Name: Clara Friedman & Coleman Barton
Residence: United States
Year of birth:
Bike: Soma Jawbone
Riding period: 10.June – 26.August 2023
Most favourite part:
The enormous freedom of careening down a descent, feeling like you are the only people for hundreds of miles.
Riding on the beaches in Denmark along giant dune cliffs after spending so much time in the forests.
The pristine, mossy, squishy forest floors in Finland.
The ancient rock hills in northern Norway.
The Vosges and Jura mountains in France and the way the views made all the trouble getting up there worth it.
Incredible pastry refueling stops in Denmark and France.
The red and orange rocky mountain views in Spain.
The smoky, woody, spicy smell of eucalyptus trees in Portugal.
Watching our location dot slowly, slowly, slowly traverse its way across the map and then looking back at the staggering distance we had come.
The culminating day in Jura was one of my very favorites. Spending all day climbing, some steep hike a bike sections, roaming cow paths and then making the choice to go to the top of Grand Colombier. When we got the to the top and that view unfolded, it all felt completely worth it. I was so full of energy, awe, and confidence.
I also loved the Arctic Circle. The midnight sun, the pristine forests of Finland, easy camping. It was different than anything I had experienced before.
It was also very rewarding riding the trail with my wife. It gave us a chance to live in a different way and have this experience together. It was also nice to have someone to pick me up when I was struggling and visa versa.
And in general, I loved all the time we were in the wilderness. I felt completely free and happy.
Has a Spaniard ever built a town that is not on a cliff or mountainside with 20-40% graded streets?
Whenever you can, buy as many ice cream bars as you can eat before they melt.
Enjoy the small reprieve in France after the mosquitoes and midges end and before the flies arrive.
When in the middle of a frustrating hike a bike, when you have lost all your energy and motivation, when you are just tired and want a shower, a laundromat, a giant meal and a 24 hour long sleep, it helps to repeat the mantra, “this will end”. And it always does.
Huge props to all the solo riders, because I am sure I would never have finished if I was riding alone!
Watching the days on your visa tick down helps to keep motivation.
If you get to southern Spain during a heatwave, you have to choose between waking up at 1:30AM or riding at 108 degrees.
The ICA/Coop you chose will never be as nice as the one across the street that you didn’t choose.
When you set up your tent next to a wasp nest, three more wasps will get in your tent while trying to get the first one out.
You will run out of things to think about and a single phrase or song lyric will implant itself in your mind. That’s when you know it’s time for an earbud.
However much you want to pet the street cats, they won’t let you. And however much you don’t want to steal sheep, the Spanish dogs will bark furiously at you.
Swim whenever you have the chance.