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Easy credit card touring in Europe (about a week)?

Old 01-30-23, 11:51 AM
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Easy credit card touring in Europe (about a week)?

I know this is a very broad question, but I'd like to do an easy tour of an area with exclusively (or at least mostly) off-street bike paths somewhere on the continent. Ideally, all or mostly flat and scenic. We'll be there about a week. Any ideas where I should start my research?

I ask because my wife has a work trip coming up in May, and the kids will stay with their grandparents here in the US while I tag along. Both of us are well traveled, but not by bike. I ride a lot and tinker with vintage bikes here at home; she hardly ever rides, but she enjoys it when she does. For context, last year, we were in Lucca, and we took our first graders daily along the raised bike path built atop the ancient city wall, and we loved it. Since we don't have the kids this time, I'd like to do something a little more far ranging, but about the same level of effort (i.e., no French mountains). Her work trip is in in Rome, but she says we can meet up anywhere in Europe. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 01-30-23, 01:51 PM
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Two suggestions:
1. The Netherlands. Flat, reasonable off-street network and bicycle centric. The West is more populated (e.g. Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Delft) and others less so. There is a variety of different possibilities (e.g. islands such as Schiermonikoog in the north, woods in Veluwe mid-area, canals and farming areas or polders, larger cities, etc. Expect you'll find plenty in a web search.
2. The Baltics. In my travels I was mostly on the roads but did find a marked network in Estonia. Also some flat areas here as well.
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Old 01-30-23, 02:00 PM
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I'm watching a YT channel of a couple riding one of the Euro Velo Routes, this one follows the Loire Valley, from central France, then north and west to the Atlantic. Almost completely flat and on off road trails. Its beautiful, the towns look wonderful, great food and wine. They had done a different tour a few years back Velo Route 6 from near Zurich to Vienna, but you can grab it on the Atlantic coast and follow to the Black Sea. It mostly follows the Danube for a while, is also flat and mostly on trails.

Look up the various Euro Velo routes, they are all over, very well signed and easy to follow. As well you can catch a train easily between start and finish points, so logistics are easy.


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Old 01-30-23, 02:15 PM
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Excellent information, thank you!!
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Old 01-30-23, 02:47 PM
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https://www.freewheelingfrance.com/w...st-michel.html
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Old 01-30-23, 02:48 PM
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Since this will be in May, I think the Loire valley in France would work well. It's much more likely to have decent weather than places further north. It's scenic with lots to see, and the terrain is gentle. Burgundy also has an excellent network of bike paths and canal paths, though the canal paths are generally not paved.

Most of Italy is likely to have have even better weather, though I'm not aware of any bike paths which would fit your other criteria. The following path sounds lovely, but you'd have to get yourself to the starting point in the Dolomites. It's 402 km long (about 250 miles):
https://italy-cycling-guide.info/tra...mountains-sea/

The following site has lots of traffic-free routes in Italy including the one above, but most others are fairly short.
https://italy-cycling-guide.info/tra...ree-cycleways/

It's worth doing a search to see if there are any lengthy bike paths in Spain, which is also likely to have excellent weather. I've toured in Spain but it wasn't on paths and was fairly mountainous.
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Old 01-30-23, 02:53 PM
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https://en.eurovelo.com/
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Old 01-30-23, 03:18 PM
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+1 on the eurovelo route from Zurich to Vienna. Lovely riding, pretty flat, mostly on paved bike path, and reasonable accommodations along the way.
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Old 02-01-23, 01:39 PM
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I would look into the B&B along various bike routes in the UK. They have been in use for trekkers and bicycle touring people for a century and located at convenient distances and no worries about the language. I have toured in Germany but English is much more widely spoken there than in France for example. Would love to tour France but would need a guide/translator, or go with a group which I dislike doing.
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Old 02-06-23, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
I would look into the B&B along various bike routes in the UK. They have been in use for trekkers and bicycle touring people for a century and located at convenient distances and no worries about the language. I have toured in Germany but English is much more widely spoken there than in France for example. Would love to tour France but would need a guide/translator, or go with a group which I dislike doing.
Language is not really a problem. My wife and I have toured through eleven European countries and knowing the language has never been a real issue. Sometimes it took some good-natured times looking at the translate pages on each others phones. There are only a few words that are handy: thank you, please, and toilet/ WC. A big smile also helps.

My wife at a cafe in Portugal getting directions to the campground. Neither spoke the others' language, but we got a detailed hand-drawn map to the campground.


We were looking for the campground again in Switzerland. This guy did not know English, and I did not know German. "Camping" or some form of the word is almost universal in Europe. He gestured for us to follow him, and led us to the campground.


This "Angel of The Road" led us most of the way from the Charles de Gaulle Airport to a canal path that took us right into Paris.


Bottom line: not knowing the language would not keep me from touring in a country.

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Old 02-06-23, 03:21 PM
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I once led a German tourist that spoke zero English into Kennedy Airport so he could finish his cycling trip down from Maine. I had run into him in Brooklyn on my bike commute home. I saw his panniers, stopped and inquired, all he could ask was "JFK ?". My route back then took me thru the airport on access roads, so he tagged long until I pointed to go right and to the terminals (that I would not typically go near.) . We tried to communicate, his English was certainly better than my German. He got extraordinarily luck encountering me, I was likely one of the only cyclists for many miles who knew the route he needed. I hear of this kind of stuff in Europe all the time, where they typically speak a bit of English about everywhere, IME.
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Old 02-06-23, 03:57 PM
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It is one thing to transact business in a restaurant of market in large cities and quite another to get directions from a person on the highway who speaks no English. First aid for me or for my bike also takes some level of proficiency in the local language. It can be difficult even in the USA to get good directions as most people drive a car and use the freeways (and this applies even to cops and the highway patrol). I use a Garmin in Europe as it can route me based on whether I am on a bicycle or walking and provide route options not open to someone in a car, and no worries about cell service or data usage.

