Tour Route

Setting up House

Europe: May-December 2015

On April 28th, 2015, we left our home, possessions, friends, and running trails behind in Portland, Ore. and headed to Seattle, WA for before embarking on a flight to Oslo, Norway, where we would begin our European cycle adventure. Over the following eight months, we covered some 4,200 miles, almost entirely by bicycle (we took a couple trains and ferries here and there), as we made our way to Athens, Greece, by way of the Balkans and Turkey.

Our journey took us through the following 16 countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia,Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece.

As our European journey began to wind down, we realized that we had spent much less money than we had estimated and were not yet ready to head back home, so we decided to take on South America. 

South America: January 2016 – April 2017

Fin del Mundo, Ushuaia

Flying from Athens to Ushuaia, Argentina we began our tour at the end of the world and over 15 months we cycled through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

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23 Comments

  1. So happy I came across your blog! My boyfriend and I are planning a similar adventure. It’s great to read about people doing the same thing as us! We’re from Seattle and leaving next month to tour for the next year. We’re starting our European adventure in Vienna, where we’ll grab the Eurovelo 6. Because of the schengen visa requirements, we had a hard time deciding where to spend 90 days at before going back in. We’ve decided to kill time in the UK, but Turkey was on our list! Look forward to reading more about your adventures! Again, I’m SO happy I came across your blog! Safe travels!

    • We’re happy you came across our blog too, Erika! Sounds like you should have better weather than we are having. Let us know whenyou leave, we may very well be in the same location and would love to meet up. Shengen sure makes traveling slowly tough. Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions!

  2. Hi everybody Nice Blog Glad i found your Blog . Listen iam an American Living in Germany now for Almost 20 years now .if u Need help Or would like to come by That would be Really cool. My wife and will be traveling Holland in our bikes the Last week of August and First week of Sept. We live in Essen Germany its next to Düsseldorf . Contact us if u Want . Hope u have a good Trip .
    Greetings Dave

    • Glad you found us, Dave! Thanks so much for the offer to help us out during our journey. Due to our 90-day Schengen Visa, we unfortunately have to travel a bit faster than we would prefer, which means we won’t be able to stop by and meet you and your wife. Next tour! We hope you guys enjoy your travels through Holland and that the weather cools down for your journey!

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  4. Random questions:
    -Did you bike on the D100 from Edirne to Istanbul? I’m curious how you handled entering the city from the outskirts. It was CRAZY for us and took about 3 hours (at the end of a 12hr ride from Luleburgaz) into Taksim Square
    -Are you in Istanbul now? I badly want to come back and see more of Turkey, Georgia and the Stans.
    Safe travels!

    • Nick! Sorry for the delay in replying. We did NOT take the d100. Instead we went south and took the ferry from Bandirma. We had so many people warn us that we just didn’t want to risk it. We did ride through the city on the way out and nearly crapped our pants.

      As far as where we are, we are still in Turkey in Bodrum. I have not updated our route map yet, I’m getting kinda lazy with winter approaching. We would love to see Georgia and the Stans, but opted for warmer weather in South America. We fly to Patagonia on Jan 7th. How about you? Where are you at?

  5. South America sounds incredible! I’m back in Seattle now and I’m planning my next tour for Iceland in the summer of 2017.
    Yea, biking into Istanbul… Probably the craziest thing we did the whole tour. It ended up turning into a 10 lane super highway and drivers treated like us like we were completely nuts and also, an inconvenience. At one point, we reached our top speed of the ENTIRE trip at 42mph down a giant hill, traveling at roughly the same speed as the cars in the middle of 6pm rush hour traffic. An experience I’ll never forget and also hope to never recreate. Have fun on your journey in Turkey and happy holidays.!

    • Ooh Iceland is hardcore, Nick!

      We opted for the ferry into Istanbul and that was still nuts. We arrived in just in time for both rush hour and sunset. It was complete and utter mayhem. It took us a couple hours to make our way through the traffic and up and over the hills and windy roads to our accommodation. We enjoyed our (bike-free) venture in the city and are very happy that we will never have to ride our bikes there again!

