Riding through Norway, Sweden, Croatia, the Alps, Italy and some more of Europe with Chezle
  • Day56

    Alençon to Cherbourg (just outside)

    August 20 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Well last night was rather more drunken and rowdy than we were anticipating so today has been rather more slow paced. This morning we left our beautiful apartment in central Alençon to drink coffee, eat pastries and watch the world go by for a couple of hours. The people of France in general are so laid back, friendly and community orientated, it was lovely to see neighbours chatting and friends meeting for breakfast. I really do love France.

    Coffee imbibed, we hit the road for our final little ride to just outside Cherbourg, ready for our ferry tomorrow. The trip was relaxed, winding through the countryside of northern France.

    Of course we had to stop for our final meal in France and I eyed up all the yummy chocolate things that you can’t get your hands on in England. Only room for a Poulain hot chocolate and an obligatory Tintin!

    Now we are at a lovely little gite on a French riding stable, listening to the ducks in the neighbouring field and watching the clouds skid through the sky. It’s beautiful here with acres of fields to walk in, which I did and two friendly dogs who enjoy lounging around and a scratch behind the ears. A lovely way to end our trip.

    Earlier I took

    HIGHLIGHTS - people watching in Alençon
    LOW POINTS - hangover
    ROADS - D2 out of Alençon
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  • Day55

    Nogent-sur-Seine to Alençon

    August 19 in France ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    300km today, racking up the miles to reach Cherbourg on Sunday and get the ferry home. We left our beautiful little apartment after some coffee (of course) and set out with bums of steel to crack through some miles and it wasn’t so bad.

    Our first stop was a beautiful little French village for a coffee next to the towns Mairie. The waiter was very sweet and it was lovely to watch the locals enjoy their mornings together in the sunshine. Their were young kids running around and playing whilst parents and friends watched on as they drank their coffees.

    Next stop was a small green next to a church in a nearby hamlet, to have some lunch and rest amongst the trees. We’re really starting to get into this French way of life and relax enough to decompress and gather some energy.

    Our final stop for the day was the centre of Alençon and what a night we were in store for! The apartment was astonishing, located right next to the cathedral, with huge windows overlooking the high street. Our host was the owner of a fantastic restaurant, Chez Fano, where he was able to squeeze us in. Our food was incredible! We were very lucky ladies. With just a couple of nights left, we then went in search of a few drinks, which is when we met Elvis and Christophe who took us to Le Toucan, a new bar full of locals where the barman drinks as much as the clientele. We played darts, met some wonderful characters, drank quite a lot and danced our way home in the quiet cobbled streets of Alençon.

    HIGHLIGHT - Alençon, the wonderful locals, the apartment, Chez Fano, coffee in the beautiful village, dozing under the trees
    LOW POINT - none
    ROADS - I can’t remember
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  • Day54

    Black Forest to Nogent-sur-Seine

    August 18 in France ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    After booking our ferry, the challenge was on to charge across France in time for Sunday and so today we hit the road and travelled about 460kms, the most on this trip, through rain and wind. It was a tough day but a good one, with a sense of accomplishment at the end.

    The day consisted of tyres worn close to their limit, long straight roads, rain, Burger King, shopping the French way with a cooked poulet and finally a beautiful little gite hidden behind an ugly green gate. Nice shower and crashing out for the night.

    HIGHLIGHT - almost 300miles, sense of accomplishment, burger
    LOW POINT - seeming receding rain
    ROADS - leaving the Black Forest
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  • Day53

    Rest Day: Black Forest

    August 17 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Rest day off the bikes today so I took the opportunity to go for a long walk and rest my mind in the woodland of the Black Forest. Dense tree cover and lush undergrowth. It was about 8 miles and up to 850m. Perfect rest day in a beautiful part of the worldRead more

  • Day51

    Lorleswald to the Black Forest

    August 15 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    Relaxed ride in the sun over to the Black Forest today with some lovely sweeping roads and views of the alps in the background.

    We said goodbye to the mountains today and began our journey home via the Black Forest, it was a lovely day of sweeping open bends, rolling hills and sunshine. It was sad to say goodbye to the Alps but I know one day we’ll return to this special place.

