Why this website ?
Since 2004, I travel exclusively by bicycle. My various journeys allowed me to re-discover some parts of Europe in slow-motion, a continent which I thought I knew because of numerous previous trips, first with my parents and then by train (Inter-Rail).
Now, I don’t bother for destination and leave for the journey itself. I generally decide a global heading and let things happen, according to daily personal wishes, physical condition or prevailing winds. At the end of the trip, there isn’t anything else than happiness about the travelled route, lots of pictures, tiredness… and a railway station, where I catch the train back home.
Inform about travelling by bike
Over the years and following many discussions with people I met on the road, I realized that travelling by bike aroused as much curiosity as apprehension among other travellers. During these conversations, the image of a marginal activity practised only by elite sportsmen was often stronger than the ideal of freedom which a long cyclist journey without precise destination could represent. So I hope I can contribute to provide valuable information to all those who wonder about this way of travelling around the world.
Suggest routes away from motorized traffic
Moreover, although one can more or less easily find guidebooks about travelling by bicycle in Northern Europe, it’s much less obvious regarding the south of the continent – except if you can read Dutch. Knowing that some travellers prefer to follow a given itinerary instead of creating one day after day, I decided to share my own bike routes.
The pertinence of such an itiniative first appeared to me in June 2011, while I was preparing my trip to Scandinavia. I wanted to cycle to Denmark from home and was looking for a safe itinerary to get across Germany – without taking the motorway ! After an unsuccessful search on the web, I spent hours on the German Tourism website and, by putting together sections of various official “Radwege”(¹), finally managed to “build” a continuous route from Saarbrücken in the Southwest all the way to the Danish border – almost 1600 km of unbroken bike route never published before, or just too hard to find.
Stand up against planned environmental devastation
In the end, as we’re all heading for disaster because of the ever-growing greed of a part of humanity, I wish to motivate other citizens to switch to sustainable and eco-friendly mobility. There’s nothing like a long and silent escape along back roads to distance oneself from the continuous bad news and perverted political issues.
On the way towards citizen emancipation and a world rid of the unending economic growth heresy, I wish I can modestly participate to the degrowth of two particularly destructive industries : the fossil fuels and the car industries. As such, each person that I will contribute to take out of a car or plane will represent a small victory for me.
When riding a bicycle, the world is back to real size. Beautiful. Peaceful.
If you don’t trust me, just go on a bridge overlooking a European motorway and watch the end of the world !
Note on language
As most readers would have guessed, my mother language is French. I learned English at school, long ago, but then spoke fairly often during long journeys and work missions abroad – at least until 2003. I’ve changed job and stopped travelling far away, therefore it’s been quite a few years now that I did not practise English and I have obviously lost a lot of my previous knowledge. I’m committed to achieve the best possible translation from French, but of course it won’t be perfect English. Thank you for your understanding and indulgence in this matter.
This website wouldn’t exist without the help and wise advices I received from Fabrice Cortat. I am very grateful to him.
Raphaël Clerici, August 2012
(¹) Travelled German “Radwege”, from South to North : Saar Radweg, Mosel Radweg, Lahntal Radweg, Fulda Radweg, Weser Radweg, Nordseeküsten Radweg, plus a few local cycle paths.