Sewing is going slow for me this week, and I have nothing to update on. It might be because I’m working on about 4 things at the same time, so progress is snail-like on all of them, and none of them actually get done. Hmm, perhaps I should change my strategy here…

For a different topic, I’ve been thinking about biking. I really want to push myself to ride more this spring and summer, and I’ve been gathering inspiration to help me. There’s nothing like the prospect of a bicycle trip in France to get you pedaling in preparation! Of course, I acknowledge that most of these trips are a bit out of my reach right now, but someday is the key word here. 

1) Camino de Santiago, Spain, 500 miles, about 2 weeks

I told Jesse about this trip the first time we ever met. He promised to go with me. I expect him to keep that promise. The Camino is an ancient pilgrimage route snaking across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela, where the bones of St. James are buried. By getting a pilgrim’s credentials wayfarers can stay in small alburgues along the way, and either hike or bike the roughly 800km (500m). Biking takes about 2 weeks, way more information here.

2) Portland to San Francisco, 700 miles, over 2 weeks.

This trip is Jesse’s plan, but I’m game for it as well! It’s actually longer and arguably rougher than the Camino, covering about 700 miles and tackling the rugged mountains of southern Oregon and northern California. Bikers play hide-and-seek with the Pacific Coast as you make your way down Highway 101. One big advantage of this ride is that my sister lives in San Francisco, so when we’re freezing in our leaky tents and our thighs are burning from pedaling, at least we know we have a guaranteed shower and warm bed to look forward to. This gentleman kept a journal of his trip.

3) Eurovelo 6

Europe has been working hard on a giant system of well-maintaned, mapped bike routes crossing the continent. Check out this map: it’s impressive.

For a route to be part of EuroVelo it must:

  • have no gradient above 6%
  • be wide enough for two cyclists
  • have an average of no more than 1,000 motorised vehicles a day
  • be sealed for 80% of its length
  • be open 365 days a year, have provision points every 30 km (19 mi), accommodation every 50 km (31 mi), and public transport every 150 km (93 mi).

Provision every 19 miles? Accomodation every 30 miles? Sounds like my kind of bike trip. There are countless routes to choose from, but I have my eye on the Euro Velo 6–I will admit that it might be because of this fantastic website. Starting on the Atlantic Coast in France, this route runs the 4000 km (2,600m) through the middle of Europe: France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, and Romania. It could take 1-2 months to do the whole thing, but one leg at a time, with plenty of stops for wine and cheese, is something I can definitely do.

Besides that, there’s Thailand, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Scotland, Morrocco, and more. I’m convinced that pretty much anywhere that’s great to visit is great to ride a bike in.

All these ideas are coming from the woman who isn’t even riding the 4 miles to work because “it’s cold and wet outside.” 2,000 miles across Europe sounds like a bit of a stretch from where I am right now. But hey, I’ve got to start somewhere. This weekend, you can find me at Portland’s own Tweed Ride: tweed, pipes, mustaches (including Jesse’s!), tea, dapper people and lovely bikes will abound. It’s a lot closer than France and (dare I say?) a lot more fashionable. Click the photo for more info, and perhaps I’ll see you there, my good fellow!