On May 3rd, 2012 I’ll be leaving my home and taking off on my 12th long-distance bicycle tour. This is going to be my longest bicycle tour to date… as I plan to be on the road for a little over a year and will be cycling across more than 15 different countries in both Europe and Africa. This will be my third long-distance bicycle tour in Europe and my first time ever going to Africa, so I am super excited!
The first eight months of my bicycle tour will take place in Europe… and the last four to five months of the tour will take place in southern Africa.
Below you will find a detailed breakdown of the European leg of the trip. This breakdown includes a list of the main cities I plan to visit and when (approximately) I plan to be in these locations. The dates and places may change a bit once I get on the road, but this will give you a good estimate as to where I am going and what kind of distances I will be covering on my bike.
Cycle Around Iceland
May 3 – May 27
I’m beginning this year-long bicycle tour with a flight from the United States to Iceland. Once in Iceland, Brandon (one of my roommates from University) will be joining me and together, we will spend 25 days cycling approximately 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) across the country and camping almost every single night. This will be Brandon’s first bicycle tour ever, so I am excited to have him along with me and to be able to show him how much fun bicycle touring can be.
May 28 – June 3
After Iceland I will fly into London, England. I plan to spend about 5 days in the London area before cycling east toward Belgium and then north toward Amsterdam. This part of the trip should tack on 400 miles (650 km) or more.
June 9 – 14
Once in Amsterdam, I will only have five short days to see and explore the city. From Amsterdam, I will travel to Cologne (Koln), Germany and add another 160 miles to my journey.
June 16 – 25
In Cologne, I have plans to meet up with a friend of mine named Fee who lives nearby. I will stay with her at her house for a little over a week. We’ll be off the bike most of this time, but hopefully I can get her to join me on a short bike ride in the area.
Follow The Tour de France Bicycle Race
June 30 – July 9
I will then follow the Tour de France for the first eight or nine days of the race (approximately 990 miles/1600 km). Each night I plan to camp out along the race route and wait around during the day for the peloton to pass. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Tour de France on television, so it should be a blast to actually experience the race in person.
Bike Switzerland – Guided Bicycle Tour Across Switzerland
July 10 – July 20
I’ll then cycle my way down to Geneva, Switzerland for the start of a cross-country bicycle tour with European tour company, Bike Switzerland (350 miles/560 km). This is going to be my first multi-day guided bicycle tour that I’ve ever been on, so I am really looking forward to it. In fact, if you are interested in joining me for this leg of my trip, you can! Read all about it right here. The last time I checked, there were still a few places left in the tour group.
July 21 – July 25
At the end of the Bike Switzerland Challenge Tour I will travel to a city just outside of Zurich and stay with some friends. Not only will I have a week to visit with old friends, but I will also have a week to rest my body and catch up on some work.
July 26 – July 30
Then I’ll spend two short days riding to Basel, Switzerland (90 miles/130km) where I will be staying with my friends Ben and Sabine, whom I met last year while traveling around the South American country of Peru. After visiting with Ben and Sabine for the weekend, I will pedal back to Zurich and fly out of the country.
August 1 – 14
I’ll fly into Istanbul with my bicycle and rent an apartment in the city for a couple weeks before continuing north. I spent a single day in Turkey during my 2009 bicycle tour and I absolutely loved it, so I am looking forward to seeing a little bit more of the country.
Cycle From Istanbul, Turkey to Kiev, Ukraine To Krakow, Poland
August 15 – November 5
After leaving Istanbul, I don’t have any hard or definite plans. Instead, I am simply going to let the wind blow me where it may. I’ll pedal north from Turkey through Bulgaria and Romania, before crossing through a small section of Moldova and then cycling through a major chunk of the Ukraine. The plan, however, is to be on the border of the Ukraine and Poland sometime around the first of November.
November 6 – 13
Once in Krakow, I will rent an apartment and stay in the city for approximately a week. During this time I will be resting, exploring the city, and catching up on my computer work, emails, etc.
November 19 – 26
After cycling from Krakow to Warsaw, I’ll again stay in the city for about a week before cycling north toward Gdansk.
December 1 – 5
Located on the shores of the Baltic Sea, Gdansk is one of Polands larger cycling cities. Since I won’t be getting to Gdansk until early December, however, I look forward to seeing whether or not there are any other cyclists out on the roads (besides me).
December 10 – 17
Then I’ll circle south from the Baltic and head toward the city of Poznan. The people at Poznan, I Love You sent me a dozen or more email messages saying that I absolutely must come to their city, so I’m going to make the effort to do exactly that!
Christmas Markets in Berlin, Germany
December 22 – January 2, 2013
Finally, I will pedal my way to Berlin, Germany, just in time to see some of Germany’s world-famous Christmas markets. I hope to stay in or near the city of Berlin during Christmas and New Years… and as soon as 2013 arrives I will jump on an airplane and travel with my bicycle to southern Africa, where I will begin the second major leg of this epic bicycle touring adventure.
So, there you have it! Those are my general plans for the year! Again, all of this can and probably will change a bit once I get on the road, but now you know what to expect.
I am super excited about everything that I have planned for the rest of this year… and I am even more excited to be sharing my bicycle travels across Europe with you.
Photos by: C. P. G. Grey, Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel, Jo@net, Wolfgang Staudt, Jon, Or Hiltch, Problemkind, Dennis, Philip Bitnar, Andrew Evans, Feradz, Vasenka, Teujene, Maurice, Artiom Ponkratenko, Jaroslaw Pocztarski, Olgierd Pstrykotoworca, ReneS, K?vanç Ni?, Rennes.i, Leszek.Leszczynski, matipl, Boudewijn Berends
0 thoughts on “My Bicycle Touring Travel Plans For 2012”
some nice pics, don’t overdo the HDR!
The pictures aren’t mine. If you look at the bottom of the article you will see that each of the photos is credited to another person. These are creative commons photos. I didn’t take these photos, because I haven’t been to most of these areas yet. I just used these images to show a small slice of what it might be like once I arrive in these areas.
Great Darren. Such a motivating blog for me. I love to ride on bicycle and most of i ride for small distance around 55 kms only but i want to make a big big big ride which i remember always. It is adventures, good for health, make your mind fresh and stress-less. It is wonderful 🙂
Hi Darren, your mom and dad told me you were going on another extended trip.
So I hope to read all about the places you are going.
Good luck & safe trip.
Hi Darren, amazing plans! I have been following your blog for a bit — and I’m actually packing for my upcoming 3-weeks bike tour from Amsterdam to Paris! Amsterdam is where I live and I run my blog from. Even though I understand that you’ll be extra-busy while you’re here, I would love to be able to meet up for a coffee when you’re here. Maybe even go for one of the lovely small rides around here!
Fabio, it would be great to meet up with you as well once I get to Amsterdam. Please get it touch with me as I get closer. I should be there in the city sometime around June 10, 2012
Looks like a great trip! You will love France. I’ve bike toured there a few times. Great food.
Darren, what’s something like this usually cost???
I don’t know how much this 8-month bicycle tour across Europe will cost me, but I did a similar tour in 2009 through Europe and I kept track of every single cent that I spent. Here is a detailed breakdown of my costs for 9-months of bicycle touring in Europe in 2009: http://bicycletouringpro.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-travel-in-europe/
Hey Darren Alff, Its a great journey my Friend, I am a cyclist from Egypt and i see you are planning to visit south Africa later next year, A great choice to visit Africa in winter, Here I’d love to share with you some miles and show you amazing places, Good Luck My Friend 😉