Cycle Touring Videos

Cycle Touring Videos

Welcome to our Cycle Touring Videos from our France to China cycle trip and our World Cycle Tour. I hope you enjoy them. The photos and videos are shot on a GoPro Hero 2, a Lumix GF1 camera and an iphone SE.

Safe travels!

Kelly & Michael x

France to China by bike Cycle Touring Videos

  1. France
  2. Italy
  3. The first 5000km (France to Iran)
  4. Iran
  5. Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan
  6. Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan
  7. Kazakhstan & China
  8. A Day in the Life of a Cycle Tourist

World Cycle Tour Cycle Touring Videos

  1. Canada
  2. Snapshot Canada: every 100km across Canada
  3. Farewell Canada

The Cycle Touring Videos

France to China by bike Cycle Touring Videos

France

This is where the journey began at Sty Foy ski station in the Alps! We were working a ski season in the French Alps, when Kelly was in a ski accident, and was no longer able to ski, run, walk, or do anything, except cook and eat. The doctor advised her, that cycling would be good rehab for the knee… and so, with that, the idea of cycling to China was born. With absolutely no experience, next to no planning, and several injuries, we headed off – feeling… confident! Lucky for us the first few days were all down hill, followed by the rest of the week conquering 2 mountains passes. Read more about our cycle trip through France.

Italy

When we made it to Italy, we knew that we would be able to make it the whole way to China – despite what others thought. This was the first country we cycle the whole way across. Read more about our cycle across Italy.

The first 5000km from France to China

Unfortunately, we lost all our original video footage from the first half of our trip. This happened at some point during the trip, but we didn’t realise until we got home, and by this time it was too late to do much about it. We did however manage to retrieve this video about the first 5000km cycling through FranceItalyCroatiaMontenegroAlbaniaMacedoniaGreeceTurkey and Iran. Click on the country name to read more about our cycle trip through those countries.

 

Iran

We didn’t know what to expect when cycling through Iran, but as soon as we crossed the border from Turkey, we were welcomed by friendly and extremely generous people. A day didn’t go by where we weren’t given gifts of fresh fruit, water, smiles and waves. One of the hottest, but also one of my favourite countries on the cycle trip.

Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan

We were only able to get a 5 day transit visa for Turkmenistan, which meant 5 days to cycle 600km across a very hot desert on a very bad road. Luckily, we made it to the border in time. After Turkmenistan was Uzbekistan. The most challenging country during our cycle trip. Bad roads, injured dogs, boring scenery, a killer headwind, but some amazing people. Read more about our adventures in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan

When we arrived into Kyrgyzstan we were greeted with smooth highways, beautiful scenery and lots of cows, oh and mountains. We made it to Bishkek, and then from there cycled into the last Stan of the trip, Kazakhstan. Read more about our adventures in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan & China

The last few days cycling in Kazakhstan were cold! We were looking forward to getting to China and exchanging our bikes for backpacks. The cycle into China was easy, however the bad pollution lead us to hitchhike to Urumqi. Once in Urumqi we sold the bikes, and made our way to Beijing as backpackers. Read more about our China experience.

A Day in the Life of a Cycle Tourist

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a cycling nomad? This video gives a glimpse into the life of a cycle tourist, while we cycled through the Kazakh desert, during our France to China cycle trip.

World Cycle Touring Videos

In June 2016, we decided to head off on a world cycle tour. This epic journey started in Vancouver, Canada, where we first headed across Canada to Halifax. After Canada the plan is to head south across the USA and continuing south through Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

Canada

The cycle journey started on 27th June 2016 in Vancouver, British Columbia. We then spent the next 3.5 months cycling 7000km across Canada to Halifax. The cycle trip took us through the Rocky Mountains, the Prairie lands, the lake lands of Ontario, French Canada and finally the Maritimes.

Click here to read about our cycle trip across Canada.

