European Cycle Tour

This section contains a summary of my six-week, 4,000 km European cycle tour on my Brompton folding bicycle. Use the main menu to navigate, or jump to a page:

Fast facts

  • Distance cycled: 4,152 km
  • Number of days: 43
  • Average distance per day: 97 km
  • Total height ascended: 21,203 m
  • Punctures: One
  • Weight of bike and luggage: 35kg
  • Weight  lost: 9kg (1½ stone)
  • Scariest part: Cycling over the bridge at Saint Nazaire
  • Favourite towns: Münster, Landshut, Besançon,  Nantes, Rennes
  • Favourite cycling: The 25 miles of Le Doubs river to the East of Besançon
  • Time taken to ascend Box Hill with fully laden bike after cycling the 100km from Portsmouth: 10mins 43 sec

How was it?

Great. Really enjoyable. Challenging at times, but all challenges were overcome and the trip was a great success. I saw lots of beautiful scenery and towns, met lots of interesting people, ate and drank my way through Germany and France, and had lots of fun simply cycling through the countryside.

Why do it?

Why not? I like cycling.

Why do it on a Brompton?

Lots of people noticed the Brompton has small wheels and a small frame and lots of people thought that makes it somehow unsuitable, hard work or fragile, but I had no issues and was very happy with its performance.

It’s diminutive proportions don’t make it less of a bike. As this trip has proven, it’s more than capable of touring duties and can also fold up quite neatly too. If anything I’d say it’s more of a bike.

I figured if I wanted to catch a train or check into a hotel it would also be a lot easier with a bike that folds, and it’s also a nice conversation starter.

Thanks

A big thank you to my family and friends for their support and encouragement, and also to work for letting me have the time off to do this.

Special thanks to Pete and Lucy in Witham, Kim, Martin, Max, Alexander and Oliver in Oberahrain, Hilla and Greg in Munich, and Adrien and Ai in Besaçon for being super hosts.

And also thanks to everyone who is taking time out to read my site and blog. It’s much appreciated 🙂

If this encourages anyone into cycling, or helps anyone with planning their own adventure it would make me really happy – so if this applies to you, get in touch and let me know – I’d love to hear about it.

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9 Replies to “European Cycle Tour”

  1. Thanks for the report on a fabulous trip. I take regular longish day rides in the Tokyo area, but always on my Bike Friday. I’ve never considered touring with my Brompton. Your post gave me a lot of good (dangerous?) ideas about how it might be done.

    Reply

    1. Hopefully exciting but not dangerous 🙂

      Reply

  2. Much appreciate the effort you have made to share your experiences . Apart from the route, was interested in keeping the electronic devices going I found that valuable advice.

    Reply

    1. No worries! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply

  3. Herzlichen Dank, James

    Das ist ein sehr nützlicher
    Block. Klasse!

    Liebe Grüße
    Marion

    Reply

  4. Thanks for sharing your ride story! I love my Bromptons and have done a few longer rides of 100km +, but you take the cake! Super! Thanks, Dion – capetownbrompton.tumblr.com

    Reply

    1. Thanks Dion!

      Reply

  5. James,
    Oh James – I just see – you have been pretty close to my home (Sinntal-Oberzell) if I only knew that! It would have been really a great pleasure to host you …. so please, if you take R2 in Germany again make a stop here, you are more than welcome. You can find me also on warmshowers.org.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    Viele Grüße
    Marion

    Reply

    1. Thank you for your kind offer Marion. Germany has to be one of the best places to cycle, and I will definitely return some day.
      If I were able to, I’d spend all year touring!

      Reply

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