Not thinking about the past, nor the future. The Rhine, she was very kind and helpful with that.
It was a good time of a year to ride with the weather being mostly very pleasant. There are some quite busy sections and if you’re more into solitude or adventures in the wild, this is not the route to take. But it’s a nice way to see a small part Europe and enjoy some cycling. The whole route can be done in 10 days if you’re ready to ride long days or you can take a month and enjoy many of the nice towns along the way.
I managed to keep below my budget, Germany being very affordable helped with that as did the wild camping nights and tinned lentils. It is possible to sleep in a B&B, hotel etc. all along the way and it is also possible and quite easy to camp in the wild along the way. Hammock camping would not be a problem either, as long as you carry some insulation (underblanket) because it might get cold sleeping in a hammock.
Thank you for Jugi and Dee on encouraging me to write about the trip. Thank you Pelago Bicycles for making beautiful riding riding machines. My poor bike has taken a lot of damage along the way… Thank you for the all kind and nice people along the way and also for the grumpy ones, as it is always a good lesson trying to keep on smiling when meeting grumpy people.
For now – it’s time to enjoy the Netherlands and have some fun.
Der Rhein, danke schön. Le Rhin, merci beaucoup.