Log

Submitted by jono on 30 Sep 2019.

I am sad and grateful, fighting back tears through a smile. The final leg by bicycle, to Grense Jakobselv and the open Barents Sea was completed on Friday. The weather window was short but ideal. I took my usual bike and trailer rig, with a few extra celebratory supplies, and Helene provided the company and local knowledge. These are a very special last 60km: arctic vegetation struggles to hold onto 2.6 billion year old rock, half the age of the earth. At last a true sense of wilderness and silence.

Submitted by jono on 25 Sep 2019.

Post from Kirkenes in Norway, where I arrived yesterday. One more cycle to reach the Norway-Russia border, from where I set sail from in May 2017. But the anticipated euphoria of completion has slipped away just as it was coming into reach.

Instead - since peeling away from the Baltic - my companions have been a gentle melancholy and a rising anxiety.

Submitted by jono on 21 Sep 2019.

Finland is beautiful and the people too, and it feels like a betrayal to post this, but having highlighted trash elsewhere, I can't ignore it here. The count was two days back.

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Submitted by jono on 13 Sep 2019.

Wow! I just checked progress and see that there is only about 1000km to go until the loop is closed. That really seems like nothing. Finland - which at first glance seemed quite enormous - already has a large chunk to the south.

Submitted by jono on 28 Aug 2019.

A ferry hop to Muha, a causeway to Saaremaa... The main island is bigger than I had realised - four times the area of Menorca and one-third the population of my reference isle. Long empty forest roads give time to think. A road sign alerts to the possibility of elk. The islanders are welcoming of visitors: cycle routes are marked, points of interest indicated These are flat islands. 20m constitutes a mighty cliff. The sea is shallow and warm at this time of year, but come winter may freeze and link the islands - roughly 900 of them - by ice.

Submitted by jono on 21 Aug 2019.

A bit of routine maintenance was planned whilst passing through Latvia's capital city. It seemed a good place to replace the tyres which had become worn treadless and were perhaps becoming liable to cuts / splits. It would be a real nuisance to write off a tyre far from a major town, and once into Finland am not expecting to find many of those...

Submitted by jono on 03 Aug 2019.

Poland pictures. Some postcards with enough scribbled to count as an update too. Not mentioned is how small the continent feels. It seems only a very short while ago that I was on the Aegean coast and now I am looking ahead for a route to the Baltic (a route that bypasses the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad).

Submitted by jono on 29 Jul 2019.

Those following on Facebook you will see that I am posting some video updates. I find these quite an ordeal. If I look closely, and usually I do, the clips I record seems so lightweight and unfocussed. Occasionally, I share a clip. There was a medicine I took as a kid and the scent of its flavouring made me wretch long before it had even neared my mouth. The thought, act and memory of posting video updates brings a degree of discomfort not quite so extreme, but in that direction.

Submitted by jono on 16 Jul 2019.

Serbia goes flat in the north, and big agriculture extends for miles in all directions. Easy cycling, though less inspiring than the mountains, and typically a headwind comes in the afternoons. Regular little towns and occasional fruit trees offer resupply opportunities. The bigger towns are interesting and enjoyable, and far enough apart that it makes sense to linger a while. At Kikinda, for example, the football club are kind enough to let me use their showers, and it is fun to pass by bike shop, bakery, and town square cafes.

Submitted by jono on 07 Jul 2019.

EuroVelo weaves about either side of the what was the Iron Curtain. There is great variety. The route mostly keeps away from major through routes but after the big hydro dam that is a border crossing point into Romania there is a 10k horror section with heavy trucks inches away... Mostly though, its very well done and ideal for an 'adventure bike', with a nice mix of surfaces and very little traffic. Scenery is frequently stunning. The Danube section is popular with anglers. The Romanian side is a disgrace of junk left by angler campers.