A great day on the road

“Where am I?” A new hotel each night can be confusing in the morning. The next thought of the day might be “Oh my god, my legs, I am too old for this”. But you aren’t too old! Credit Card Bike Touring works for all, just pick the effort level that is right for you!

Hotel breakfasts can be anything from extraordinary to absolutely weird. If it is too basic, why not take a short stroll through the chilly morning air to a downtown café? It is for experiences like this we travel, right?

Café in Marrakesh in Morocco

After breakfast, packing takes a bit of time since you want the most important things easy to reach during the day. Bike clothes on, the sun is shining (of course), so it is going to be another great day on the road. You check out from the hotel, attach your bags to the bike, check the tire pressure, just in case. Pumped to 7 bars, going downhill is going to be fun.

You roll out of the small town to beautiful mountain meadows.

Just outside Andermatt in Switzerland

After a few kilometers the road turns up a valley. The steepness (inclination) is 4% (this means that you’re up 4 meters for each 100 meters of biking) but after a while it goes to 6%. Normally this is no big deal, but this goes on forever. After an hour you see another bicyclist. His touring bike is heavy with gear, so you soon catch up, and you start talking. After a while you pull ahead and offer him some leeway for the wind.

You stop for a break at a restaurant in a small village. Interesting guy, he’s been biking around Europe for a full year. You sense there might be a tragedy that pushed him to the roads. He drinks beer, you stick to coffee.

After a while you’re eager to continue, so the two of you hug farewell and off you go. It continues at 6% with small road signs telling you some stretches are 8%. This is where it gets tough, and you are really sweaty when you arrive at the top of the pass. Snow and tourists everywhere, some of them look at you in awe. They can’t comprehend the effort to reach the summit. Fortunately you couldn’t either when you started the climb.

At the St Gotthard pass in Switzerland

You put on a warm sweater and take off downhill. Soon in tunnels, you pick up speed, punching through the air at a steady 50 km/h. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and poof, you’re through. The sun is blinding you for a few seconds, then you see the full glory of the mountains. But you must concentrate on the road, no mistakes at 60 km/h!

Me going down the St Gotthard pass in Switzerland

After half an hour of fast downhill you reach a small town, time for lunch. While waiting for coffee you look at the map and try to pick a good place to stay the night. Using the Hotels.com or Booking.com apps you find a room in a town another 60 km away. Normally this is a bit too far for a late afternoon of biking, but it’s mostly gentle downhill from here.

You check in at the hotel at 5.30 pm, pretty tired, stretch your legs, neck, back and shoulders. A shower, then dinner and a drink/wine/beer somewhere cozy where you chat with your friends back home, read a book on your smartphone, or listen to an audio book.

Planning for next day

This is also the time to plan for the next day. Turn on the topographical view in Google Maps and see if there are any interesting surprises ahead in the general direction of where you are going. Some bike apps like Strava can show which roads are most popular among local bikers – perhaps there’s an unknown gem ahead? You notice navigation might be a bit tricky at times, so you put markers on the map where you need to pay attention, or make decisions as to which road to take. You can also use a GPS/Location Alarm app such as Naplarm to remind you when you reach a specific place. A search for hotels ahead confirms that there are tons of options. As always, you want to remain free, so you make decisions as late as possible.

At 10 pm you’re pretty tired and fall asleep like a baby.

All days aren’t like this. You’ll also get heavy rain, mad dogs, flat tires, jammed chains, dangerous drivers, blisters, butt pain, sunburns, stolen phones and credit cards. This website will help you prepare for such events, pack small and beautiful with great gear, and give you hints for where to go Credit Card Bike Touring.

Saddle up!

My bike by the Mediterranean.
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