Jim Cochran

Joined June 2019
  • Day34

    HOME (Some Final Thoughts)

    June 28 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    1. People are really nice if you give them the chance.
    2. Pet owners in Europe are much more responsible, and the dogs are so well behaved.
    3. European drivers are much kinder to cyclists!
    4. Wine, beer, cheese, chocolate, pastries, bread, homemade items, yogurt, cherries, sausages, fries 🍟, ice creams, etc.
    5. 1,700 miles / 2,700 km / 28 days cycling / 1 rest day
    6. 7 countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein,
    / 4 hotels / 4 CouchSurfing / 19 Warmshowers / 1 other.
    7. 0 complete days of rain / 1 puncture / 1 broken pump / 1 donated pump (thanks Ulrich) / 0 crashes / 0 items lost
    8. National Day in Luxembourg City was a blast with great fireworks
    9.European people we were around were very proud of there homemade goods and gardens
    10. Toughest day: Vielsalm, BE to Liège, BE (hot and hilly) or Silvretta Pass in Austria (cold and hilly)
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  • Day33

    Brussels Airport, Belgium

    June 27 in Belgium ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    A short tour of Mol in the morning after breakfast at Molmento B&B. We visited Jos at his shoe shop and had some Belgian Fries at the sidewalk sales festival. A lot of logistics to get to the airport hotel, and now packing the bicycle boxes which will definitely be over the weight limit. Tomorrow we fly to Chicago and Doug will drive us to Iowa City. It’s always hard to leave Mol!Read more

  • Day32

    Mol, Belgium

    June 26 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Last day of riding! 🙁 We got a casual start in the morning with breakfast in the hotel room while listening to the garbage collection and street cleaning of the city center. 😬 We proceeded to Tongeren, BE, the oldest city in Belgium (54 BCE.) posing be the statue of the bravest Belgian in history, Ambiorix, who defeated the occupation of the Romans. Later near Hasselt, BE, we stared riding into the wind along the canal. The winds and detours along the canal made for a tougher day than we hoped for. We stopped about 10 miles from Mol for a final pit stop, and reached Mol around 5 PM. Peter and Kristein treated us to a fabulous dinner at Piccolo and we had a relaxing evening at the B&B.Read more

  • Day31

    Liège, Belgium

    June 25 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    We rode the last 60 miles of the 2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège race route which included nine grueling climbs in over 90° heat. I think it was our hardest day of the tour! 60 miles with over 6000 ft of climbing. We made it to our Hotel in Liège near 4pm. The hotel was nicely located in the city center, but didn’t have A/c. After cleaning up we took a hot stroll through the center and stopped for a few drinks and snacks. Our host Violette from the previous night came with here boyfriend Coco to have dinner and give us another evening walking tour of Liège. For dinner I had a traditional meatball with brown sweet gravy on frites. It was delicious. Our evening walk included the 374-step staircase of Montagne de Bueren for a beautiful view over Liège. Tomorrow is an easier day and we return to Mol to pack the bikes. 🙁Read more

  • Day31

    Viesalm, Belgium

    June 25 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Vielsalm: It is hard to explain how every day of cycling seems to have the same structure, but so much diversity that it makes it “the best day ever.” Does this sound fun? We woke up in a stranger’s House, Proceeded to how to make coffee and ate some day-old bread before riding nearly 70 miles in 90° heat. We had a climbs that were over 15% gradient, and and sandwiches and old potato chips for lunch. Later we tried to find our host house, and went to the wrong house and could not communicate with the resident as they only spoke French. This may not sound the best, but it is the best part of bicycle touting... Routine, uncomfortableness, diversity, adventure...and lots of laughs! In the morning we had picturesque views along the Belgian-Luxembourg border. The weather was getting hot when we reached Bastogne, were we would join the race route of the 2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège race route. Only two major climbs today and nine tomorrow! Our day ended in Viesalm with a rest st a gazebo on the lake and then dinner and an evening walk with our host Violette and her family. We had a fun time without the family and a great night of sleep!Read more