Snapshot Canada: every 100km across Canada 

We decided to take a photo every 100km that we cycled across Canada. The idea was to put the photos together as a slide show in the hope that it will give a perspective of how the Canadian landscape changes coast to coast. I think it definitely puts the prairies and also Ontario into perspective in terms of distance. The road quality also changes drastically. In total we cycled 7000km across the country.

Farewell Canada: Cycling Canada to Argentina

After spending the winter in Halifax, we were ready to start the next leg of our cycle trip: Cycling Canada to Argentina! This video is about our last week in Canada, cycling from Halifax to the US border.

Italia on a bicycle during our France to China tour

Pizza, pasta, pesto, gelato, breakfast buffets, nutella, focaccia

That pretty much sums up the 12 days we spent in Italia on a bicycle. Good thing I’m on a cycle tour, otherwise I doubt I would still fit into my pants.

After we made the steep descent through the Italian Alps, we found a nice camping spot. Hidden just off the main road, which also turned out to be next to a train line. We were extremely happy to finally be in Italia on a bicycle and were looking forward to treating ourselves to a well-deserved pizza and beer combo. The following day looked grim. It wasn’t long before it started to rain. We also forgot it was a Sunday, and many places were closed. We did however manage to find an open pizzeria, where we took shelter for an hour, before heading off in the rain again.

italia by bicycle

Wet days on the bike

After spending the entire day cycling in the wind and rain, I discovered that my pannier rain covers, weren’t really that waterproof. Undies, socks and various other things were soaked. It was at that point I felt a bit defeated. We were just outside Turin, it was still pelting down with rain, and there was no sign of a suitable camping spot. I was wet, cold and exhausted, and there was no end in sight. To cheer ourselves up, we decided to find a cheap hotel in town, to rest, dry off, and start again in the morning. For 20 euro each, we found a 4 star hotel with complimentary buffet breakfast (which was also cheaper than the cheapest hostel dorm room in town). The weather was still rubbish, but things were definitely looking brighter.

First crash of the trip

On the way to the hotel, I managed to get my front tyre stuck in a tramline, and sent myself flying across the road. The wind was knocked out of me, and I unfortunately hit my bad knee, as well as injuring my wrist, arm and shoulder. Yep, 1 week into the cycle tour, and I’ve already managed to stack it on the bike. Luckily a car pulled over and an Italian couple jumped out. They offered to drive me to the hospital or the hotel. I opted for the hotel. Once I arrived at the hotel, the reception organized a free doctor to come to the hotel and look over my injuries. If you ever have an accident in the province of Turin in Italy, the local government actually provides a free doctor service – handy if you’re clumsy like me.

Hotel Diplomatic was absolutely amazing! If you happen to be in Turin, I recommend them. They also said that if I was to return, or if anyone else that I know stays there, the hotel would be able to offer the cheapest rate, plus a 10% discount on top of that (whether this is true, I don’t know, but might be worth testing out if you’re in the area).

We decided to stay a day longer in Turin, mainly to regain use of my arm. When we did set off, the sun was out, and it looked like it was here to stay. It did, for most of the day. Then the rain returned. Followed by some storms. One thing about cycle touring, weather is completely unpredictable! We had a couple of days of sun (and wind), followed by a couple of days of rain (and more wind). One thing is for certain – there is always wind!

cycling italy

After Turin we made our way further east towards Piacenza.

Then South East through Parma, Reggio Emilia (loved this town), Modena, Bologna (also a lovely city), Imola, Folic, and a few other smaller towns and villages. Finally we arrived at the Adriatic coast, where we spent a couple of nights in the coastal resort town, Rimini.

Cycling through the small Italian towns and cities was probably my favorite part of exploring Italia on a bicycle. Each place so cycle-friendly. Lots of beautiful old Italian buildings. Some towns even had a Tuscan vibe (though we didn’t actually cycle through Tuscany), and a well developed café scene. Who can complain about $2 cappuccinos? The countryside was also beautiful, and at times reminded me of the peak district in the UK. The towns and cities had character, and I could have spent hours just sipping on a coffee, people watching in a plaza.

