Bicycling EuroVelo 6 Across Europe
An interview with an intrepid “Baddeley” group
This is a great group of friends, some come from Australia, others from the UK. They are about to finish a project they started 5 years ago: cycling the entire length of Eurovelo6 from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea.
To make it compatible with everybody’s regular-life commitments, they divided the 3653 km (2270 ml) long route over the course of different years, cycling for about 15-20 days each year. Unfortunately, not all of them have been able to participate every time, year after year, but there is a dedicated crew that has actually stuck with it the entire way!
They first started their journey in 2010 and in 2015 they will finally arrive at the Black Sea after having pedaled every inch of the route (they are genuinely committed to not taking any bus or train rides that would make it easier)!
As the lucky one here at Cycle Europe tasked with planning and organizing their trips over the last few years, I have to admit I have become fond of each of the riders and proud of their progress. This year I had the pleasure to finally meet them in Vienna, Austria when I went to do their bike fitting and briefing at the beginning of their last stage. I was excited to put faces to the people I had been exchanging emails with over the last few years!
I took advantage of our face to face meeting to interview. This was right as they began stage 4 of their cycling adventure that would take them along the Danube River to Osijek in Croatia, and here’s what they said about their bicycle trips.
How did you come up with the idea to cycle the Eurovelo6?
Stephen Baddeley: I guess the original idea was mine, I just thought it would be something unusual to do, to cycle from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. I didn’t know at that time there was a cycle path dedicated to doing it. I gave the idea to my wife, who made it come true.
Susan Baddeley: I went on the Internet and I found this Eurovelo6 and it sounded like it fit just right for us. Then I started looking for a company who would help us with on the ground logistics and we found you!
The two of us planned to do this and when talking occasionally with our friends, they started saying “Well, we would like to do that too!” We ended up being 12 people the first year! Last year we were 14!
Which is your favorite experience so far?
There have been so many, it’s hard to say. The area is very rich in history even in the little villages and there’s an amazing variety in scenery too. You can see so much more on a bicycle.
We expected German food to be sour krauts and sausages and things like that, but we found the German food to be fantastic and German hospitality to be great!
We had a wonderful experience when we stopped in a park in a little village and we asked a lady for some directions. She gave them to us and cycled away. We were still sitting there when she returned with a book about the Storks that were part of the village identity. She presented this book to us. When we got back home we got a book about Darwin and the Australian tropical birds and we sent it back to her.
Another thing that happened to Hazel is that once when she was cycling a bus honked at her. She thought it was because she was in the way, but in fact she had dropped something from her bicycle and the bus chased her and stopped her and gave her back her camelback.
We got in this good habit for lunch, some of us have a table cloth, all of us have knives and our own glass (not the plastic ones!) and napkin, we have a pic-nic style lunch with wine!
Each of us also collected a stone when we started from the beach on the Atlantic coast and we are carrying it on the bike all the way to the Black Sea.
Do you have any suggestions for others who would like to do what you’re doing?
- Well, to do it with you Cycle Europe of course!
- Never forget your lowest gear when you cycle toward the top of a hill!
- Select hotels with a lift if possible or not too long stairs! It’s hard to carry your luggage up the stairs at the end of your cycling day! Also of course travel light!
- Always take zip ties with you, you can fix just about everything with those!
- Also make sure you get a good bicycle for your travels, it’s very important to have a light, strong, reliable bike (and yours are great, they’re better than mine at home!). On the bike it’s important to have a comfortable seat and stands to be able to stop any time taking a picture and to not worry where to lean your bike.
- Luggage transfers are also great, it would be very difficult to organize them by ourselves and it would be too much weight for us to carry on the bikes.
- Get as much as possible into the local culture, i.e. in France we were drinking Rosé wine instead of coffee
One other habit that is very fun: each of them makes a bet in the morning about how many kms they’ll have on their odometers at the end of the day (which can be different from the official distance for many reasons). At the end of the day whoever’s guess is closest is the winner!
Good luck my friends, see you next year!!!!