5 Jun 2011

• 2580 miles (official distance according to us, GPS wasn't on for a couple of hours)
• 0 punctures
• 4 deformed calves (plural of calf? nobody here knows)

We rolled into Istanbul this morning destroyed after turkey made us fight for the last four days to get here. We left the black sea expecting a big day over the mountains into turkey. The mountains duly delivered and we sweatily crossed the border expecting it to be downhill into Kirklareli, it wasn't. We ploughed on regardless and were rewarded with a rubbish town where we were greeted by a dump of a "hotel". The beauty of staying in horrible places is that you get away nice and promptly in the morning. Turkey day 2 was considerably nicer although shrouded by the nagging doubt that we would need to sleep in another flea pit. As it turned out Saray is fine and we spent the afternoon researching how to cycle into Istanbul while maintaining all our limbs. We had dinner in a fast food restaurant where the owner was so pleased to see us he took a photo and gave us a copy.

Yesterday was a monster, 13.5 hours on the bikes including multiple hills, a broken down tank (the driver looked suitably embarrassed to be overtaken by two heavily laden cyclists), brand new roads, very old very broken roads we shared with about 1000 trucks ferrying building materials to build the new roads, roadkill snakes and an unhelpful 2.5 hour frantic search for a hotel in northern Istanbul as the sun went down. It made finishing this morning even sweeter.

Dog update: in turkey they feed the stray dogs meaning they are bigger and scarier than in Romania and Bulgaria but also a little less likely to chase you. We still had to utilise a few rocks though.

We spent this morning cycling down the Bosphoros and into Sultanahemet where much photoing and back slapping ensued.

Thank you to everyone who sponsored us. We love you all.

Ed & Lizzie

P.s Lizzie would like to clarify that it is Ed's calf in the photo (bit of leg not baby cow)

Location:Istanbul, turkey

At 8:40 this morning we arrived. Hungry, tired and exhausted.

More interesting thoughts to follow.

Ed & Lizzie

Location:Ayasofya, Istanbul

30 May 2011

We've been taking our time coming down the black sea coast because it's supposed to be nice. Some of it is nice, some of it looks like somebody built 14 multi-storey car parks next to each other on the beach 25 years ago and hasn't returned since. We stayed in the worst campsite of our trip last night - nobody had cut the grass or cleaned the toilet block since I've been alive. The only thing thriving there were Mosquitos, dogs and a 76 year old german man we met who was driving around Europe in a Nissan micra with a tent on top (he was loving life).

We are currently staying in an enormous out of season hotel where the electricity only works some of the time. To get to our room we had to be escorted through pitch black corridors. Hopefully the sun will come out soon and light up the room.

We are going to stay here a couple of days and then head into turkey for the last part of the trip. The next bit is going to be very hilly so we are shedding weight - our maps have been sent home, my sleeping bag has been thrown away (10 years reasonable service), the gas has gone the same way, might even get Lizzie to cut my hair.


Ps. The Bulgarians weren't very happy that berbatov wasn't playing in the champions league final. From what we could make out the commentary was mostly about how much better man u would be doing with him in the team.

Location:Tsarevo, Bulgaria

25 May 2011

Somewhere in this rubbish photo you can see that we've reached the sea. We went for a celebratory dip, turns out the black sea is pretty chilly in may.

Having turned right out of Romania we went down a bit and then across to the sea. I don't know what Bulgaria is made of but I don't think there is a single flat bit of land in the place. It's been a very sweaty couple of days.

I saw a Bulgarian man with an interesting method for clearing stray dogs yesterday. He shot his gun into the ground and they all ran for it. He then looked far too pleased with himself - the owner of the petrol station he was stood next to looked less pleased with him.

Gibbo - in response to your last comment the solar panels are working nicely, more so when it's sunny. It takes about 8 hours for a full charge and it looks kick ass covering your bike in all sorts of gadgetry as you ride. Although the best bit of gadgetry we've seen was in Vienna where a guy had a satellite dish outside his tent - one day.


Location:Varna, Bulgaria

23 May 2011

Once we emerged from the Iron Gate gorge Romania was a mix of villages full of storks nesting on the telegraph poles, carts being plodded along by miserable looking donkeys and lots of people wishing to say hi, and towns encircled with derelict factories with not much improvement once you'd reached the centre.

Ed has enjoyed me cooing over the thousands of ducks and chicks that line the streets of villages with the added bonus that the chicks mean someone has done something to the dogs.

A little known fact about Romania is you may greet fellow road users in most European languages. Hola seemed to go down well.

We passed 2000 miles on Saturday and celebrated with a snickers.

Crossed the mighty Danube for the last time and arrived in Bulgaria this afternoon. Two days' ride to the Black Sea and a dip is eagerly anticipated.


Location:Ruse, Bulgaria

17 May 2011

Stayed in a 1 star hotel last night in Bela crkva. Crossed the border into romania earlier and within minutes were being chased up a 12% gradient by a pack of stray dogs. The scenery was immense, the Danube passes through a huge gorge winding around enormous cliffs and woodland. Accommodation looks to be an issue in Romania, we spent the best part of 30 miles looking for anywhere to stay. The dog problem was resolved by following a german man on a bike armed with pepper spray and rocks, the views were good though:

Location:Dubova, romania

15 May 2011

We left Budapest in a blaze of traffic, below average navigation and main roads. 3.5 hours later we were clear and still just about on talking terms. The day didn't get much better. We were aiming for a campsite near a town called Kesckemet (in Hungarian this means goat place so why wouldn't you visit). After 8 hours cycling we arrived at the place the campsite was marked on the map. There was a sign off the road, promising. We pushed the bikes for 200m up a sand path before agreeing I'd check the place on foot while Lizzie guarded her bike and my collection of junk that passes as a bike. About 1km up the path I entered a farm with all the trappings of a campsite (empty swimming pool, overgrown patch of grass, portaloo) and shouted hello at the 3 people standing around looking like campsite people. Upon seeing me they did nothing except watch as their 3 vicious dog beasts chased me off their land, a foot race I only won because one of the hounds was chained to the gatepost. Never go to Keskemet.

The next day was great. We had a great ride including a 10 mile bike path across the Hungarian countryside and found a campsite where dogs were banned.

Yesterday we crossed the border into Serbia. The first time we have shown our passports since Dover. It was also the first time we've cycled on a motorway. Thanks to the unique policy of closing all Borders not on main roads cyclists get the pleasure of cruising a mile down the motorway before standing for half an hour in a queue of cars and then have the border guards debate our chances of getting to Istanbul. Between us we speak no serbian, the only word we've picked up so far is that hallo appears to mean goodbye. Despite this, having entered Serbia we stepped on it and covered 98 miles yesterday. On the plus side north east serbia is very flat, on the down side we have no map and although our map of Romania nominally covers this area it doesn't seem to do it with any kind of accuracy.

We are going to a town called Bela Crkva tomorrow on the Serbia-Romania-Bulgaria border. A town whose major attraction appears to be the tourist information office.


Location:Zrenjanin, Serbia

11 May 2011


Sat in a cafe in Budapest and who rocks up.


Nailed Slovakia in a day. They like concrete in Bratislava. The buildings are concrete, the paths are concrete, the bins are concrete, I suspect even the Internet is made of concrete. Anyway we didn't stick around and headed straight for Hungary where they have tescos, a lot of tescos.

The back end of my bike is slowly falling apart, in France the rack fell off, in Austria the derailleur fell off and in Hungary during some basic maintenance I managed to destroy my back brake. After cycling for three days with just the front one I decided to get it fixed in Budapest. Cycled all over town looking for a bike shop before stumbling across an old man fixing bikes at the side of the road. 10 minutes later, after some huffing and puffing and bashing it with a spanner he had completely destroyed it, for which he kindly charged me nothing. While cycling back considering the option of cycling through Romania and Bulgaria with one brake I found a bike shop about 200m from our campsite. Couldn't work out if I was annoyed, overjoyed or just embarrassed, anyway the brake now works.

While I was away Lizzie bumped in to Tim Westwood who kindly pimped her bike, I was surprised he stopped at an engine and a spare seat and didn't even consider any pegs or spokey dokeys.

Going to Serbia in a couple of days. Don't suspect there will be much Internet until we hit the black sea.



5 May 2011

Half way

Strewth, we were blown into Vienna two days ago, flying along the Danube Island at 22 mph, the
embattled faces of cyclists going the other way accompanying the view.

Opted to stay in the campsite conveniently sandwiched between vienna's answer to spaghetti junction and its mainline railway - a one night only special.

Passau to Vienna has an impressively high castle and colossal abbey count set among the hills, regularly interrupted by random umleitungs to circumvent never ending road/bike path works. A stunning ride though.

In other good news, the straggly mess on Ed's face has gone for the time being, the before photo is below for any interested.

To savour Vienna's delights and lagers a few days off the bikes are being enjoyed before we get on with the next 1250 miles.


Location:Vienna, Austria

30 Apr 2011

We passed 1000 miles yesterday and those crazy royals stole all the limelight. The germans love the royal wedding, half of them we meet cant believe that we didnt fly home for it. Anyway thanks to william and katie for the free day off, we celebrated your wedding by doing some more cycling.

We stayed in Ulm over Easter, the city where Albert Einstein was born, they´ve commemorated this awesome fact by opening a bread museum. We been following the Danube east all week and have again suffered from campsite non-existence, we were forced to sleep in a couple of pub bier gartens during the week, which to be honest wasnt the end of the world. On our ride to Passau we passed 1000 miles and celebrated with a spot of lunch.

We cross the border into Austria tomorrow. Germany has been good to us, bike paths everywhere, great coffee and cake shops and people more impressed that we had 3 months off work than the fact we were cycling to Istanbul. Only improvements I would make if I was granted an audience with Mrs Merkel would be to recommend that you dont need to ring the town hall bell every 15 minutes through the night and to sell something other than pig to eat.

auf wiedersehen,

23 Apr 2011

Nehmt rucksicht

Not sure what this sign means. Tried to hi- five all men we saw wearing lederhosen but they weren't having any of it.


Location:Ulm, Deutschland

19 Apr 2011

Time for some stats

We've made it to germany and the source of the Danube so it's time for some stats. In 17 days we have cycled 656.8 miles, spent 84 hours and 11 minutes cycling and put the tent up 13 times. Top speed so far clocked has been 32 mph which was coming down a hill into saverne, personal worst speed while attempting to move was an impressive 3.2 mph clocked today while climbing up into the black forest. Make of car we've been most overtaken by is Citroën (imagine this is soon to be Audi). Country most intolerant of cyclist is England (in France drivers would rather drive into each other than cyclists and in Germany you are mainly on your own specific cycle path where cars are banned).

Passing into Germany also means that I have taken over as lead interpreter. In my new role I have decided to teach Lizzie some key words, today's were hallenbad (open air swimming pool), meerschweinschen (guinea pig or hamster not sure which) and schwarzwelderkirschtorte (black forest gâteau) - none have so far proved useful.

We head off down the Danube tomorrow to look at castles and to put the tent up a few more times.


Location:Donaueshingen, Deutschland

13 Apr 2011

French cuisine

Cycling loads means you can eat loads. Yeterday I ate a honey sandwich, a banana and a massive cup of tea for my first breakfast. My second breakfast was a pain au raisin that was bigger than my face ( and my face is pretty big). Lunch was two vaiche qui rit sandwiches, two cereal bars, a load of tuc biscuits, a load of speculoos biscuits and a snickers washed down with some mixed nuts. My pre dinner snack was a quiche, a slice of rhubarb tart and two coffees. Dinner was frankfurter ratatouille served on a heap of Cous cous.

Nyum nyum,



12 Apr 2011

Bonjour mon petit filous

We've made it to verdun through sun, rain, hail, wind and lots of scary dogs. Most campsites are still closed because it is winter on French time. So we're having to ride miles to find places that will have us (82 miles today). Ailments so far include sun burn, back ache, permanently frozen hands and feet, bruised legs and we stink. Highlights so far are cycling on to the ferry first, the quiche in Lorraine, being overtaken by a huge cycle race just outside cambrai and getting loads of respect from other cyclists.

4 Apr 2011

Day 2

Day 2 and we've already covered 4% of the miles, radical. Yesterday was a microcosm of the whole trip:
• I nearly got run over by a bus and then a taxi
• we both got chased by dogs
• I broke my saddle
• Lizzie got shat on by a bird
• we both got sunburnt

We've been here about an hour and already the campsite is as messy as our flat.

Location:Nr Dover

24 Mar 2011

1 week to go and the stress is starting to take it's toll on our appearance.

16 Mar 2011

"At that age, it's one of the worse things in the world to wake up and not see your bike where you left it" -  50 Cent

I assume the age that Mr Cent was talking about is 30.

2 weeks to go, till we go. Might start making the sandwiches.

13 Mar 2011

Weight training this weekend. Took a load of books on a training ride to Slough. Don Quixote, Ulysses, Jenkins on Churchill and Infinite Jest all came along. They had a nice time and commented on the arrival of spring. First of our training rides where we've been able to feel our feet and hands when we got home. Just as well really, we leave in 3 weeks.

7 Mar 2011

sponsor us if you like http://www.bmycharity.com/cycleEurope. Tinie Tempah has.

28 Feb 2011

just broken ridewithgps.com trying to map our route. not good.

18 Feb 2011

Photo courtesy of a scout group as cold and lost as we are.

27 Jan 2011



25 Jan 2011

2500 miles, 2 bikes, 2 people, 2 and a bit months, 2nd April 2011