We’ve had a bit of a game-changer moment, flipped the plan on it’s head, given Ellie’s mum a shock, and made our adventure a bit more…. adventurey. Those with access to our tracker page may of noticed that we’ve been a tad inactive for some days. It all started in Nuremberg sat in a hotel planning our way forward, with focus being on getting to the roof of the world (aka Pamir Highway)
Our plans had already been slightly scuppered by the coup in Turkey and UK citizens still being unable to get independent travel visas for Iran. We had adapted for this, we could get a train across Turkey and then a ship across the Caspian to Kazakhstan.
However, this form of transport would be a damn sight quicker than our 50km a day bike rides. The average Pamir temperature in January is -15c to -20c. In the spring time there is the risk of landslides – I assume from the snow melt. Ideally, unless you’re super hardcore, the best time is between May and August.
At our current rate we were looking to be on the Pamir highway in December, assuming no change in the situation in Turkey and Iran. The way we looked at it we had the following options:
1: Stay longer in eastern Europe
2: Try and get workaway (Working for bed and board, no wages)
3: Try and work in Greece
4: Do a sub-tour
The easiest of these options would of been to continue touring in eastern Europe. But, it would still be winter and we would still be chipping away at our savings. Generally a risk of either running out of money in Europe or spending more money getting our heavy bikes back – due to being further east.
Workaway would be a fun experience, we wouldn’t lose money but we wouldn’t gain any. Finally, working in Greece when we don’t speak any Greek would be an ambitious target. Neither of these guarantee work either, putting our savings at risk.
You can see where we’re going with this.
Getting high in Europe
Quite a dubious title for an adventure, but we like it. The plan is simple, swap our touring bikes for road bikes and go chasing alpine climbs. We’ve travelled back on coaches and trains to the UK, it took 21 hours.
In a week will fly out to Athens and then cycle home again. Our touring bikes swapped for road bikes with bikepacking luggage. We will travel light and upgrade our touring average of 50km a day to an impressive 200km. When we return we will find temporary work over winter before picking our touring trip back up in April/May.
Now some of you may be thinking “But Phil, didn’t you get a place in the TCR which you gave up?”. You’re correct, we did, and we stand by that decision. We did not have the fitness to have a competitive attempt at the race.
We’ve chosen six “checkpoints” which we would like to do, in order they are:
Mount Lovcen – Avg. 4.9%, Max 16%
Vršič Pass – Avg. 8.4%, Max 12.5%
Stelvio Pass – Avg. 7.4%, Max 9.5%
Furka Pass – Avg. 7.3%, Max 11%
L’Alpe d’Huez – Avg. 8.1%, Max 13%
Mont Ventoux – Avg. 7.6%, Max 12%
Streatley Hill – Avg. 8.8%, Max 17%
All climb data sourced from climbbybike.com
Once we have finalised our route we will, of course, share it with you all.
So there we have it, we’ll be filming the entire experience and estimate it to take 3-4 weeks. If you have any suggestions for climbs and/or scenic routes please let us know in the comments, or contact us.