  6. Looks like the best fun! Do you let the dog take a break and sit in the buggy?

    • That day she didn’t take a break! She loved it though – she got to be off leash all day. Normally, she rides along in the trailer or if we’re on low-traffic roads, then she’ll run alongside for up to 20km. We’re long-distances runners, so she’s used to it!

  7. how did you like iquique? i went paragliding there–fun, but i almost puked. 🙂 if you’re still in the area, go to the hot springs in pica!

    • We are really enjoying Iquique! We were so surprised to pedal into this San Diego-like city, filled with bike lanes and dogs on leashes, and great weather. We actually just returned from Pica today (5/31) and visited the hot springs, but didn’t go in. We went fat biking instead. 🙂

  8. Hi guys! Love following the adventure! Dash sends his best too

  9. Hi! My husband and I are on a European cycle tour right now. We are in Czech and at Linz are trying to decide if we should head to Vienna or instead take this Alpe Adria route down to Grado. I’ve downloaded the app for the route but unfortunately it seems there isn’t any camping along it? Did you guys camp along the way or just get hotels? Did you find they weren’t booked and reasonable? We are also vegan and trying to make sure we will be able to find food along the way! Thanks <3

    • Hi KM,

      There are definitely camp spots available along the Alpe Adria. I don’t think we spent many nights inside if at all. The route map does give you segments to follow on a daily basis and I remember we were able to find campgrounds. As far as vegan food goes, we found vegan options plentiful. The DM chain has a lot of vegan options and the SPAR grocery store had premade cookies and chocolate covered rice crackers amongst other options. The Kebab houses also offered veggie falafel options too. The Alpe Adria ride is fantastic and one of the highlights of my cycle journey. Keep in mind that camping in Italy after Grado is insanely expensive. We paid over $45 to camp one night. After that we started looking at other cheaper accommodations like hostels as they were cheaper. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Thank you so much for all the help. We decided to do the route, in Salzburg now and I am happily eating some Spar version of Nutella haha 🙂

        • Hooray! We loved Salzburg and if you like beer, check out the Augustinerbräu. It’s old style brewery with a massive garden and large steins. Well worth it.

  10. I am planning a european trip with my dog. I would like to do as much off road as possible so he is free to run. Did you do much off road. How did you find touring with a trailer and a loaded bike. How do you find good routes either on or off road.

    • We did occasional off road in Europe. With our set up, it’s quite difficult. Our bikes don’t have the right tires and the trailer is tough to navigate over gravel roads. That said, it’s doable, if you have wider tires and your dog is athletic enough to run on the tough sections. We use Maps.Me or OSMAND to find routes, and talk to other cyclists or read routes on blogs. We figure it out day by day for the most part. Where in Europe are you planning to go?

  11. Hi, my partner and I are planning a cycle tour – our plans went from riding from home (UK) to New Zealand… To planning a route either down through Alaska or East-West across Canada to Banff, then following the Great Divide route and continuing on through Central and then South America… However, we ended up fostering and then adopting a dog. She’s a collie and happily runs alongside us when we go mountainbiking. I’ve just bought her a trailer so will have to see how that goes. A friend who walks her frequently has offered to look after her while we go away but I just keep feeling that it won’t be right to leave her and that we should be taking her along, hence the trailer purchase.

    Now I’m thinking though that our route plan would need to change. My main worry being Tilly (our dog) + bears = we are all get eaten (as she would likely bark and growl at said bear)… So now we’re thinking to take advantage of Europe being on our doorstep and go exploring there but seeing your South American travels make me think, we could still go there. I am vegan and Colin works at sea half the time (where he eats what he’s given by the cook) but at home is mostly vegan, sometimes lapsing to vegetarian.

