It’s just over two years since I rolled out of Porto and embarked on a 3,200km adventure to Munich. I’ve been meaning for a while to write a look back at the ride and how the planning worked out, so here you go.


Trip was a complete success: arrived in Munich exactly on schedule to beer in a beer garden.

Root Causes

Somewhere early 2007 I bought my Specialized Allez Sport, and things escalated from there. Zach is partly to blame, with his crazy ride suggestions such as London to Bristol and the Dunwich Dynamo. Nat, Kevin, Ben, Fred and Dan are also implicated, by feeding the habit with weekend rides, sportives, cobbles.


Well, there are two. Reading John Wood’s Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy made me rethink my job, which culminated with me having a lot of free time in which to ride. And the other one, you’ll have to ask me about (it involves cheese pasties).


Flight EZY5382 from Munich to London Gatwick.

Lessons Learned

What went well

  • My packing list was pretty much spot on, except I could’ve done with spare brake pads after the heavy rain in the first few days
  • Using my Nexus 6P with a keyboard and mouse connected to do route planning on the road worked really well, and saved me the weight of a laptop
  • 110/110/50/0km 4-day iterations felt really good. On days 1 and 2 I was happy to push through knowing I had easier days on days 3 and 4 of the iteration. Oh, except where I ended up doing a ton more, and one 7-day stint so I could include Tourmalet.
  • Planning worked really well
    • Before I went
      • I started by figuring out how long to go for (6 weeks)
      • I then found a start and end point (Porto and Munich)
      • Looking at hotel prices, and distances, I figured out a good town to aim for each day
    • On the road, on each rest day
      • For the iteration after next (eg. day 4, I’d plan days 9-12), find hotels near the target place and book, perferring cancellable rooms
      • Plot an exact route using Strava Route Planner on my phone
  • BikeFlights were fantastic in shipping my (empty) bike box from Porto to Munich

What went wrong

  • Quite a few route mishaps, ending up on gravel roads for 20kms on a road bike
  • I’ve still not edited the time lapse video I took

Where I got lucky

  • I didn’t have a single mechanical
  • That day racing a thunderstorm up the Rhône Valley


  • Do more bike tours
  • Edit that video