A year has passed since I started this website in April 2012.
So far, 29 bike routes across 11 European countries have been published in the French section, totalling 22’091 kilometers. These itineraries can be classified as follows :
– 6 international routes, of which 5 are long distance (13’661 km)
– 7 medium and long distance routes in France (6339 km)
– 8 medium and short distance routes in Switzerland (1510 km)
– 5 day tours in the Geneva/Switzerland-France area (413 km)
– 3 MTB tours in Valais/Swiss Alps (168 km)
The eleven countries are : Switzerland, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Denmark and Norway.
But although I tried to work as often as possible, there’s still much to do – and especially regarding the English version of the website for which nothing has been done until now.
There are several reasons for that situation.
First of all, as French is my mother tongue, it is a lot easier for me to publish in this language and then translate into English. But until now I did not find enough time to just map all already travelled routes on bikemap.net. As one can imagine, I spend most of my free days out biking or hiking, instead of sitting in front of my computer screen.
Then, I’m actually scanning the slides I made during travels, scientific and humanitarian missions dating back to years 1986-2003. This takes A LOT of time (270 hours for 1800 slides in HD) and doesn’t allow me to work on the computer while it is used by the scanner. And I still have 2700 images to digitize…
Another reason is that I did not know anything about building a website and had to learn from zero, with the appreciated help of my friend Fabrice Cortat (lots of thanks to him). Unfortunately, the free and open source blogging tool that I’m using (WordPress) is not as easy to learn and efficient as one may think. In particular, if you don’t own basic knowledge about php code you cannot customize your website without the help of various plugins. These are being developed by numerous authors and once installed get integrated into your WordPress software, eventually bringing the mess into your website. Moreover, never ending plugin and WordPress updates are a real hassle and often result in uncompatibilities and lost functionality, wich make me lose my time trying to restore to stable previous version from my backups.
I had hoped that freeware and open-source developers would not behave like the software industry, by being satisfied with a working and stable version of their software and avoiding the unending rush for new junk features… Because our purpose is to publish non-commercial content and not to spend ages playing with tools !
This aspect sometimes drives me away from my computer for days, because I just can’t cope with this mentality. But luckily, a bicycle ride in the wild usually restores my patience and provides me with new projects for the website.
At this time, these projects are :
– complete 25 of the 29 already published routes with text, photos and downloadable Excel file ;
– map and publish the last medium and long distance routes, as well as mountain bike tours already travelled ;
– write down articles about each country, focusing on cycle routes, secondary road network, public transport policy regarding travellers with a bike, overnight facilities, food, prices and personal appreciations ;
– add new local, MTB and long distance routes whenever they are travelled.
Unfortunately, for the time being, these projects concern the French section of the website. I apologize to my english-speaking visitors for not being able to guarantee a short-term translation of all this. Nevertheless, I will try to make your search for a bike route more efficient by writing another article with very short descriptions and clear links to the already published itineraries in the French section. Detailed maps, figures and photos do not need to be translated and will provide you with the information you may be looking for.
Finally, a search on Google will return many websites in English about travelling by bike, which is not the case with French. Here are some links that I have in my bookmarks, but whose authors I don’t know :
Bicycle Travels, A chronicle of my cycling adventures in different countries around the world (Europe, Australia, USA)
Cycletourer (mostly Northern Europe)
Europe Bicycle Touring (Western Europe)