I consider it a matter of common courtesy to use the country's language as much as possible and not expect or depend on people to speak English.
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Old 02-06-23, 04:42 PM
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River cycling routes such as Moselle, Rhine or Danube.
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Old 02-06-23, 05:25 PM
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It is one thing to transact business in a restaurant of market in large cities and quite another to get directions from a person on the highway who speaks no English. First aid for me or for my bike also takes some level of proficiency in the local language. It can be difficult even in the USA to get good directions as most people drive a car and use the freeways (and this applies even to cops and the highway patrol). I use a Garmin in Europe as it can route me based on whether I am on a bicycle or walking and provide route options not open to someone in a car, and no worries about cell service or data usage.

I consider it a matter of common courtesy to use the country's language as much as possible and not expect or depend on people to speak English.
We usually ride the non-touristy areas. I find it impossible, if you are riding through several countries, to learn 5 -6 languages. We have spent a total of 7 months touring in Europe. People don't expect you to know their language, and I don't expect them to know mine.

We have had several mechanical issues that we managed to handle. I had to go to an ophthalmologist in Paris to get some work done on my eye which took several phone calls from my doctor to the one in Paris. The time difference made it challenging but we got it fixed, and I can still see. My wife got a bad case of food poisoning in the Czech Republic,while in a tiny town. We got aid, and she was good to go in short order. "Doctor" is "Doktor" in Czech. My wife needed to replace the rear brake on her bike in Denmark. I needed to replace a broken Look cleat in France. Etc. . . . . .

It all depends on you comfort level. We have bike toured 22,000 miles in the last 15 years, and have found we can handle most situations whether we can speak the language or not.

We have been in a lot of places where no English was spoken. However, more English is being learned by the school kids. In a small town in Poland we were staying at a small hotel; and the owner, who did not speak English, assigned his school-age son to us for awhile when we arrived. I believe that English will soon be the universal language in most of Europe, especially for business people and people who need or want to travel to many different countries.

Sometimes the adults who don't speak English want their kids to practice their English on us. This is Maria in Portugal. Her dad wanted her to practice on us.

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Old 02-07-23, 10:53 AM
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You may want to look at a week long tour of Puglia. The following outfit does tours, but it is easy to mirror their tours/routes and go independently.
www.salentobicitour.org

I now have immigrated to Portugal, and yes, the youngsters know English rather well.

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Old 02-07-23, 01:27 PM
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Lake Como?
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Old 02-08-23, 08:19 AM
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Credit cards aren't that common in lots of Europe, check for a more suitable bank card.

The Netherlands is the flattest and has the most cycle paths, but has wind and dunes too. In general it has a lot of different scenery per miles, but there are also very boring area's of endless farm fields to avoid. Flanders is quite flat and quite good on infrastucture too and is more rustic I guess, also with a lot of differences over small distances. Wheather in may is unpredictable and sometimes still a bit chilly, but it can also be glorious and have the land and the people buzzing much more than overall warmer places.
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Old 02-08-23, 09:52 AM
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Sustrans UK:

https://www.sustrans.org.uk/national-cycle-network

There are routes along canal paths. The eastern ~1//3 of the country is flatish. There's only a handful of climbs on the whole island that are too long to walk up in short order.

Note: a part of the continent of Europe, but not Continental.
Bonus: most of the natives speak an amusing but easily understood dialect of the American language.

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Old 02-08-23, 11:20 PM
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Seeing as she's already in Rome, you might consider the Via Francigena- There are outfitters who organize one way trips with bikes
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Old 02-10-23, 02:00 PM
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I really appreciate everyone's input on these potential tours. David Letterman said, "If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first," and unfortunately, it looks like my wife is less interested in bike travel on this trip than I thought she might be. We may still rent bikes for a day or two, but we'll mostly enjoy putzing around Rome. Ah well -- these are great ideas for trips with my daughters when they grow into their own adult-size bikes.
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Old 02-15-23, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer
Credit cards aren't that common in lots of Europe, check for a more suitable bank card.

The Netherlands is the flattest and has the most cycle paths, but has wind and dunes too. In general it has a lot of different scenery per miles, but there are also very boring area's of endless farm fields to avoid. Flanders is quite flat and quite good on infrastucture too and is more rustic I guess, also with a lot of differences over small distances. Wheather in may is unpredictable and sometimes still a bit chilly, but it can also be glorious and have the land and the people buzzing much more than overall warmer places.
In Germany COVID changed all that, I can even pay with my phone at my favorite Doner truck.
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Old 02-15-23, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf
I really appreciate everyone's input on these potential tours. David Letterman said, "If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first," and unfortunately, it looks like my wife is less interested in bike travel on this trip than I thought she might be. We may still rent bikes for a day or two, but we'll mostly enjoy putzing around Rome. Ah well -- these are great ideas for trips with my daughters when they grow into their own adult-size bikes.
Then I suggest the Amalfi coast. For a decadent vacation
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Old 02-16-23, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris
In Germany COVID changed all that, I can even pay with my phone at my favorite Doner truck.
How convenient. I'll save the sarcasm for P&R. But still, do credit cards work?
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Old 02-16-23, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer
How convenient. I'll save the sarcasm for P&R. But still, do credit cards work?
Of course that's how you pay with your phone..

COVID really did drag the stubborn Germans in the early 2000's
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