Why not make the road the most important part of your trip? Long-distance cycle paths are ideal for that. You will travel a remarkable amount of kilometers daily, while being able to notice every detail of the journey and get to your destination through the strength of your leg muscles only.
The cool thing about long-distance cycle paths here in Europe: They are well-paved, smooth asphalt for hundreds of kilometers. Which makes them perfect for any bike, be it with indestructible trekking tires or rock hard road bike tires – as long as it is comfortable, you’re ready to go. The routes are well-marked, too, from beginning to end. Theoretically, at least. Being old stagers with a couple of miles among us, we advise you to save the whole route to your smartphone, as a friendly gesture to your muscles and your nerves ;)
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The best time for your trip depends on your priorities. The warmer it is, the more pleasant it is during the day—especially in the mornings and evenings. Unfortunately, though, the roads tend to get busier the warmer it gets and you’ll always find more action on the road in summer than in spring or autumn. One thing is also clear: in winter, it is not always advisable to embark on a long cycling tour—something your feet and fingers are thankful for. No matter when you go, just make sure you take more water with you when it's warm and more food when it's cool as the cold weather also consumes more calories.
How you choose to spend your nights will define the nature of your trip. If you are choose comfort and rent a bed every night, you will have to plan your stages ahead of time. Camping, especially in the wild, will make you more independent, but you’ll have to bring more stuff. If you’re unsure, just try it out and see what your body and mind are longing for after a day in the saddle.
If you are planning to ride with a backpack, try it out beforehand on long rides. Even the lightest backpack can lead to pain and tension after a while. Bike bags aren’t cheap, but they will be your friends for years.
This decision mainly depends on whether you want/can put a rack on your bike and how much stuff you want to bring. The advantage of frame packs is that they don’t need screws or other measures – you simply strap them to your frame. However, they carry less volume than classic panniers, which are attached to a rack.
This depends on your personal taste. Classically they are attached to the back of your bike, however this makes the riding experience more cumbersome. Having a front rack will make your bike more agile, but it takes awhile to get used to the steering behaviour. Of course you can use front and back racks to bring more equipment, but be aware that you will feel every gramm on long distances. Take our word: Most of the time, you will need less clothes than you think while you’re packing when you are still in the middle of civilization ;)