    The Black Forest beckons, but with little tread left and fatigue setting in from months on the road, not to mention the strict speed limits, we’ll be taking it steady from here on out.

    England beckons

    HIGHLIGHTS - Sweeping roads and beautiful countryside
    LOW POINTS - Saying goodbye to the mountains
    ROADS -
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  • Day50

    Rest Day: Neuschwanstein Castle

    August 14 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Day off the bikes today exploring Chez’s favourite fairytale castle on the border with Austria - Neuschwanstein.

    It is epic and incredibly beautiful but also quite sad. The architect and monarch during its building, Ludwig II was found drowned under suspicious circumstances the day after he was deposed. Many believe we was murdered along with his physician. It seems he also led quite a reclusive life, often favouring his own company and disassociating himself with his family. It seems he really did live in his own fairytale with many famous saga’s depicted on the walls of the castle including Tristan and Isolde and Sigurd.

    It was a brilliant day exploring the area with a nice horse drawn carriage to the top and a chinwag with a Romanian donut seller. It was also nice to have a day of rest from the bikes although maybe not for Chez who had to pillion my ass around, to and from the castle. That was also great fun for me though!

    Off again tomorrow and I think we’re going to forgo Switzerland in favour of exploring more of Germany as we haven’t been here before.

    HIGHLIGHTS - The whole day
    LOW POINTS - Dinner
    ROADS - none
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  • Day48

    Temù to Lorleswald

    August 12 in Austria ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Eight hours of riding time to travel 250km, a whopping 30kph average! That’s the nature of these roads: the corners, the traffic, the poopy pant moments and the fact you need to stop every time you see some yummy food or pastries.

    We started to head north today via a massive sweeping detour to the east and the Dolomites, my favourite mountains! It rained last night so we took it easy and waited for the sun to dry out our tents before packing them down. Obviously this meant more coffee in the shade of the mountains! Last night we met a man called Gio who was fantastic! He had a face straight out of a Pixar cartoon and was quite a funny character. He was introduced to Chez as Bubbles when I attempted to catch her attention and he called after her for me. This morning he set off in search of fishing and we said our goodbyes.

    Retracing our steps from yesterday, we headed back up over the Passo de Tonale following the line of the ski lift as it ascended to just over 2000m. Mountain bikes in lieu of snowboards and skis, it’s an extreme sports junkies daydream and obviously for hikers too. Either way it was very busy and full of the hubbub of people trying to get somewhere else.

    The surprise of the day was the Mendel Pass! Crikey! What a pass! We have no evidence of it and certainly no photos, it was fast, flowing and undoubtedly stunning. The number of bikers swarming the place highlighted that it might be worth and shot and it was, it was also pretty long and very tiring! Coming down into Bolzano, the roads sweeps down the mountainside and lands in San Michele.

    Charging through Bolzano, which is nothing special, we headed out towards the epic Dolomites via the incredible Passo Gardena. Climbing up to about 2200m amongst more chic hotels, mountain bikers and hikers, it borders the Sella Group (Sella Ronda) on its northern side, and cuts underneath some of the towering limestone cliff like faces of these inspiring mountains. The Dolomites are like no other mountain range with sheer walls of white reaching high into the clouds.

    The weather had been unpredictable with the mountaintops catching the angry looking rain clouds and finally after many lucky hours we were hit with a monumental thunderstorm. The clouds enclosed the valley in a deep grey, blotting out the sun and making it all feel very close and almost cosy. The rain came with a bolt of lightening just to add even more “epicness”.

    Our final destination tonight is a little village on the edge of Austria, with hairpins to reach it, because why not!

    Perfect tune for the day - M83 Outro

    HIGHLIGHTS - Dolomites ❤️❤️
    LOW POINTS - none
    ROADS - SS42, SS242, SS243, SS244, SS49
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  • Day47

    Rest Day: Crocedomini, Brenta and Tonale

    August 11 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    A nice easy day today starting with coffee at our wonderful campsite overlooking the stunning mountains. Then it was off in search of more epic Alpine passes.

