UK to Lithuania by bike 2014

Discussion in 'Member's Travelogues' started by OMG, 29 Aug 2016.

  1. OMG

    OMG Veteran

    Location:
    Kent
    dv.jpg I bought that my posh road bike in November 2013 and few months later I remembered that I have an old dream - to cycle from UK to LT (LT=Lithuania). It seemed to be absolutely impossible (1300 miles to ride), but dream is a dream, I am crazy enough to do things that seem to be impossible.
    It took my 9 days. 29 June 2014 - 7 July 2014. "Touring" stuff - road bike, small backpack (it holded 2 litres of water in a bag), quite big saddle bag and TT bars (very good things to keep your warm clothes on it when it's too hot).
    One day and half of another day went on trains. For a reason.
    Route: Calais (FR) - Zoersel (BE) - Duisburg (DE) - Bad Oeynhausen - Helmstedt - Teltow - Tarnowo Podgorne (PL) - Grudziadz - Pisz - Lazdijai (LT). From Lazdijai went to Kaunas by bus and my mother picked my up there. Simply Pisz to Kaunas would be too many miles.
    I used Garmin 800 GPS, routes were drawn in Garmin Connect website and transfered into GPS. And GPS doesn't like cities. I lost in the middle of Antwerpen and Duisburg, but that magic invention called mobile phone maps helped me. Google maps has got a function special for cyclists showing you how flat or hilly your route will be, so I choose as flat route as possible.
    I was sleeping in hotels (safety first), eating in hotels and restaurants (holiday, I don't count every pense I spent).
    Stuff: lots of electronics (GPS, mobiles, chargers). Few cycling clothing - I was pedaling, not staring at churches or trees or 130 yo cars.
    p.s. I can repair my bike by myself so that was not a headache.
    All price for journey was about £1000 including trains, hotels, food etc.
    So came back home on Saturday morning (old good days when I have had a job, almost started to cry), had a sleep and in late evening catch a train to Dover. Then ferry to Calais (I have heard nothing about illegals in 2014). Trying to get out of Calais and see 3 black man going to my direction. But I'm on a bike, I'm fast, ha ha. And they cannot hihe inside my bike , it's too thin. :P Finally got out of Calais and headed to Dunkerque. To make my trip more interesting rain started. When I got out of Calais it was the worst monsoon ever. Even my spinal cord was soaked. I put a bin bag on my backpack to keep stuff dry - binbags are 158% waterproofs. 6 hours of that f**ing rain which finally stoped at 10 am.
    So first day of my trip and a thought "you bloody idiot wtf are you doing??? You mental idiot and psycho, you eill have to cross half of Europe !!! Idiot ..."
    160 miles from Calais to Zoersel. But I survived. Dirty, stinky, soaked, then dried, still stinky, my shoes stunk worse than man cyclists socks - but I was allowed to take my bike into youth hostel room coz everyone were impressed of my day's mileage. Even me, honestly. Mmm, wind was very weak but all way it was blowing into my back, that helped so much.
    So after 6 hours of pouring rain sun showed herself. Very hot sun. And I didn't have any suncream - what idiot thinks about getting sunburn in Belgium? Well, I though and I gott. And I got horrible sunburn. Horrible is a very gentle word, really I would use worst words I know. Next day pain was so terrible I struggle to go to wc (no, bed was ok, but going to wc was like crossing Sahara - loooooong looooong way).
    So I crossed France and Belgium without any adventures (I mean angry dogs or chasing cows etc). Belgium has got cycle paths absolutely everywhere. So no need to go into a road. Just met some nice friendly fellas on cycle path - few sheep. :biggrin:
    Zone of Belgium near sea is absolutely flat. I had 7 metres going uphil and that was cycling onto a road ring. I think first of all God created Himalayas, then Apls and other European mountains, finally he got bored and created Belgium. Good old man.
    Next day Zoersel to Duisburg, 120 miles. Same crap as in Antwerpen - too many buildings and GPS told me "go to wc" and screen went white. But I have mobile phone so found my hotel. BTW, my Garmin loves jokes - I have to ride through sand (about 200 feet, but it was fun), through forest road (also fun after endless roads), tunnel beyond river in Antwerpen. But it was fun despite big surprised eyes of locals. I don't care, I'm a tourist. :biggrin:
    Germany has got a national tragedy - cycle paths. Made from cobblestones, pieces of concrete and other sh*t. Good for FS bike, but for a road one it was ouch.
    Ha ha, I was cycling through Braunschweig and suddenly my belly decided that it needs to visit wc NOW. In a very city centre. No "wait for 10 minutes - now". And when sh*t happens, it happens from all ways - GPS went white. In that case I simply went almost insane, told to Garmin that either he wakes up in 2 seconds or it will be broken into nearest wall and that was not a joke. It worked, Garmin suddenly woke up and was a good bastard all days without doing any bullshit.
    The same Braunschweig and one moment I feel hungry like tyranosaurus rex after 4 months starving. I saw something like worst pub in UK, but it served food. Ugly food, but my stomach can digest a train and with cola it was ok.
    Till Poland no adventures (I don't speak German, just main words). Poland was good. :biggrin:
    From Grudziadz to Pisz went on train. I sat in front of drunk Pole old skinny little peaceful man. He immediately was surprised why I wear a helmet on trin. I was too lazy to chat with drunk man so say nothing. Then he decided that I don't understand him and started use his arms language. From the depth of the train I heard "hahaha hohoho". I almost laughed myself. But I said him something in Lithuanian, Pole was surprised that he met a tourist on a train in the middle of Poland and said nothing.
    But as a drunk Pole he was unable to sit in one place. So he went to train wc for a cigarette. It's not allowed but who cares. A minute later a child came to wc. But wc locked coz Pole smokes. Child dissapears. 5 minutes later history repeats. Child dissapears again. And then it happens. Child came again, but behinh him all train started to shake. Something like mini earthquake. All train suddenly became interested what's going on. That earthquake was child's mother. Big Mama. Very Big Mama. If someone ever seen cartoon "Madagascar" - there's a scene when hippopotamus Gloria escapes out of the zoo simply running with all wall. So the scene inwc was very similar. Poor Pole was taken by his clothes, kicked out off wc and dropped into his seat. There was a massive laugh on a train.
    Despite adventures on trains (highly recomended if you speak Polish) Poland itself is quite boring. Very good quality of roads (shame to UK - UK pay money into EU budget and Poland use it properly), very tasty food even in smallest pub and very big portions, every 10 - 15 km you will see fuel station where you will always find something to eat and have a rest. 20 years ago Poland was a sh*tty country, now it's proper Western European part. With very friendly people.
    Don't forget - I'm not a Polish. :smile:

