Cycling around Europe sounds incredibly romantic, and yet so few people actually do it. From one city to the next, from one country to another it is a trip that if you do, you will never forget. But is it really possible? The logistics behind such an adventure can become epic in itself. But one man who recently did just that is Paul Ram, and we caught up with him to find out how possible it really is, and how he did it.
Hi Paul, let’s start by you telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m Paul Ram (28) a freelance WordPress developer from Amsterdam who loves to cycle (TourduPisa & TourduGermany) and go on adventures. In 2013 I rode my bike from Amsterdam to Pisa. In 2014 I cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin and back. Completely by myself.
I don’t have a home anymore, don’t have a job anymore, I’m living my dream by going traveling.
You’ve ridden your bike extensively throughout Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Holland and France. What made you start and tell me a bit about your cycling adventures?
On one night with friends they told me they booked a holiday at a caravan park near Pisa. I was looking for a challenge and I figured this was a goal to look forward to. So I said that night I’m gonna ride to Pisa! I liked it so much that this year I cycled again in the summer holidays. I was looking for a place around where I could ride to and back so that way I can save money for a ticket.
How was the weather?
In 2013 it was real good, little hot. Almost everyday 30 to 35 degrees. 2014 it was perfect weather 20 to 25 degrees so that was really good for cycling.
I read that you organised your overnight stays via the website AirBnB. How did that work out for you?
Perfectly, I booked always the day before. One time they never responded. So I had to search for a hostel. But every day I had accommodation sorted for somewhere between only 16 and 22 Euros. Sometimes even with a breakfast included :)
I met nice people, one day a host drove me trough the city for sightseeing and we go out for a dinner, another day I slept in a house they had snakes, once i slept in a trailer and once in a van!
Can you give us a run down on what you carried with you on a daily basis and how did you manage? Did you find your bike weighed you down too much?
In 2013 to Pisa I took way to much! So this year I took less. But still too much. Two friends of my visited me in Berlin for sightseeing and party. So this year I give some stuff to them to take back. Below you’ll find a summary of stuff i took. Here’s a tip for your readers: in 2013 i made a list, so in 2014 i could reuse that list, deleting the things I decided I did not require.
- Some locks
- Puncture repair kits
- Spare tubes
- Multi tool
- Additional key bike lock
- Bicycle pump
- Bicycle – duh!
- Camping plug
- Teasi One & Charger (GPS navigation)
- Phone & charger
- Phone battery pack
- Go Pro camera & charger
General traveling stuff:
- Credit Card
- Pen and paper
- Protein powders
Plus the general clothing (rain jackets, cycling kits, etc) for the entire trip.
Did you have any issues mechanically?
Surprisingly nothing, apart from one flat tyre in 4000km. I cycled trough cities party area with glass etc. Cycled on mountain bike trails but i was really pleased with my big tires.
For an Australian, considering cycling around Europe sounds very romantic but it being on the other side of the world, with road systems that are different, riding on the wrong side of the road, different cultures, different currencies, different languages etc – it sometimes becomes a monster that is often on the “bucket list” but too often in the “too hard basket” at the same time. If you were to give some advice for our Aussie readers considering doing a cycle tour around Europe what would it be?
Do it! Europe is small so you can see a lot! I think you need to know your limits and what you could do in one day. Try to make a route so there’s time to look around. Its easy to ride near a river uphill, climbing is not that hard. Of allthe places I’ve seen I like Switzerland the most. Mountains, blue lakes, climbing – the only draw back is that it’s expensive. I have some English cycling friends who rode around Croatia and the Czech Republic. That looked awesome as well.
Last tip, in Europe they are creating a cycle network online, called EuroVelo (http://www.eurovelo.org). Strangely enough its not that famous… yet.
What’s next for Paul Ram?
My biggest dream comes true, I’ll be going backpacking in South East Asia and South America. You can follow me on my blog gobackpackgo.com Don’t be shy to contact or follow me!
When will we see you coming to Australia? Is a ride from Sydney to Melbourne on the cards soon?
Not yet, the trip to Asia and South America is over one year. But when there is time enough I’ll see the whole world. You never know!
Thanks for your time Paul, it’s been a pleasure.
Thank you Mr Cycling World!