6 EUR! That's how much I pay for mosquito repellant in the French Super U market. Has France imposed any tariffs on German products recently? Or did a Swiss person make the pricing?

I head off around 11 and reach Neuf-Brisach shortly after 6pm. With 5 hours of pure cycling time my longest day so far.

I knew nothing before getting there and I was quite surprised when I did: The town was built as a fortified town in the 1700s and features some distinct looks. Moreover there is currenlty an outdoor exhibition taking place which looks interesting.

I decide to stay here for 3 nights in total and meet lots of other long distance cyclists.

  • A French guy from Alsace, 58, works at a sugar refinery 4 months a year. He cannot find another job and enjoys the "brain cleaning" cycling provides.
  • A Dutch couple in their 60s have cycled all the way from Holland. Their tent is high, you can even stand in it, and the man even pulls a small trailer. Luxury cycling.
  • A German couple in their 50s enjoy an extensive 5 weeks vacation cycling all along the rivers. Girl's a cheater though, she's riding an ebike (and blocking the power outlet to charge the battery for 20 hours :D)
  • A German solo cyclist shares a coffee with me in the morning. He works for a German supermarket chain and has been tasked by HR to write a travel report for their "work bike" program.
  • A British solo cyclist from the UK living in Utrecht is cycling southbound to Bale.

It has only been a week but I realize it's already getting more difficult every day to keep track of everything that's happening, where I have been travelling/sleeping and who I met.

Thoughts and recap on routes, estimates etc after week 1

Where did I go right, where was I completely off? What did I not expect?

  • My distance estimates are way off
    The actual kilometers cycled on cycling routes are much longer than the usual routes used by motorized vehicles. I'll have to add about 50% to the "Google" estimates
  • On the other hand, my average speed (on flat terrain) is quite a bit faster than I had hoped it would be
  • However I'm nowhere near riding the estimated average of 5 hours per day
    Mostly because my ass starts hurting after 3h on the road, and the next point:
  • It takes time to pack up
    ... So much time! So far I've never managed to leave the camp site within 3 hours of waking up. I spent too much time searching for things, packing thing A away, realizing I still need thing A and unpacking it again, misplacing thing B in the wrong bag and having to repack it, forgetting to pack something and having to unload and then reload the bike again.
  • It takes time to learn riding slowly.
    When you've only ever ridden a bike as a "sports utility" before, riding slowly does not come easily
  • Bugs get friggin everywhere!
    I'm not all too surprised finding bugs in my food and between my plates which I have left carelessly on the ground overnight. Today however when buying food at the local supermarket I saw one crawling in the transparent ziploc bag that I'm using as my change pouch. Cashier probably thought "that's just how he lives". Well I guess she's got a point there ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • It's much more fun than I though it would be
    About 9,7 times as much!!