    Link to some photos:
    https://goo.gl/photos/WD9NAyGCi47ncASN8
     
    Last edited: 3 Oct 2016
    Nihal, gavroche, McWobble and 23 others like this.
  2. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Brilliant, just brilliant!
    Inspiring too, with good photos. You should write.
     
  3. shouldbeinbed

    shouldbeinbed Rollin' along

    Location:
    Manchester way
    Epic post for an epic ride.

    Chapeau to you.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    OMG

    OMG Veteran

    Location:
    Kent
    I've done the same ride this year on May, but it was not so interesting as I wasn't like flying to get to LT as fast as possible. 50% trains, 50% bike.
     
    jonny jeez, hopless500 and Pat "5mph" like this.
  5. Roadrider48

    Roadrider48 Voice of the people

    Location:
    Londonistan
    Great story and fantastic pics.
    I have some of those SIS bottles, just sayin'. :becool:
     
  6. OP
    OP
    OMG

    OMG Veteran

    Location:
    Kent
    They're the biggest ones, 1 litre each. Very important on hot days. There was a day during that trip in 2014 when I drank 5 litres of water, 2 big chocolate milkshakes in local McDonalds and God knows how many bottles of water from petrol stations. So you can count 10 litres of fluids just during one hot day. What I would be doing with those childish small drink bottles?
     
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  7. Roadrider48

    Roadrider48 Voice of the people

    Location:
    Londonistan
    They are ideal for this weather, it's true. I also drink a lot, even when it isn't that warm.
    I'm always peeing as a consequence. :blush:
     
    jonny jeez likes this.
  8. deptfordmarmoset

    deptfordmarmoset Full time tea drinker

    Location:
    Armonmy Way
    :laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
    Hill Wimp likes this.
  9. OP
    OP
    OMG

    OMG Veteran

    Location:
    Kent
    @Roadrider48
    Yeah, that's totally not fair. When a man needs a pee, he simply goes behind a tree and pretends scratching his ass. But with a woman ... First of all you cannot wear bibshorts though they're very comfortable. Second, if you will sit behind tree pretending scratching your ass, that ass will shine 50 miles radius.
    But sometimes men need a sh*t, so that makes equality :evil: especially taking their bibshorts off, muahahahaha (evil laugh) :wahhey:
     
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  10. Roadrider48

    Roadrider48 Voice of the people

    Location:
    Londonistan
    You have an excellent sense of humour, I like it. :rofl:
    I try to make sure I go before I go out. It makes life a lot easier!
     
    jonny jeez likes this.
  11. Spinney

    Spinney Bimbleur extraordinaire Staff Member

    Location:
    Under the Edge
    You also have to check there aren't any stinging nettles or thistles there.
    DAMHIKT
     
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  12. Pat "5mph"

    Pat "5mph" A kilogrammicaly challenged woman Staff Member

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Brilliant! :laugh:
     
    jonny jeez likes this.
  13. You can, but it helps to have put your bib over your top or have a good/decent sports bra and plenty of cover. Dahikt
     
    jonny jeez likes this.
  14. OP
    OP
    OMG

    OMG Veteran

    Location:
    Kent
    But when you need a pee.... you have to put off almost all your clothes and find a place where nobody will see you nude.
     
    jonny jeez likes this.
  15. booze and cake

    booze and cake probably out cycling

    Great ride report. That sunburn, ouch that sent shivers down me spine.

    And in relation to bib shorts, I have some but I've never really seen the point of them, other than the massive hassle. I've never had a problem with normal cycling shorts falling down. In my MTB days my mate Dan was nicknamed Yogi (as in Yogi bear) for his tendency to disappear into the woods for a sneaky number 2's.
     
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