The prestigious university town of Cambridge oozes in solomn and historic academic achievement yet it’s River Cam, that runs through the heart of Cambridge and along the backs of the colleges, juxtoposes this with crowded punts, cheerful yells, clumsy feet and sunny hilarity. We spent two nights here, and loved every minute of it.
The Marmot Tungsten 3 Person is a sturdy and spacious 3-season tent, yet light enough for bike touring and that sweet harmonious balance of weight vs. livability. When your tent becomes your home nothing is better than knowing that you will be warm, your belongings dry and a comfortable night’s sleep is at the ready.
Without even looking for them we would regularly come upon cycling route signs while bike touring in England. From converted rail tracks, to quiet back roads to river paths we would favour these routes instead road cycling and competing with trucks and buses. The UK’s National Cycle Network stretches over 14,000 miles across the length and breath of the UK and is based on the theory that if a cycle route is well-built, it becomes well used. We can definitely vouch that most of the tracks we came across were spectacular!
After eight nights of continuous travelling, camping and Warmshowers, mostly in the rain, we were only one day’s ride from a long break with friends in Aughton. We set off in good weather taking some detours to sightsee. The sky looks deceiving sunny in this picture. It was sunny for about half an hour with rain settling in for the rest of the day and continuing for the next week.
Heading to the west coast of England our next pit stop was Malmesbury.
We swung into Oxford where our next Warmshowers host, Stanley, was waiting on the steps of his place. Stan had so kindly offered his sitting room for us to bunk down. The house was a student rental with four levels, one level just of bathrooms, and kitchen cupboards stacked with a mish-mash of jilted pots, plates and mugs left behind from bygone students.
Our EasyJet from Rome flew in at 1am to Luton Airport, and despite the early hour we were psyched to begin our next leg on the trip, our loop around England. We had organised a Warmshowers stay with Sam and Anna, but we weren’t meeting up with them until 10am. This gave us a good amount of time to build the bikes, grab breakfast and check out the centre of Luton before arriving at their place.
Bike touring may be one of the lightest ways to travel but it is still easy to misplace items. Especially when there are two people setting and breaking camp virtually every day, or needing items immediately like raingear in a storm, electrical chargers for a coffee shop stop, bike tools for punctures or even first aid. We all know no one packs the same as each other!
For our last day together in Rome our good friends John and Jess had organised one last jaunt which involved my absolute favourite subject in any country: Food. A walking food tour of Roman specialities to be exact.
Picture yourself car shopping in the 60’s. It’s the height of the Mini Cooper’s popularity but the Mini is just a little bit too big for you. What do you do? Buy a Fiat 500 of course, or Fiat Bambina as it is affectionately known.
What do you do when you meet up with friends? Drink, eat, chat, and bounce from one sidewalk cafe to another, as the hours disappear along with the sun. And repeat!
Piaggio, maker of the Italian icon the Vespa scooter, also make a vehicle known as the Ape. Not as in gorilla, Ape is Italian for Bee.
We landed in Bari with nine days to get ourselves to Rome, to meet friends on the tail end of their own European vacation. Awoken to the chatter of Italian passengers observing me snoring on the ship floor, I knew we had arrived.
Our last days in Dubrovnik were slow and lazy, making the most of the beach weather. We would usually start the day with tea which always came with honey and lemon instead of milk.
Cycling in Croatia is hugging the white line with no shoulder, sweat dripping down your nose, climbing hills and getting cramps in your fingers from grabbing the breaks. It also has an incredible landscape, rocky and mountainous, with tiny bays, fishing villages, and gorgeous beaches one after the other filled with restaurants serving freshly grilled seafood.