It’s just three days until I leave Kyiv and start pedalling. I’m slightly nervous, but also quite excited and looking forward to finally starting, even if the weather is set to be stupidly hot next week .
Anyway, when I mention my trip, many people think I’m crazy, some think I wont make it and others who think it’ll be easy. “Cycling to Odessa? meh – it’s nothing” they say.
At different points, often all within a single day, I have believed all of these things.
When I don’t want to do it or I allow my self to think of all the things that could go wrong – I think I’m crazy. When I’m exhausted after some less-than-serious training – I think I will give up after 5 days, and when I’m zipping around forest paths near Kyiv in the sunshine, or when I’m trying to convince others that its a good idea – I’m 100% sure that everything will be fine. The truth is however, I have no idea what will happen or how hard (or not) it will be.
I have never done any serious cycling let alone anything that involves a tent, and I don’t know any serious long-distance cyclists either. The closest thing I’ve done to this is probably a 10-day hike around Mt Blanc, but that was only 10 days and it was exhausting and I just followed my much fitter and much more experienced family.
So, if I don’t have any idea what will happen, why am I doing it? What inspired me?
Well, here are a few reasons I have collected over the past few weeks when pondering the question:
- It’s summer and I need a summer holiday.
- The Danube is an iconic European river and it weaves right through the heart of the continent. Among other places, it winds through Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade so, thanks to various party-boats in each of those places, I have partied on the river, but never followed it.
- It winds through a part of Europe that fascinates me and which I know quite well, but only by train and only as a visitor to the main towns and cities.
- I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a Danube adventure since one of our Belgian professors explained how he sailed from the UK to the Black sea (and on to Turkey) …mostly along the Danube.
- I haven’t done any long, solo travelling for a few years, I miss it and it might be the last chance I get for a while.
- It will be a good test to see if I can really work and travel at the same time.
- I read somewhere that they built a cycle path all the way along the river and called it EV6.
Why by bike?
- Why not?
- It’s faster than walking, more enjoyable than swimming and cheaper than buying a boat.
- Cycling is a bit like riding a horse, but without all the shit.
- Someone built a cycle path along a whole river!
Well, I have spent most of my adult life travelling in Europe and I’m far from finished.
…and why so far East?
It’s true that I could have taken the more popular EV6 from its start in France, through Western Europe and finished in Budapest, that would have meant going through Austria …and why the hell would I want to go through Austria when I could go through Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania?