I was asked how I went about planning the route for my tour, so I thought I’d write up on what I did.
Firstly, I did a lot of staring at google maps while I decided roughly where I wanted to go.
I toyed with the idea of visiting a friend in Darmstadt, but that made the route quite long.
Eventually I opened ridewithgps.com and plotted an extremely rough route.
Next I had a think about where I would be staying. Initially I thought I’d do no more than 100km a day but it was often hard to find places to stay in suitable locations! Other than a hostel in Berlin, I stayed at Airbnb places, so I opened up the Airbnb site and had a look at where I should stay.
I had to ride a bit further on the 1st day as I wanted to stay to the right of this map, but could only stay at the place on the left.
Once I’d booked my accommodation I marked all these on my ridewithgps route and made the necessary adjustments to the route. I then had a think about where I might like to go through on the way, and fiddled about with the route until I had a rough plan for the whole thing, which looked like this:
I then kind of forgot about things for a while as I had quite a bit on with work!
In the week before I set off, I broke the route down into individual days and tweaked them to include points of interest along the way, and diverting away from main roads wherever possible. This is one day:
Of course, when it came to it, there was quite a lot of freestyling, especially towards the end of each day as I headed into a town. Every day before I set off I would look at the route and if I knew that a particular place was really nice then I’d head there instead of following my route precisely. I also took recommendations from people along the way, or followed signs (in the Netherlands in particular). This cycle route through the woods was recommended to me on the way out of Amersfoort and was lovely!
In hindsight, I wish I had spent more time on the route. Most of the time I was on quiet roads or cycle paths but there was the occasional busy road and a few muddy off road bits that I could have done without. With a Garmin (Garmin Edge 800) and OSM maps it’s easy to change route, and the battery life on the Garmin is excellent. I had it on from 9am until 6pm, with a lot of looking at the screen and navigating, and it only started to run low on one day (I had a battery pack with me anyway just in case).
Now if only I could stop looking at maps and thinking where I want to go next!