Hello and help: Manchester to Greece, inland route.

I have never called myself a cyclist, and still don't really. I have previously had regular periods where I would cycle into work, and found this mostly enjoyable, but have never really developed it more than that.
Following the death of my son this year however, I am planning to ride his bike (the Cannondale) from Manchester (his home) to Lefkada in Greece (my home), both as a fund and awareness raising exercise. Starting next year I am currently in the planning / training stages and looking for support to develop any helpful routes / strategies...
I have started training in Lefkada with some friends that have completed the route from London to Lefkada previously, but my journey will be very different. I plan not to take a ferry (other than crossing the channel) so everything will be over land, plus I am going to be creating a media campaign that will require me to attend interviews etc. along the way.
The basic premise of my ride will be to talk and ride with women specifically who have lost a family member throughout the journey. I will also stop at various prearranged points along the way for women to join in who can not ride themselves but would like to participate in the talking aspect.
What I am really looking for then are routes that will take me closer to my destination in any country that people are aware of that would be good for fairly novice cyclists, plus any good stop points (cafes/bars/parks etc.) that would welcome a group of chatty women. Any help will be gratefully received, and in return I will keep everyone up to date with the event planning and outcomes along the way.
Thanking everyone in advance...
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
Mod Note:
Hello and welcome to CC @MotherofZachary.
I have moved your thread to the touring forum for better responses.
I have also taken the liberty to edit your thread title to a more detailed description, again to attract more responses.
Enjoy the forums, all the best for your tour!
 
Hi, welcome and condolences for your loss.

It's not clear from your post if you have previously cycled from the UK to Greece?
If I'm reading correctly you're looking for route advice but also specific places where you can have group meetings along the way?
At this very early stage, I can only suggest https://cycle.travel/map for route planning.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com is a treasure trove of cycle touring information in the form of Journals with a very effective search tools for digging out specifics.

It seems to me that there is a bit of a chicken and egg approach here. Do you make contact with groups in advance and then plan your route, or do you have a route in mind and work from that? I'm sure locals that you are meeting are best placed to identify places for meetings.

I'd imagine logistics will be the biggest challenge if you have a series of appointments along such a long route. You could find yourself rushing to hit certain targets or hanging around to fulfill appointments.

I have read of accounts of cyclists who cycled long distances to raise funds for charities and who found the burden of fulfilling commitments whether local or online (twitter/Facebook etc) to be burdensome, physically and mentally. Especially when things were not going well on the bike. If you're not active on social media up to now, then that should also be a part of your training.

Are you doing this alone or as part of a group? Will you have any support?
I ask because one of the great things of cycle touring is the amount of time we have alone with our thoughts. I could imagine a trip such as you are describing could have the potential to be emotionally challenging and friendly support could be a significant advantage.

Finally, and something you may not want to consider.........
A good fitting bike is essential to a successful trip like this. Cycling day after day after day is very different to cycling to work and down the shops. Make sure that your son's bike fits you, or is adapted for you - it will make things far more pleasant. If you're already cycling, then you should be cycling this bike.

I wish you the best of luck!
 

snorri

Legendary Member
You could find yourself rushing to hit certain targets or hanging around to fulfill appointments.
I have read of accounts of cyclists who cycled long distances to raise funds for charities and who found the burden of fulfilling commitments whether local or online (twitter/Facebook etc) to be burdensome, physically and mentally.
Agreed! I would not wish to dampen your enthusiasm but would add a word of caution regarding the non -cycling part of the trip.
I met and cycled for some distance in Cornwall/Devon with a guy who was training for a sponsored LEJOG. He was cycling to support a national charity and was booked up to meet various volunteers or officials of the charity at fixed times along his route. We spoke onthe 'phone a few weeks later and he had found the mental stress quite exhausting which ruined the enjoyment of the physical challenge he had looked forward to.
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
Condolences on your loss

Your sons bike - Please make sure it it is the right size for you.
Bikes are like shoes, they either fit or they don't.
it's one thing to cycle 20 miles on a wrong sized bike, it's another thing to cycle 2,000 miles .....

Your route, is basically Manachester, Harwich, Hook of Holland, Rhine cycle way, Main cycle way, Main/Donau canal (or the more interesting Fossa Carolina option) onto the Altmuhl, Danube as far as Belgrade and then head south were you have a number of options

The distance is circa 2,000 miles basis 50 miles a day/250 miles a week means a couple of months

As has been said above, use this app https://cycle.travel/map to plan your route
and get these books https://www.esterbauer.com/international.html for your maps as far as Belgrade (in English if you can and German if you can not, it's the excellent maps and the list of hotels, B&B's and and campsites you want, the text on local sightseeing and history is not so important)

Looks like an superb trip!

upload_2019-5-1_12-37-1.png
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
FYI - Carefully plan the Manchester/Harwich route
You could find the steepest and longest climbs before the Balkans is the Pennines on the first day!

