Colin and Maggie Cooper. This trip is going to be over a period of four months which means that my faithful biking companion, daughter Bianca, cannot make it as she has work to do to earn money to keep her two kitties and horse sufficiently fed and spoiled.
Maggie has decided to relinquish her role as back-up driver, cook, camp manager, nurse, environmentalist and washer upper. On December 1st 2015 Maggie got back on her bike after a fifteen year break and decided to ride an expedition with me. To break her in gently, I decided we would ride a Tour of 5000 km. Could she not have guessed? Been married to me for 36 years, should know better by now!
After the trials, tribulations and successes of the 9 Peaks Tour, I found it difficult to come up with something new and adventurous locally. Then came the brainwave; Maggie has always wanted to do a trip around Europe. Therefore combine the two adventures.
So this is what we intend to attempt, the Three Rivers Tour.
We start in my old home town of Leicester, England and then ride from the source of the Thames to the coast on the North Sea. A breaker-inner of around 300 km.
Next we take the ferry across to Rotterdam and the difficult ride that will start at the delta of the Rhine and travel up to its source in Switzerland (2850 m) and 1400 km long.
Finally, river number three. We ride down from Switzerland to the source of the Danube in Germany and travel along its full length to the Black Sea in Moldova. 2900 km long, but should be easier as we are going “downhill”.
During the ride we go through the following countries:
Then it’s hop on a plane and return home.
To ride 5000 km could be done in 7 weeks, but then we would be done. The plan is to take it a little easier with time to visit museums, art galleries, castles whilst tasting local food and beer (cider for M). Our very loose plan is to ride about 400 km per week and spend the rest of the time doing touristy stuff.
April 14th Fly to England
April 15th Buy food, gas etc.
April 16th and 17th Family days
April 18th Start our journey
August 12th Fly out of Moldova
All the bits in between we will fill in as we go along
Accommodation is mainly going to be camping but we will luxuriate in B&B’s and Pensions whenever we need to wash clothes or get out the relentless rain.
This means we will both be carrying all our camping gear plus clothes plus food and drink in panniers on our bikes. Maggie has yet to ride with her load so next week’s trial should be interesting if not verbal.
Maggie is riding her 15 year old Scott MTB with 21 gears. I shall be riding my trusty steed, the single speed, solid steel Qhubeka Buffalo (with a new paint job). Each bike will have a rear carrier for two side panniers and a top mount for our tent, sleeping bags and mats. Maggie has four bottle racks and I have five. Also on the front we have one handle bar box and one box below. One bum bag each as well for cameras and cell phones.
Clothing is minimal; Two sets of cycling shorts and tops (NO LYCRA ), one set of “going out” clothes. One pair of shoes to cycle AND walk, one pair slops. Two thermal tops each and our exclusive SKY rain jackets (SKY = Serial Killer Yellow Jonsonn Workwear rain jackets ).
Cooking kit is two little gas stoves, two pans and each will have one plate, one bowl, one knife, one fork, one spoon and one teaspoon.
For the bikes I will take spare tubes, spanners, chain tool, chain lube and a Gerber Multitool.
- Because we can
- Because it’s there, and never been done before
- Because we are heading to old age and uncertainty
- To enjoy all the different cultures, landscapes and architecture
- To stay fit
Someone once asked me, after our first adventure (cycling 1000km in ten days and living on R10/Day for food and drink), “How did I know I could do it?”. At the time I struggled to answer but after several more adventures, I have come up with an answer.
“I don’t know I can do it, but I do know me”.