    Stumbling on your blog gave me the inspiration and belief that it could be possible to take Tilly on our adventure but also manage with a vegan diet. It’s funny, even the idea of writing vegan camp food recipes was one I’d had, but you have laid the path for me and given me a lot more confidence. Any other advice or confidence-instillation would be much appreciated! We would like to do as much off-road as we can so will be looking at getting expedition bikes although, as you’ve already said, the trailer could be an issue!

    Thanks,
    Lucy 🙂

    • Lucky Lucy,

      So much to reply to and thanks for joining our journey. Let’s start with the semi-humorous one, bears.

      Bears?! As much as I want to be serious about your concern (and it is a semi-valid concern in certain parts of the world), bears are the last thing I worry about when cycling touring. You’re considerably more likely to encounter crazy ass drivers in Peru and the Balkans, a thief in the night, or getting a horrible stomach bug than bears eating your family. Maybe in Alaska or parts of Russia? 🙂 To be fair, Bears scare the hell out of me too and I’ve had some sleepless nights campaign in the States because of my bear paranoia. After 16 months of traveling, Bears are not even close to my top 40 worries.

      As for your Tilly, bring HER/HIM/IT with you! You won’t regret it for one second. Yes, finding a room in a hostel can sometimes be tough, yes, you’ll constantly be looking and buying extra dog food, and YES, people will ask you many questions, BUT the undeniable benefits of traveling with all that extra fur far outweigh the negatives.

      Here is my take on Tilly running alongside vs being in the trailer. The trailer is considerably faster and easier on the dog. Dogs generally can’t keep a cycling pace for 8 hours in a day. Of course, a Collie or herder is bred to go full Rambo all day and still have enough energy to herd the cats in at night, BUT sometimes the roads are crap, the drivers are crap, the heat is difficult, there is too little water, or whatever reason the gods are against it. In my opinion, and I tell this to all people who adopt a dog and want to cycle, GET A TRAILER. Especially if you’re riding on roads, it is the safe and responsible choice. If you’re only going to do trail riding, you can get away without having a trailer, BUT what happens when you’re done with the trails and need to use the regular road? How do you get to the next trail? Do you get on a bus? Something else to consider is that hostels/hotels/people are much more likely to let you and your dog stay with them if you present your pup in a trailer. They think the dog is cleaner and well-behaved and not a street dog looking to chew their furniture. Now in your case, wanting to do more trail riding is certainly an option in South America, but keep in mind, the climbs are big, the roads can be shat, and finding food isn’t always the easiest. And I know plenty of people that do it with very light bikes and gear, let alone a dog and their food. One option would be to ship your trailer by bus from one location to the next, while you hit the trails. I’ve been told this is possible and fairly inexpensive in South America. In Europe, there are far fewer trails and way more bike infrastructure, not mention cost prohibitive to ship a trailer around. The other option is to only plan your routes based on trails and travel by back gravel roads. We let Sora run along side on most gravel roads because they are slow, have few cars, and generally are safe. You can always have Tilly run along side when it is safe, even with a trailer. Whew, lots to think about.

      Veganism is easier on the road than we thought it was going to be. We converted from veggie to vegan in Croatia en route to Turkey and have not looked back. In the beginning I had day dreams of pizza and pastries, but eventually learned to love and appreciate when I came across a vegan restaurant or a place that served my kinda food. In Europe, Vegan food is everywhere, in SA, not so much. The bigger cities will have up and coming vegan scenes and the food is cheap, BUT you won’t find vegan cheese substitutes, most of the bread has eggs or milk, and everyone will stare at you when you say “no comemos productos de animales. No leche, queso, huevos, carnes, o manteca.” You can do it and just be prepared that sometimes (I’m looking at you Bolivia) your food selection will be limited and that it is part of the adventure. It’s all about perspective.

      Let me know if you’ve got any more questions or need more advice. We’re happy to do a Skype session too!

      -Dave

      ps- do you have much cycle touring experience? Europe will be far easier than South America, though the cost is far higher too.

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