The bike and the rest of my gear needed a little test tour before I would bring it with me to Scandinavia this September for a month bicycle tour down south through Finland and the Baltic countries.
Finding a reason (it doesn’t really need one) for this little test tour was no problem as I’ve planned to meet up with some friends the upcoming weekend somewhere close to Cologne.
Packing all my equipment didn’t take long at all because all the stuff I have is always ready to hit the road and just needs to get packed and sorted into the different panniers. Here is some of the main equipment I brought with me. I decided to bring my non freestanding Hilleberg Akto tent, a synthetic sleeping bag for temperatures down to 10 °Celsius (I will probably bring the warmer one for Scandinavia), the Thermarest TrailPro mattress, the MSR Whisperlite multi fuel stove and as my main camera the Sony A6000.
Finding a route wasn’t that hard as well. I was looking forward to meet up with my friends on Sunday which would mean that I would have 4 cycling days before I would meet them and one after we would split up. I decided to head west first crossing through the Palatine forest, following the Mosel river for a bit, crossing through Luxembourg to the west until I would get into Belgium. From there I would head north through the Eifel area, crossing the border into the Netherlands somewhere close to Aachen, heading a little bit more north through the Wurmtal before I would head east towards Cologne where a train would bring me back home on the sixth day of the tour.
Most of the time my route would lead me along bicycle paths and smaller roads without too much traffic. I’m using a website called Gpsies to plan and export my routes.
Numbers and Stats
After a long but also really nice cycling day through south west Germany I found myself a chilled wildcamping spot in the middle of a forest. Weather was more or less alright today and I also felt pretty good.
Now there are only two things left to do for me: Eat and Sleep!
Beside plenty of rain I felt pretty good today. The night in the forest was warm and dry and I had an early start in the day. First stop was Trier where I had a big lunch with bananas, an apple, peanut butter jelly sandwiches and some crackers.
Not much later I crossed the border to Luxembourg which is the 20th country I’m exploring by bicycle. Well the weather is shit so far but the cycling was good. Mostly bike paths along rivers and some nice but muddy forest roads.
After almost 150 kms I found myself in a narrow valley without too many wild camping possibilities. Being completely soaked I decided to spend the night on a campsite.
Another great but really rainy day. Crossed through Belgium today and arrived in the Netherlands. I’m totally soaked and my tent is still wet from the night before. I made a quick decision and found myself a place to sleep in a small shed/bus stop somewhere beside the road.
Too hungry currently to write more
After an actually way better sleep than I expected in the bus shed I found beside the road in the Netherlands at day three, day four got started fairly early.
Not far out of Aachen I decided to give the city a quick look but main reason for me to head back to Germany was something else.
Day four was a pretty chilled cycling day and not even midday I arrived at the “Climate Camp” where I met some friends and where I would stay for two nights.
You maybe ask yourself what a “Climate Camp” is and the first impression of most people I told that I would go there was something like: “Freaking hippies meeting and camping together …” but it’s actually way more.
The Camp is located just beside the active coal surface mine “Garzweiler” and one part of the Camp is organizing a protest against this huge crime which forces many people to leave their homes because their villages get destroyed to continue the mining and destroy huge amounts of good soil for agriculture … . Too much to write about but in the end it’s the profit of a few people on the costs of the nature and thousands of residents.
But the Camp is way more than that! It’s a place where thousands of people no matter from where and how old meet to learn from each other. Every day there are countless of different workshops with topics like climate change, alternative ways of living, deceleration, social agriculture, oppression of minorities … and way more. All this is organized by voluntaries and there’s even a dutch kitchen team which is preparing vegan food for more than 1000 people at the same time.
Even though it was just for two days I really enjoyed my time and the experiences I collected there. Talking to the residents of the villages which will fall in the coming months and years, talking to the people who live in tree houses in the leftovers of the Hambacher forest to block the mining from destroying the last bits of it … . Not every day experiences. Well enough said.
Day six was another 70 km ride to Cologne where I jumped into a train to get back home. What a great one week adventure through 4 countries with many things to remember.
Even better: In just a bit more than two weeks I’ll be back in northern Scandinavia to continue a journey I started in 2015 and still waits to be finished!