So, the trip. I first read about this trip sometime in July or August last year (2013) while surfing the web one very slow day at work. I’d just bought a new bike, was wandering through biking-related websites, and found a mention of this French group (AF3V) who were running a group ride from Vienna, Austria to Nantes, France in the summer of 2014 – details to follow…
I kept the website in mind, and they started posting a few more details in the summer and early fall and I started getting more and more into the idea of shipping myself and my bike off to Austria and riding 2000+ km across four countries over six weeks.
The nominal reason for the ride is to celebrate the fact that Nantes will host VeloCity 2015, an international cycling conference, and to link it symbolically to Vienna, which hosted the 2013 Velo-City event, as well as to raise awareness of the Eurovelo bike routes generally. For me, though, it’s primarily a chance to get back to Europe – I haven’t been there since 2007, when I was enroute to South Africa, and prior to that two backpacking trips in 1997 & 2000 – and do a really epic bike ride!
The AF3V page on the Randonnée Vienne-Nantes has a short one-page list of stages downloadable in PDF form, as well as the much more detailed 100 page long “route book” recently uploaded in PDF which has more detail about where we’re staying on the ride and such.
I’ve also created four Google Maps setups, both so I could study the route before I went and also to share the route with friends and relatives easily.
Map One is Vienna, Austria to Passau, Germany, up the Danube from Austria’s capital into north-east Bavaria.
Map Two is Passau, Germany to Überlingen, Germany, across Bavaria in a wide arc north of Munich following the Danube nearly until it’s end, then heading south to the Bodensee (Lake Constance) on the German-Swiss border.
Map Three is Überlingen, Germany to Digion, France, into Switzerland along the Rhine, then into France until we meet the Loire River at Digion.
Map Four is Digion, France to Nantes, France, entirely along the Loire almost to the Atlantic Ocean.
The whole route is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2200km. The towns (each white dot) are right on each map, but the exact routes might well not be. Still enough to follow along, mostly, and for me to explore virtually in the next two weeks before I go!