    First on the cards was the Crocedomini Pass, another one famed for cycling with ultra smooth tarmac and tight switchbacks. It was a smaller, lesser known pass and so was slightly quieter than the ones we visited the day before, with lush fields on either sides, sparse woodland and very cute rural houses. On the way up we were overtaken by three Czech guys on touring bikes who then invited us for a coffee when we got to the top. It was nice to chat to them, they had been travelling for just four days and had travelled an average of 1,200km each day! Beats our 300km on a good day!

    Fully replenished we rolled down the other side, taking in the epic views, in search of a rest spot and somewhere to have an afternoon kip. A pine wood was perfect so we relaxed in the shade of their leaves and snoozed fitfully.

    Just 2.5hours left to ride and 110km up to Madonna di Campiglio and then around via the Tonale Pass and home. We had experienced bright blue skies and sunshine the entire way around until, with about 40mins to go, the heavens opened and so we dived into a bar in Pellizzano for a cheeky beer and to watch the rain come pouring down. When it rains here, it really does rain! The bar was really quirky with two military motorbikes and sidecars out the front and a wooden shelter draped in all many of vintage farming equipment and tools! Great place to get caught in the rain.

    It’s often very hard to describe the beautiful passes and sometimes they can seem to merge into one, so I hope that the photos can do them justice. My words certainly can’t.

    HIGHLIGHTS - Views coming down from the Crocedomini Pass, amazing mountains at Madonna di Campiglio, Tonale Pass
    LOWPOINTS - none
    ROADS - SP345, SP669, SS239
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  • Day46

    Rest Day: Gavia, Stelvio and Mortirolo

    August 10 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    And so it begins! The hairpins and mountain passes of the Italian Alps, good thing that we woke up fresh faced and bushy tailed.

    First one to tackle after an enormous intake of coffee was Gavia Pass, notoriously steep, technical and narrow with life threatening drops on the sides but also some incredible views. We had visited this one in 2019 with the girls so had to replicate some of the photos we had taken the previous year, and of course we took some more too.

    Next stop was Stelvio Pass via Bormio for some lunch at a popular spot for bikers in the middle of a junction. Unfortunately, Vex had been making some top end noises so I popped into a little garage to top up her oil and off we went. Both replenished and ready to tackle Stelvio. It wasn’t as busy as the previous year but still as spectacular. Passes ticked off it was time to head back to base camp and a snooze. Just one little surprise pass before we got there: Mortirolo Pass seems to be famous for cycling rather than motorbikes but the views were wonderful nonetheless, even Chez started to enjoy it!

    HIGHLIGHTS - Gavia, Stelvio and Mortirolo
    LOWPOINTS - none
    ROADS - Can’t choose, all of them
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  • Day45

    Arzignano to Temù

    August 9 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Fantastic day today and I’m writing this back under canvas in the Italian Alps with a beautiful view of the mountains beyond.

    Not many miles covered, but rather scenic routes and a stop at Lake Garda for some lunch in the sunshine. bellisimo! We left our BnB this morning, after a relaxing morning reading with a lush view, with a taster of the Alps and some incredible hairpins winding down through the vineyards of northern Italy. Who knew that we were in wine region?! The BnB has a huge mirror which we obviously took full advantage of before. Then we hit the road riding past Verona unfortunately without stopping due to the heat and being in full biking gear! Never a fun mix! Instead we made a beeline for Lazise on the shores of Lake Garda to drink a glass of wine and eat wonderful salad in the sunshine. It was glorious! Our waiter, Antonio (of course) was full of charm and we’re off to Brazil with him in November.

    Full of yummy food we decided to veto the shoreline ride in bad traffic and headed along the Italian highways north to our stop for the next few days. It seems we’re getting rather accustomed to these rest days! The journey north was incredibly entertaining, leap frogging all the traffic like true Italians. Our parents would have had nightmares to see us and the other riders weave through the traffic. It felt brilliant and the Italian drivers are very respectful and often move out the way, maybe they’re just petrified and want us gone as soon as possible!

    After a quick stop at the biggest Dainese store that I’ve ever seen, we hit the Alps and set up camp for the night. What a brilliant little campsite! I’m looking forward to the next few days!

    HIGHLIGHTS - lunch at Lake Garda, chicken skipping like true Italians, beautiful campsite
    LOW POINTS - traffic is 30c heat
    ROADS - SS42 (not beautiful but fun!)
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