One 57-year-old son (mine) on one bike pedaled 6,009 miles alone through Europe | An Alternative View | Diana Diamond | Palo Alto Online |

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One 57-year-old son (mine) on one bike pedaled 6,009 miles alone through Europe

Uploaded: Sep 13, 2018
As I mother, I was delighted – and dismayed – that my son had decided to make a nearly four-month trek from the Arctic Circle in northern Norway all the way to Istanbul, Turkey. I was worried about his safety, the weather and heat he would encounter, and most of all a car or truck hitting him on the roadways. Will he encounter any danger in riding through Eastern Europe or Turkey? Will he make it to Turkey?

He called from Istanbul two days ago. He is safe and well and proud of his adventure. I am extremely happy for him and finally relaxed.

I am probably the least athletic woman I know so to have such a physically strong offspring is a bit amazing. I know he didn’t inherit my exercise genes.

Scott cycled through 13 countries in 109 days (Norway, UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey) with temperatures ranging from 32F in Norway to 97F in France. One day on a lonely road in northern Norway he encountered a heavy storm and was forced to shelter for more than 24 hours in the only building in sight –a WC made out of wood. Luckily, it had a handicapped section that was somewhat larger than a regular stall.

He encountered 30 rainy days – 27 of those in Norway. He hit 50 mph headwinds in Norway, making it impossible at times to bike, and even difficult to walk. He averaged 56 miles a day, and once hit 91 miles. He took 12 rest days, e.g., touring Glasgow and Budapest. He enjoyed the cycling part immensely – “There is something about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone,” he said.

He wrote a daily blog, and posted it on a “Crazy guy on a bike “site. Reading them helped my daily comfort zone. Scott’s worst day was during that storm in Norway. My worst day was one day last week when there was no new blog, which prompted a strange uncomfortable feeling in me. I was absolutely convinced that something had happened to him – almost obsessed. It wasn’t until 10 p.m. that evening that I learned he was okay. He had spent a night in a Wi-Fi-less campsite and could not communicate.

Scott’s final blogs summed up his feelings about his trip. I will let him speak for himself: “I guess the most obvious question at this point is where was my favorite spot or where should you ride? For me Norway is the clear winner. The scenery was just so spectacular, the roads were empty and the weather ... well OK the weather sucked. I had unusually bad weather but I’ve been following other blogs since and there doesn’t appear to be any time you completely escape bad weather in Northern Norway. Still it is worth it.

“I also found the short section along the Rhine spectacular. Eastern Germany up to Vienna was easy and great cycling right along the Danube. I may be a little biased there though as my French is poor and it was such a heat wave for most of France.

Eastern Europe is still intriguing. There is a real adventure out there. I think the ridiculously low cost and extreme friendliness of the people is a real draw. I’d like to find routes with consistent low traffic though.
“It hasn’t all been easy by any means but I think that is what makes it so memorable. If I’d taken a bus it wouldn’t mean as much. As one of my favorite songs goes “these are the days you will remember.”

Favorite Cities
• Tromsø
• Glasgow
• Vienna

Favorite Places to Ride
• Tromsø to Lofoten
• South of Trondheim
• West Coast Scotland
• Switzerland along Rhein
• Austria up to Vienna

Favorite Food
• Salmon in Norway
• Indian food UK
• Whiskey (but I plan to buy more in Portland)
• Cakes in UK
• French Bakeries
• German/Austrian Pretzels
• Shopska salad
• Baklava

Bike Maintenance
• 3 chains
• 1 cassette (reason I went through so many chains)
• 1 Derailleur cable
• Disc brake pads front and rear
• 1 tire (rear but had 2,500 miles on before tour started)
• Number of flats: 1!!

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Trish, a resident of University South,
on Sep 14, 2018 at 5:15 am

Magnificent article! Thanks for sharing a glimpse into his great adventure.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Katie, a resident of Downtown North,
on Sep 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

Awesome!! When is the next journey.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sea Reddy, a resident of College Terrace,
on Sep 16, 2018 at 9:41 am

Congratulations!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by wayne douglass, a resident of another community,
on Sep 16, 2018 at 3:25 pm

wayne douglass is a registered user.

Where is Martin Krieg now that we need him?
He tried to get funding to build a national bikeway from the Bay Area to Boston (coast-to-coast) and he lived in bike-happy (allegedly) Palo Alto. A prophet is not without honor, except in Palo Alto.
Where is he? He moved to Indianapolis, when I looked him up on the Web. For all the "creative entrepreneurs," "visionaries," "geniuses" in Silicon Valley, you can't get anywhere without that dough-re-me.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Sep 16, 2018 at 9:17 pm

Congratultions on your son's journey. Great story, but ... no photos ? Can't you post some photos?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Local who can't bike, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 17, 2018 at 8:52 am

Great story, Diana, and thanks for sharing the travel tips! :-)

I'm so glad to hear your son is safe and sound. Now that he is back, you and he might enjoy reading Miles From Nowhere by the late Barbara Savage. She and her husband and a friend decided to ride their bikes around the world and the book is their travelog. They said the two worst places to ride a bike in their experience were Egypt and Florida.

After surviving a global trek on their bikes through such places as Nepal and Egypt (and Florida), Ms. Savage was killed in a cycling accident near her home in Santa Barbara, ironically while her book was going to press. Be safe out there.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Susan, a resident of Professorville,
on Sep 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Thank you for your summary of your son's adventure! Once a Mother, always a worrier, correct!?
We were in Norway this summer, including his favorite city, Tromso(brillant sunshine), and Lofoten, and it was fascinating to visualize his routes and mode of transportation throughout Europe.



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