Welcome to the second part of our blog post Our idea becoming real, part 2. Here we continue explaining our progress from idea to reality. Currently preparations are progressing and we are on schedule, at least we think so. See Our idea becoming real, part 1 to read what we have covered already.
In July we returned from our trip to the Pyrenees excited and full of energy. It had been a great experience and the bikes did well. Still there were months between then and where we are now.
We deviated from our project meetings and focused on what is important now and solved the issues. Still paying attention to our savings all the time. We had learned from our trip in the Pyrenees how important the right gear will be for us. Gear meaning the equipment that will form our daily life on the journey. So we reviewed what worked well and what less and started to look for alternatives. Martin had some issues with clothing that did not keep up to speed in the Pyrenees and this was returned or repaired.
On February the 2nd 2014 we are leaving the Netherlands, setting of on an adventure which only we can try to imagine. February in Europe is cold and especially crossing the Alps will be cold. To be able to withstand the cold while camping we had to upgrade our sleeping system. We again searched the internet and found the conventional sleeping bags to be heavy and not flexible. Katabatic gear a company we never had heard of before makes quilt sleeping bags, which is a quite special system. The sleeping bags have been used on two trips now and feel really comfortable and very flexible in use. Katabatic Sawatch is the sleeping bag we will use. To manage the moist in cold weather camping we have invested in a vapour barrier liner from Exped a VBL Linerbag UL. A VBL is new to us so we will have to see if it works for us. —> Subscribe to our blog in the sidebar 🙂
How do we prepare ourselves mentally for a bicycle journey as ours? We spend time on talking about this and reflecting each others thoughts. Mental stress is bigger than the actual doing of preparations for a journey like this, as we are used to controlling our lives and days. The unknown is quite stressful and this we have to accept as it is uncontrollable and will be uncontrollable. We use the time researching on gear, routes and countries as a way of numbing the brain with information. When the 2nd of February arrives we are ready no matter what and will set of on our bikes.
When we set off on our bikes we want to make it easy for people to follow us during our journey. Also we want our bikes to be part of our endeavor. This is why we had stickers made for our frame.
Gradually we are getting more and more ready for the moment of departure. Now we are focusing on acquiring the last bits of gear, such as water bags, headlamp, some clothing, gadgets, and also having everything ready for the route. We have noticed on our practice runs that finding the correct route takes a lot of time on the bikes and it helps if we have set out our route in Garmin Basecamp so we know in which direction to go. This we will do for the first section until the south of Italy. So we will also be making our first choices where we will cross the Alps, which cities we will visit and where we will try to be hosted through Couchsurfing and Warmshowers.
A question we receive a lot at the moment is: You must be really fit and biking a lot to do this? Well the answer is yes and no. On the one hand we have bicycled this summer and also done some trips during weekends. Martin also bikes to work regularly. And on the other hand we will get fit along the way. The first weeks will be used to find a rhythm and a routine and have our bodies get used to being on the bicycle all day and camping at night. It is more important now that we exercise our joints. Our muscles will grow with time, but joints need longer time to deal with extra pressure and extra activity. Our main focus on practicing and exercising has been with our joints to get them ready for our 25.000 kilometers of biking.
So now we have covered most of how our idea is becoming real. We have less than two months left before departure. There is still a lot to do these two months before our ideas become really real. We will keep you posted on our progress, which involves insurances, dentist visits, selling our furniture, cycling, plotting our route to south Italy, arranging hosting and exploring other areas of our interests.