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  • Bike tourers – Where in Europe in October?
  • matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Plans are afoot between mrs_oab and I about an autumnal tour, inspired by a friend’s jaunt to Portugal a few weeks ago. We could do 10 days or so, second week of October 2023.

    Suggestions for reliably dry places, we would take this over heat.
    We love autumnal forest colour, but also the sea.
    We won’t cycle every day – the plan would be to ‘pootle’, perhaps stay in places a full day, use the train to connect up either long days or less interesting bits.
    We don’t mind hills, but nothing too silly.
    In an ideal world I would avoid flying – and we live in Scotland.
    we would be in B&B/Hotel/self catering.

    *If* the Rosyth ferry restarts as is being negotiated for 2023, then southern Germany seems very possible on train and should be OK weather wise – thinking something like Basel to Augsberg, along alps and up the Romantic Road.

    If not, mrs_oab has always wanted to go (and I promised her) Florence after she saw Room with a View. This could be combined with some trains to head from Bologna to Rome or Rimini, via Florence.

    Where else?
    Anyone else do ‘pootling’ by bike rather than 100km a day?

    tjagain
    Full Member

    very much a pootler here. I averaged about 75km / day.

    One of the south coast of England ferries to northern Spain? Aim for the Portuguese coast? Trains are available from Santander to Portugal but its a long journey maybe 3 days each way from your house to Portugal

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Camino del Norte can be nice in Oct .
    You could make the train trips and ferry crossing part of the holiday.
    That’s what we are doing next year.

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    If you are thinking Basel / Southern Germany, get it touch nearer the time…. We are 30 mins from Basel.

    Otherwise…. October. Sea, quiet and good pootleness. Croatia.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    very much a pootler here. I averaged about 75km / day.

    You do have fully working lungs and no immune deficiency though, something mrs_oab contends with. We would do upto 75km in a day – but would need to plan a ‘zero’ day, and have it as a bit of a ‘one off’. I think this is where the route is important – not too far or too many hills, but a bit of a stretch. This also is where trains may come in – we could train to a point then cycle the rest of the day etc.

    October. Sea, quiet and good pootleness. Croatia.

    hmmmm, I hadn’t though of that.

    We are 30 mins from Basel.

    So what is October like weather wise? As long as it is somewhat drier and warmer than Scotland, we are good!

    Camino del Norte can be nice in Oct .

    We walked and cycled a couple of bits this summer – nice, and would work, a tad hilly. I was wondering if further inland and south would be better.

    tjagain
    Full Member

    The greenways on old railway lines in Spain are very nice to ride. Quite a good network and gradual slopes. You can ride from Santander on them

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    So what is October like weather wise? As long as it is somewhat drier and warmer than Scotland, we are good!

    Well, this year is was as mad warm as most places and dry…. another option would be a Rhine / Danube / Vlatava tour. Think of a river as a very long and thin sea and accompanying paths are usually flatish. Then add in the hop across countries for the culture vibe. Also for some, you can hop on a boat for a zero pedal day and accommodation is often pitched at river tourists…. Travel to and from could be done by train…

    w00dster
    Full Member

    Family have just done a tour from near Geneve, down towards Nice, along the coast, through the Pyrenees and up the coast on the other side. They’re actually still going, doing a full circuit.
    Weather has been outstanding. I was down in Aix-en-Provence myself in October and no rain, most days it was about 22 to 25 degrees with sun. Trains are very easy. Loads of long distance dedicated cycle ways.
    Geneve to Marseille as an example, very large portions of this is on a dedicated cycleway.
    Hotels and B&B’s are used to catering for touring cyclists, I’ve never had any issues with storing my bike securely.
    Loads of historic towns and cities to visit.

    TomB
    Full Member

    Less driving, Newcastle-Amsterdam ferry and lots of pan European train routes from there. Its a great way to arrive in Europe.

    mert
    Free Member

    Dad used to live north of Toulouse (Montauban) and used to enjoy riding round there. Undulating rather than hilly i think. (i never visited as we weren’t exactly on sparkling terms back then!)

    IHN
    Full Member

    https://www.cycling-lavelodyssee.com/

    Not all of it, obvs, but emminently pootleable, just pick a section

    slackboy
    Full Member

    Checking in as I’m thinking of something similar next year – currently looking at eurovelo 2 from rotterdam/amsterdam to berlin and getting the train back. thats 500 miles – so  doable in 10 days at pootling pace but with plenty of point to point train options  to cut the route down if necessary.

    ElShalimo
    Free Member

    The weather in October is notoriously variable across Europe but the Dordogne is usually pretty decent. I would rule out Atlantic or Baltic  coastlines due to the frequent winds. You cold get lucky but wind is usually the main enemy of cycling.

    Have you considered a Rhine, Loire or Danube style river cycle-tour?

    ocrider
    Full Member

    For pootling, Bordeaux to Narbonne via Toulouse along the canal des deux mers fits the bill. There are plenty of towns en route that would merit a day or two stopover.
    The only real problem for you would be the logistics either side.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Have you considered a Rhine, Loire or Danube style river cycle-tour?