It may be to your advantage get on a train and start from Edale or Barnsley !
Otherwise take the northern route from Hadfield to Penistone, it's mostly on cycle path and is as flat as you are going to find across the Penines
 
Location
London
Your sons bike - Please make sure it it is the right size for you.
Bikes are like shoes, they either fit or they don't.]
Good caution brains.

Though I would quibble with the last line.

(My bikes are all sorts of nominal sizes)

So, yes, motherofzachary should check the bike fitting before such a long trip, but since she is set on riding it for understandable reasons, you can adjust bike a lot with different stems - an adjustable one might be particularly handy - and would still be the same bike.
 
OP
MotherofZachary
Location
Lefkada, Greece
Good caution brains.

Though I would quibble with the last line.

(My bikes are all sorts of nominal sizes)

So, yes, motherofzachary should check the bike fitting before such a long trip, but since she is set on riding it for understandable reasons, you can adjust bike a lot with different stems - an adjustable one might be particularly handy - and would still be the same bike.
Of course, I intend to take his bike to his local repairer (who I went to to have it serviced recently) they will not only make as many adjustments as possible, but will also help me to fit it up for carrying my paraphernalia as lightly as possible! :-)
 
OP
MotherofZachary
Location
Lefkada, Greece
Condolences on your loss

Your sons bike - Please make sure it it is the right size for you.
Bikes are like shoes, they either fit or they don't.
it's one thing to cycle 20 miles on a wrong sized bike, it's another thing to cycle 2,000 miles .....

Your route, is basically Manachester, Harwich, Hook of Holland, Rhine cycle way, Main cycle way, Main/Donau canal (or the more interesting Fossa Carolina option) onto the Altmuhl, Danube as far as Belgrade and then head south were you have a number of options

The distance is circa 2,000 miles basis 50 miles a day/250 miles a week means a couple of months

As has been said above, use this app https://cycle.travel/map to plan your route
and get these books https://www.esterbauer.com/international.html for your maps as far as Belgrade (in English if you can and German if you can not, it's the excellent maps and the list of hotels, B&B's and and campsites you want, the text on local sightseeing and history is not so important)

Looks like an superb trip!

View attachment 464678
Wow, so helpful, thank you x
 
OP
MotherofZachary
Location
Lefkada, Greece
Hi, welcome and condolences for your loss.

It's not clear from your post if you have previously cycled from the UK to Greece?
If I'm reading correctly you're looking for route advice but also specific places where you can have group meetings along the way?
At this very early stage, I can only suggest https://cycle.travel/map for route planning.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com is a treasure trove of cycle touring information in the form of Journals with a very effective search tools for digging out specifics.

It seems to me that there is a bit of a chicken and egg approach here. Do you make contact with groups in advance and then plan your route, or do you have a route in mind and work from that? I'm sure locals that you are meeting are best placed to identify places for meetings.

I'd imagine logistics will be the biggest challenge if you have a series of appointments along such a long route. You could find yourself rushing to hit certain targets or hanging around to fulfill appointments.

I have read of accounts of cyclists who cycled long distances to raise funds for charities and who found the burden of fulfilling commitments whether local or online (twitter/Facebook etc) to be burdensome, physically and mentally. Especially when things were not going well on the bike. If you're not active on social media up to now, then that should also be a part of your training.

Are you doing this alone or as part of a group? Will you have any support?
I ask because one of the great things of cycle touring is the amount of time we have alone with our thoughts. I could imagine a trip such as you are describing could have the potential to be emotionally challenging and friendly support could be a significant advantage.

Finally, and something you may not want to consider.........
A good fitting bike is essential to a successful trip like this. Cycling day after day after day is very different to cycling to work and down the shops. Make sure that your son's bike fits you, or is adapted for you - it will make things far more pleasant. If you're already cycling, then you should be cycling this bike.

I wish you the best of luck!
Thank you, I have never done this before, but do have many friends that have. Yes, logistics are really important, I will have made contact with local groups in advance and have a press officer to arrange some details, but am already building the forum and database for maintaining contacts. It will be a burden, but then that's the focus for my ride, so an essential one. I have decided to extend the time for my journey in order to accommodate that.
The group will be forming as a result of the press campaign and will form soon, it will be hugely emotionally challenging for everyone involved, my role as a Psychologist should help with this, and the support will be mutual, it is open to all females that have experienced bereavement from suicide or substance use.
I have plans to get the bike fitted to me as closely as possible. Thanks for the tips on cycle maps etc. most helpful x
 
OP
MotherofZachary
Location
Lefkada, Greece
FYI - Carefully plan the Manchester/Harwich route
You could find the steepest and longest climbs before the Balkans is the Pennines on the first day!

It may be to your advantage get on a train and start from Edale or Barnsley !
Otherwise take the northern route from Hadfield to Penistone, it's mostly on cycle path and is as flat as you are going to find across the Penines
Thank you but I will be well versed in hills before I leave here and trains really are not an option. I'll take a look at the Hadfield Penistone route...
 
Top Bottom