We are well under way in planning our EuroVelo trip from London to Istanbul. Having completed a draft of our route, we have turned out attention to gear.
We are undertaking the trip on a strict budget and want to get the best value for money kit on the market. Now, you cannot underestimate the benefits of a good night’s sleep so our first question to you regards sleeping bags….
The alarm goes off, it’s seven thirty. Rain, lashing against the window, is audible above the quiet hum of the radio and in my sleepy state I hit snooze. The sound of the rain seems to increase in volume and intensity. I know that within half an hour, I will be battling into the headwind atop my trusty mountain bike on a cycle path alongside the A4. The month is February.
This is a reality for 3% of the UK workforce every morning. A reality which we at Furious Green Ideas would love to see encompass more of the commuters living within five miles of their place of work. We want more people to enjoy a daily mini-adventure as man and machine battle through whatever is in their path on their way to work with the added bonus of not worrying about finding a parking space.
We realise however, that despite the best intentions, most of us are fair-weather cyclists. If there is a splash of rain or the mercury has dropped to single figures then the car seems to be a far more attractive option. And in terms of comfort it perhaps is. That is until you experience the delight of peering in on those bored looking drivers sat in queues of traffic while you (safely and legally) sail past. It is the most acutely satisfying feeling any morning can bring, no matter what the weather throws at you.
It is that feeling which drags me out of bed and into my well worn cycling jacket, leg warmers and winter gloves every morning. But that is not to say you need all the gear to become a cycling commuter. In winter, a bike with lights and reflectors for night cycling, a warm jacket, gloves and a helmet are all you need to kick start the healthiest way to get work.
So dust off that rusty steed in the garage or check out eBay for some bargains on both bikes and accessories and join the two wheeled commuting community, I can assure that you’ll never look back.
Birmingham to Istanbul – 2000 miles and 10 different countries. The bikes must be at least 20 years old and cost under £50. A month long tour sampling the various varieties of refreshment on offer along the way. May/June 2013, thoughts?
I hope all is well, speak soon,
And so the idea was born. The rudiments of which dreamt up whilst revising for finals exams at university as an attempt to escape the monotony of 19th Century French literature. The trip seemed simple; take four weeks and try to visit a few places still on the “To see” list in a green and environmentally friendly way, whilst working off a few pounds in the process!
Crazy but I like it.. Count me in I reckon who all’s behind this plan?
Yes let’s have a Skype and a catch up soon, was going to ask if you’re going to be in Brussels again anytime soon? I’ve moved back there!
So, the plan evolved. Ben was keen to include the EuroVelo network into the plan and, having moved to Brussels, the idea was that the city would become our starting point. More discussion followed and the plan to ride on £50 bike became less and less attractive as the gravity of the challenge was realised.
We then discussed an aim. What did we hope to achieve by cycling 2000 miles in a month, ending up at the tip of Europe? This is when FuriousGreenIdeas was born. We wanted our journey to have an environmental aspect and the EuroVelo network, as a seriously decent idea, seemed like an obvious choice. We wanted to champion the work they have done and aid in the publicity and development of the network. Usage is key to development and we feel the more people know and use the routes, the more funding will become available to improve what is already an impressive European-wide facility.
And this is where we find ourselves today. We have a route (albeit 2000 miles longer than initially anticipated), we have an aim and we have five months in which to build a network of contacts throughout Europe who can help us publicise the EuroVelo network to the maximum number of potential cyclists as possible.
Keep checking FuriousGreenIdeas for further updates and feel free to get in touch!
Ben and Ed
Why “furious” green ideas??
A not-so-subtle reference to the work of Noam Chomsky – an inspiration not only for his work in linguistics but also for his activism and his environmentalism.
Although we’re generally pretty calm people, there are plenty of things in this world to be furious about. This blog is about using our fury to good effect and becoming active inthe things we care about – the environment, cycling, language and travel, food and drink.
Idea number 1 – cycle the length of Europe, from London to Istanbul. In doing so, we want to show as many people as possible along the way how great cycling is – whether for a long distance budget holiday or just for getting to work in the morning. By using, promoting and reporting about the EuroVelo routes (more here) we’ll provide proof that you can have a better, healthier, more sustainable holiday, soon to be made even easier with the completion of 14 uninterrupted cycle routes across the continent.
We set off in August, and preparations have already begun: planning the route, getting into cycling shape for our 150km a day regime, and arranging promotional events with local cycling associations in the 13 countries we will pass through.
Watch this space for updates on this and future projects!
Ben & Ed
Our route crosses 13 countries and follows three main EuroVelo routes : Route 5 ‘Via Romana’ Route 6 along the river Danube, and Route 13, the Iron curtain trail. Setting off on August 10th, we hope to reach Istanbul in just over a month.