    Yes, southern Germany is ‘on the list’. It also seems that (funnily enough) centre of Europe is dominated by continental weather, so tends to be more settled than coast. Particularly on north and west. So central to southern Europe seems best…

    vinnyeh
    Full Member

    as per fasthassis’s post, part of the camino de Santiago- a well trodden pathway (duh), loads of resources, route variations, accommodations, planning tools, company etc.

    Camino Cyclist

    ceept
    Full Member

    In summer there were lots of cyclists following the Loire, with the obvious attraction of vinyards stops on route.

    Perhaps further south for October, but alot of big rivers have fairly flat cyclepaths for many miles (& wine nearby).

    My father in law has cronic CIPD. Using an ebike is a great leveller, allowing him to ride with us. Is there a good reason not to consider an ebike for Mrs_Oab?

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Is there a good reason not to consider an ebike for Mrs_Oab?

    We have tried a few. Money is main barrier. Genuine XS size in a hybrid is another. We will look more into it, and we may have an ebike by then.

    TBF, on a good day she can easily lap north Arran (we did 78km and 1000m of climbing) – but on other days she will be tired at 40km and 300m of climbing. Doing this for multiple days is not ‘fun’, and so finding somewhere we can use mix-mode travel would be ace.

    mogrim
    Full Member

    Camino de Santiago could be pretty wet in October. There’s a reason that part of Spain is so green…

    donald
    Free Member

    Just a word of warning. You can’t fly with an ebike so it’ll limit you in trips further afield.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    A good point – we are planning ‘normal’ bikes anyway.

    fasthaggis
    Full Member

    Camino de Santiago could be pretty wet in October. There’s a reason that part of Spain is so green…

    Been over in a few Octobers,we must have got lucky 😉
    April on the other hand 🙄🙃

    tractionman
    Full Member

    greenways in Spain mentioned above reminded me of this web-site with the various routes detailed and with maps too:

    https://www.viasverdes.com/principal.asp

    https://www.viasverdes.com/mapas.asp

    ElShalimo
    Free Member

    Train to Freiburg, rent an ebike for Mrs then off you go exploring

    Return via train to drop bike off

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    Macedonia is wonderful. Amazing scenery, best wine I have ever had, cheap, brilliant food as well. Worked there for a bit and seem to remember October was still pretty nice. It’s a flying destination.

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    Forgot to say you get amazing autumn colours in Macedonia. It is hilly but not all hilly.

    ton
    Full Member

    october is nearly autumn i reckon.
    we did a drinking tour of holland pre pandemic.
    we are planning a early spring drinking tour of belgium at present.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    🥃😁

    October in Germany must be Oktoberfest too…

    TomB
    Full Member

    There is a cycle path following the danube that we are looking to do as a family. Well known route with hire providers including e bikes, trains could get you to start and back from the end.

    IHN
    Full Member

    October in Germany must be Oktoberfest too…

    Fun fact – it’s in September.

    #evrydayisaschoolday

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    Fun fact – it’s in September.

    #evrydayisaschoolday

    but finishes Oktober 3rd…

    ElShalimo
    Free Member

    …. and then you have the local/State holidays – the Bavarians seem to be very happy throughout Sept/Oct

    donald
    Free Member

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve never toured in October so I can’t really comment on the weather. If I had to guess I’d say you’ll be fine in most places but you could be unlucky. It would be wise to have a wet weather option too.

    If you’re keen to take the train I’d suggest getting the train to Koblenz and hiring bikes there. Then take the train up the Moselle as far as you want and return downstream. Trier is nice. If you have time and energy once you get back to Koblenz then go south down the ‘Romantic Rhine’ as far as Mainz. With even more time to spare get the train from Mainz to Aschaffenburg (perfectly cycleable but less scenic) and the go up the Main as fas as you have time for. You’ll be able to get the train back to Koblenz from anywhare on that route.

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    A possibly crazy concept is in my head.

    3 years ago work took me to Florence, somewhere mrs_oab has wanted to o since seeing room with a view.

    This week I am in Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg – ‘the’ house from Sound of Music. Another place on mrs_oab’s want to do list.

    I note last night that there are various train routes and a couple of buses over the high alpine passes, and 600km of distance. Do we do a train and bike tour between the two? Pick the nicest riding days, perhaps a for more downhill than up, use train as a journey off and avoiding really big days?

    So, anyone toured Salzburg to Florence?

    rickmeister
    Full Member

    Sounds like you could check the PostAuto busses to get up passes then roll down. They are usually fitted with racks or trailers for bikes.

    https://www.postauto.ch/en/timetable-and-network/route-network

    ElShalimo
    Free Member

    Having been in the Dachstein in late September in beautiful weather and biblical rain I’m not entirely sure that the Salzburg region weather is that reliable.

    You’ll have to cross the Hohe Tauern national park too probably via one of the Großglockner alpine passes. If you get to Lienz it’s an easy ride across the border to Italy along old railway tracks but then you need to cross the Dolomites.

    You can get through Austria without going that route but it’s still very hilly and you’d have to head quite far west. There might be a service over the Brenner Pass ?

    It’d be amazing if the weather is nice but it’s very hit and miss at that time of year

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