  • Day29

    Arlon, Belgium

    June 23 in Belgium ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    A relaxing morning in Luxembourg City. We left the hotel at 11:00 AM. We at breakfast in the hotel room and enjoyed sleeping in. We casually toured around the city center and eventually found an event with free food, beverages, and a fun band that was hosted by the Luxembourg government / military. At 4:00 PM we headed to Arlon, Belgium. Our host Seb took us to a local street stand for traditional Belgian fries with gravy and cheese. I also had a deep fried sausage thing and Lisa had a veggie burger. After dinner Lisa and I took a short walk and we returned to Seb’s for a taste off Maitrank (a traditional drink made from bad white wine, oranges, sugar, and a special leaf only found in May. Only three days of riding left, and the weather forecast is for heat! 22.5 miles /1090 ft / 1487 total miles.Read more

  • Day28

    Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

    June 22 in Luxembourg ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    National Day (eve!) We were up and ready to go the earliest yet (6:45.) Our goal was to be in Luxembourg City by 2:00pm for the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace, which is the official start of the National Day festivities. Light rain delayed our start until about 8:00 AM. Once on the road we had smooth riding and made it to our hotel in LC, and got to the changing of the guard in time. The evening was fun filled with, street food, dance parties every 50 meters in the city center, a torchlight parade, and a fireworks synchronized to the military bands music. It was an awesome day!Read more

  • Day27

    Saarbrücken, Germany

    June 21 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We had a nice breakfast with Joseph and Pascal, and then visited the lesser-known Mount Saint Michel of France. Lisa and I crawled through a special cavern at the historical site, more stories to come about that later. One of our main destinations for the day was the Citadel de Bitche (yep, It is actually pronounced “bitch”, Which is pretty hard to say when talking to people.) Bitche was a nice view from a distance, but they wanted €10 to enter, so we passed on that. We had a nice picnic lunch and then proceeded towards Saarbrücken, Germany. Near the end of our day we found a wash/bath house, with some of the coldest water I have a ever soak my feet in! Lisa and I, played around trying to stand in the water for 20 seconds, but it was so painful, but refreshing too. Our couch surfing host, Tom, had an amazing set up for us. Our own bedroom, our own bathroom and shower, and a barbecue and fire to celebrate the equinox. He invited some friends to share the evening with us, and it was a very memorable night. Lots of climbing today! We crossed back into Germany And had fun standing on the board-line 65.8 miles/4350 ftRead more

  • Day26

    Saint-Jean Saverne, France

    June 20 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Threatening skies with a lucky outcome of no rain led to another great day of cycling. Our main sight was Rocher de Dabo (a small church perched on a mountain top.) The morning riding continued through vineyards, and included a stop under a cherry tree for a snack. We also discovered a local street market in Obernai, where we each got some sunglasses and had a delicious cappuccino, a chocolate croissant, and a potato hashbrown patty. Our long climb to Rocher de Dabo was well worth it and we picnicked at the top. The rest of the day was easy with long downhills and canal riding. In Saverne we walked through the Main Street and then rode about 5 miles out of the larger city to Joseph and Pascal’s home. The little village of nearly 600 people is quite and graced with a beautiful cathedral from the 12th century (the oldest in the region.) After a dinner of pasta with spinach and mushrooms, salad, bread, and cherry pie we took a walking tour with Joseph to the cathedral, as the sun was starting to set. 67 miles / 3700 ftRead more

  • Day25

    Villè, France

    June 19 in France ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    A hot day of cycling brought us through the rout de vin (white wine area of the Alsace region of France) We continued to be awed by the beautiful steeples appearing over the vineyards as we approached every village. We climbed to Chateau de Koenigsbourg and had a magnificent view of the valley bellow. Along descent from the chateau and some more riding along vineyard brought us to Tabitha and Yannick’s house in Villé, France. Yannick’s dad (André Zimmermann)was a famous Tour de France rider in the 60’s and helped teammate Jacques Anquetil (5 time tour winner). It was motivating to here about Tabitha (France triathlon national champion for 20-25 age group) and Yannick’s passion for travel and adventure. The fed us a delicious typical French meal with an organic salad from the neighboring farmer’s garden. We had a great sleep in the house they are remodeling that has a scenic view over the valley de Villé. 69 miles / 3000 ft.Read more

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