The Plan that we are going to disregard

Two half-dead make one living – Jabłonna

Once upon a time there were three guys who wanted to cycle some­where. Nay, bet­ter: Let’s start a year earli­er. Once upon a time, there were two guys who wanted to cycle some­where. I – liv­ing in cyclist’s Eden, the Münsterland region – would have taken any des­tin­a­tion; alas, I lacked a bike-affine travel­mate for a long while. Until there was Nelson, who back then hadn’t rode a bike for ten years, since he had been a child, but who com­plied to go along nev­er­the­less. When he moved to Kraków in 2015, he sug­ges­ted we start at my place, close to Münster, and go to Poland. That’s what we did, and 63 days, 3300 km later we were sure we had to do some­thing like this again.

Considering all the bruises, the thun­der­storms and deluges, the ter­rible people on the road and the con­stant lack of money, the acci­dents and mul­tiple murder attempts at each oth­er, the chores and routines and the moun­tains and the bloody, bloody sand paths in which you get stuck and lost even when already push­ing your bike instead of rid­ing it — con­sid­er­ing all that we still found that the whole thing was fun enough to be repeated, that it was man­dat­ory to do so and that any­thing else would have been a crime.

That was in the sum­mer of 2015. One year later we’re at the threshold of our hol­i­days once more. A third com­pan­ion has joined us, Nelson’s old friend Jorge, who has a sim­il­ar bik­ing exper­i­ence as Nelson did last year, i. e., splen­did pre­requis­ites to man­age a transalpine cross­ing. For weeks we tried to nego­ti­ate a route: Starting in Kraków? In Münster? Right at the middle point (that’d be the bridge between Görlitz and Zgorzelec)? And where to, what des­tin­a­tion could pos­sibly com­pete with Kraków, that hav­ing been the place Nelson chose to move to, after all?

Jorge, at that time, had been plan­ning to go to North Italy. That was some­thing we could work with. And the worth­while des­tin­a­tion was determ­ined by Ausschlussverfahren, meth­od of elim­in­a­tion: The Queen didn’t invite us to tea, the Duchess of Alba was dead, Vladivostok or Tehran were just a wee bit too far away for a ride of two months (after all, we’re no racers, but tour­ists who want to see a bit on the way). That left us with a vis­it to the Pope.

To Rome we shall go!

And still the nego­ti­ations car­ried on: Our hol­i­days don’t syn­chron­ise per­fectly, and all the start­ing points we had con­sidered were unreal­ist­ic for vari­ous and dif­fer­ent reas­ons. To cut it short, in the end those Spaniards sug­ges­ted one that was most easy to reach for me: Paris.

Connect the dots …

… or rather, let me place a few more first. How I would have loved to des­cend into the Midi, per­haps spend­ing a few years at the Plomb du Cantal, then fol­low­ing the Côte d’Azur and explor­ing Liguria – instead, that mad­man Nelson, who likes an impossible ath­let­ic feat bet­ter than a dec­ad­ent coun­tryside ride, insisted on tra­vers­ing the Alps. We had a sim­il­ar issue before when I care­lessly told him about the exist­ence of the Brocken. One day on the trip to Kraków we thus ended up climb­ing about 1000 m, and from what I remem­ber of the week before that it’s com­pletely point­less to even try talk­ing him out of cross­ing those Alps.

I’d like to file a com­plaint about who­ever is respons­ible for all those cursed moun­tains loiter­ing around all across Europe. The com­mis­sion, per­haps? Then I should, in spite of the rain, pick a jour­ney to John O’Groats for the next trip. Now, how­ever, we’re def­in­itely stuck with the Alps.

Otherwise we’ve set only a few way­po­ints – Pontarlier, for we are quite fond of absinthe, Fribourg in order to vis­it a friend of Nelson and Firenze for obvi­ous reas­ons. The rest will be dis­cussed en route: How much time to spend in Switzerland, wheth­er to head east towards Venezia or west towards Torino after­wards, all that will be figured out by our future selves. Jorge, who has early hol­i­days and a gig in Stanford after­wards, will leave us some­where in Italy. I, on the oth­er hand, am the late join­er, because when I told the Spaniards I’d only be ready at the end of July they even­tu­ally resolved to meet me in Paris after start­ing a week earli­er in Nantes (Nantes? Nelson, do you hap­pen to ever have looked at a map of France!?).

Wish us luck, or rather: Success.

One Reply to “The Plan that we are going to disregard”

  1. […] the tick­ets for the gen­eral audi­ence, long after I had giv­en up the hope to ful­fill this endeav­our. Getting them is sur­pris­ingly easy: You have to approach one par­tic­u­lar Swiss Guardsman […]

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