The last couple of days I have been thinking a lot about what equipment I should take on Expedition1000GER. It is quite difficult to think through all the possible scenarios that could happen throughout this challenge. There are so many uncertainties, such as where am I going to go sleep every night or how is the weather going to be.
Since I planned to keep my travel budget on a minimum I definitely have to bring a tent, a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag. A tent is already quite heavy but at the same time it makes you way more independent because you never have to worry about to find a place to sleep at the end of the day. If you can't find a campsite alongside your route you can just camp somewhere hidden in the wilderness aside the trails.
I find packing the right clothes for a bike trip is way more difficult than to decide to bring a tent or not. So you start asking yourself: How is the weather going to be throughout the whole trip? Right now it is summer so you should think you only have to bring another pair of shorts and a t-shirt besides the one you are already wearing. Maybe it is also a good idea to even bring a pair of sweatpants and a sweater if it is going to get chilly during the night!? However, if the weather is going to be like the current Flensburg summer then I definitely have to bring a rain jacket and rain pants.
I also want to document this trip. I want to film, photograph and blog. That means I have bring some electronic devices such as camera and notebook as well as extra batteries and chargers.
Damn…it seems like there are so many things that I have to bring on that trip. Oh well…nobody said it’s going to be easy.
So I started to ask myself: What is it that I most likely cannot live without on this trip and that is necessary to document it properly? The result is this kit list:
All of that equipment is packed in 4 Ortlieb panniers (2 of them kindly provided by my friend Kevin), Ortlieb handlebar bag and two pack sacks.
I think that is not much stuff but I still feel like I over packed. I am sure I could live two weeks without all these electronic devices but how else should I document Expedition1000GER? What is it that you cannot live with on a trip?
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First of all, if you are expecting to find some kind of work out plan on how to prepare for a 1.000km bike ride on here, then, I must disappoint you because I don’t even have a clue how to prepare for such a trip.
Well, now you could say: How about cycling every day and then every day a little bit more?
In that case, I guess that is the work out plan you probably were looking for. You’re welcome!
However, I am going to do Expedition1000GER without any significant physical preparation as I do for most of my challenges. There are reasons why I do it that way.
The first reason is that I want to learn about my physical and mental boundaries. I want to figure out what my body and mind are capable of handling. I know that if I want to accomplish this challenge within two weeks, I have to cycle a little bit more than 70km per day. That sounds pretty doable to me although I know through my previous cycling trip experiences that 70km can be quite far if your bike is packed with camping and survival equipment and you have to push all this extra weight for several hours every day. Especially pushing it uphill can be a pain in the a**. Thus, I already know that I must go on my current physical boundaries every day to accomplish this challenge. Now I am wondering if even my mind can handle that. Thinking about cycling 1.000km and going through that pain scares me but most importantly I am excited. Right now, my mind is set up for this challenge and I feel ready to go.
The other reason why I don’t do any extra training for this trip is that it is also supposed to be a journey. It is not a race. According to the saying: The journey is the reward.
During my cycling trip across Denmark last year, I met an elderly lady from Sweden on the island Ærø. At that point, I cycled about 250km within three days and was already quite exhausted. She was probably in her late sixties. I told her about my pain and also mentioned that I feel like the slowest cyclist on this planet. After I was done telling her about my little aches and pains she told me that she is cycling every summer for three months all over northern Europe but mainly in Scandinavia since she got retired. She is doing that without any training beforehand. I felt like a complete fool for acting like a baby. However, she gave me a different perspective on traveling by bicycle, saying: First of all, I am the slowest cyclist on this planet. Secondly, you will forget about the pain as soon as you made it on the top of a hill or a mountain and go downhill without pedaling for a while. It is such a rewarding feeling and it is worth all the pain. There was no reason to contradict her. I mean, how could I contradict a lady of her age. She is absolutely right. These are definitely some of the best moments on a cycling trip and definitely make you feel alive.
However, all of that does not mean that I am a couch potato and that I never work out. Currently I am working a regular 40 work-hours job and spend most of that time in the office in front of a computer screen. Due to that, I am trying to work out as often as possible just to stay in shape and not to become fat. These workouts are usually one hour runs alongside the Flensburg Fjord, more or less regular workouts at the gym or occasional football sessions with friends or coworkers. On average about three to five workouts per week. I even try to go to work by bike as often as possible just to get some extra exercise. But to be honest, most of the time that doesn’t work out very well.
Having said that, I am convinced that I can accomplish this challenge if I concentrate all my energy and stay positive throughout the whole trip. I am sure if an almost 70 years old lady can cycle every year for three months I can accomplish Expedition1000GER.
After cycling 210km from Hamburg to Flensburg alongside the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein and 320km across Denmark from Copenhagen also to Flensburg in 2016, I was seeking for another cycling milestone. Coming up with a new milestone was quite easy. 1.000km!
The question is: Where would I start such a trip? And where should it end?
Through my previous cycling challenges, I experienced that it is most motivating if the final destination is home. There is no better place than home and is for sure everyone’s comfort zone. In my opinion it also provides the best answer if someone is asking you where you are going while tripping. I’m going home.
Now I had to find a starting point that is 1.000km away from home. After a quick look on a map I had an idea. Why not just cycle the length of entire Germany? That is about 1.000km and there are so many places in my home country that I have never seen in my whole life. Born and raised in Flensburg, Germany in the very north of Germany, I have visited many places in the north but just a few in the southern part of my home country. So the idea was born.
I am not a big planner when it comes to traveling. I prefer just to go to a place and figure everything out when I am there. That approach makes me feel more independent and alive in any sense. It is one hundred percent of uncertainty and pure adventure. Traveling on a shoestring budget means that I have to come out of my comfort zone. There are no expectations about the place itself or the hotel I want to stay in. Questions about the hotels comfort, location, food or if it is going to be clean are irrelevant because I will spend the night in my tent anyways. Maybe I will be lucky and someone will offer me his couch for a night. But anyways, what will be my starting point?
Maybe I will take a ride with the Nebelhornbahn in Oberstdorf to the top of the mountain Nebelhorn and then just use the push from up there and roll down the entire way to the flat lands in the north to Flensburg. That sounds pretty convenient and doable. Doesn’t it?
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