The European Divide Trail is a continent spanning collection of trails linking the far edges of Europe together. On its way following off road tracks and trails, traffic free cycle routes and small bits of single track, with various minor roads along the way.
The goal is to create various spines of routes, where people can explore this fascinating and diverse continent, while keeping away from major population centres and exploring the lesser known areas, while linking onto existing bikepacking routes, and giving people the opportunity to create their own experiences in discovering new places, seeing places away from the obvious tourist trails, and getting a real sense of what Europe is all about.
The idea came to me from riding some of the more established bikepacking routes and finding them too technically and physically challenging for long term, long distance travel. The route was conceived as a trail in a similar vein to the Great Divide MTB trail in the USA, a relatively non-technical crossing of this diverse and fascinating continent. Essentially a dirt road touring route which goes near to more established and technical routes on its way. ‘Divide’ is a popular choice of name for a long distance bikepacking route, and while this doesn’t follow any continental divide, however it does cross many cultural, political, economic and environmental divides in its crossings of Europe. Weaving the history of this varied land into the journey, to try to dispell the reality of the international borders, to create an adventurous route with a European style to it, from the far northeast to the far southwest and many points in-between.
LEAVE NO TRACE …
- First, and above all, be self-supported, and bear in mind that no one will pass behind you picking up your trash, so follow the Leave No Trace principles.
- Don’t leave any waste behind. Leave everything as you find it, and if it’s possible, better. If there are some wrappings where you are going to sleep, take it with your trash and create a positive impact. Inspire your friends to do the same.
- If you feel Nature’s call, dig a “cathole”, at least 100m from any water source. A small trowel can be useful, there are some weighing only 12 grams, they are used more than you imagine. Cover it and try to disguise it as much as possible. Of course, don’t leave there toilet paper, much less wet wipes. Put it in a small plastic bag and take it with the rest of your trash.
- There are a lot of options to sleep outside. Quiet places, spectacular ones, camping areas, free refuges, and all kind of accommodation along the routes. Choose with common sense, out of sight, and out of private areas.