Over the summer of 2011 I plan to cycle from the Northernmost point in Europe to the Southernmost: from Nordkapp, Norway to Punta de Tarifa, a journey of around 4,300 miles. Although I hope to draw on my experiences in America, I’ll face some new and unique challenges on this trip.
Like all good plans, this one was conceived in about 10 minutes at the kitchen table: i’d been planning on cycling from Bordeaux to Gibraltar with some friends for a while, but couldn’t resist the idea of attempting the North to South challenge – by the end of the day I had my flights booked. On the 13th of June I fly from London to Oslo, and then on to Alta – a small airport 140 miles south of Nordkapp. The following day I’ll catch a bus to the start line, and begin my adventure. From that point I’ll have 34 days to travel around 3000 miles south to Bordeaux in time to meet my friends on the 18th July – ready to start the second leg of the journey. That means keeping up a punishing average of around 90 miles a day, including days off and any dealing with any problems that arrive.
The language language barrier is going to be a major difficulty: in America, at least if I had a problem I could talk to the locals and try and resolve it – even if it seemed like they were speaking another language at the time! The same goes with culture – its going to be a challenge to gauge the different nuances in attitude as I travel South. The area of wilderness that stretches from Trondheim to Nordkapp in Norway also presents difficulties, and I’ll have to be careful with supplies, not to mention that Northern Norway has a reputation for rain that rivals the Amazon’s. But the mantra ‘no pain, no gain’ has never been more fitting, and I’ll be able to experience some of the worlds best scenery – from the Lofoten Islands in Norway to the Picos de Europa in Spain, as well as a wealth of European cultural heritage. There’s also going to be a bit of nostalgia involved in the start of this expedition: When I was 9 we lived in Norway for just over a year – during our time there we went on holiday to the Lofoten Islands, and travelled North to Nordkapp via boat – so its going to be interesting to revisit those places via bike.
I will – internet access permitting – keep this blog going daily as I inch my way south: so watch this space – I just hope it proves to be suitably entertaining!