Admittedly, the cycling has been hard at times. Especially when you have a day or 2 of cycling on main roads, in winds and rains, and in peak hour traffic. You just learn to push on through, and try and gain motivation from simple things. Much like running a marathon, you just take each step at a time. I remember having a rather bad day of cycling, I was waiting to cross a road, when I noticed a young boy was waving at me out of the car window, I waved back, and he gave me the thumbs up. That small act brightened my day and somehow got me through the following 3 hours of cycling. Chocolate got me through the rest.

When we hit the Adriatic coast we were on such a high.

Our longest day of cycling, plus hitting the 900km mark and successfully crossing our first country on a bicycle. We celebrated by checking into a ridiculously cheap hotel (got to love the low season), which included a complimentary buffet breakfast. Have you ever seen cyclists at a buffet? It is actually worrying how much you can eat when you’re cycling. It’s like your stomach turns into an endless pit.

From Rimini we headed south down the coast to the port town, Ancona. From here we caught the overnight Blue Line ferry to Split, Croatia. Overall, Italia on a bicycle was an awesome experience!

cycling italy 1000km photo

Italia on a bicycle stats:

Longest day: 103km

Accommodation: 6 nights wild camping, 4 nights in a budget hotel, 1 night in a B&B, 1 night on a ferry

Average spendings per day: 14 euro ($20AUD)

Total kilometers cycled in Italy: 725km

Total kilometers: 1025km

Days in Italy: 12 days

Total days: 18 days

Pizzas consumed: 4

Buffet breakfasts plundered: 4

Cycling the French Alps “Oo La La”

Cycling France

The beginning!

The first week of cycling the French Alps complete… yay! Having never done anything like this before, I had no idea what to expect. So far it’s been challenging, but it’s been good, and we both have been enjoying it (99% of the time).

The first couple of days were relatively easy – mostly downhill. The weather varied between raining, windy and sunny, but it was still a good introduction to the trip, and we managed to cover a fair distance – despite spending several hours lost, trying to find our way into and then out of Grenoble. We set up camp next to old castles, in farmer’s fields and in random grassy clearings… somehow always managing to be in an undesirable distance to a railway line (I blame Michael for that).

first day of cycle trip cycling france

The first mountain pass!

On day 3 of cycling the French Alps we started our ascent up the first mountain pass, Col du Lautaret (2058m). A common route for the Tour de France and to my surprise a black cycle route (one of the hardest cycle gradings). There were many cyclists out training (I assume for the Tour de France) in their flash gear, flying up and down the hills, on their super-light, expensive road bikes, while we plodded along, carrying at least 15-20kg of baggage each, on our heavy hybrid bikes. We cycled the pass over 2 days, not wanting to over-do-it, especially as my knee is still recovering from the ski accident I had a couple of months ago.

The final 8km up to the pass was grueling. The wind was at it’s strongest, and the rain was no better. Michael and I made a deal that we were treat ourselves to a large pizza and beer when we finally make it to Italy… the chant in the last few kilometers, “Pizza. Beer. Pizza. Beer.”, made the cycle a little easier. There was still a fair bit of snow at the pass, it was freezing cold and nothing was open, but the views were amazing. It was definitely the hardest cycle day so far, but definitely my favourite day of the trip so far.

Next was the descent!

Flying down the mountains with all our baggage definitely scared the crap out of me… at stages we were exceeding 50kph, which is way too fast for me on 2 wheels (maybe I’m becoming more of a wimp as I get older, or maybe I’ve just accepted that I’m a bit clumsy and accident-prone). The views were amazing, but unfortunately I was too scared to take my eyes off the road, so didn’t get to fully appreciate them. Within an hour we arrived in Briancon, a very cute, historic town, with lots of cool old buildings and chateaus. We decided to recover in a budget hotel (which conveniently had a sauna and steam room)… and I enjoyed one of the best showers of my life ☺

col du lautaret cycling France

Col du Montegenvre

The following day we had to conquer the final pass into Italy, which was the Col du Montgenvre (1860m), also a route common on the Tour de France, and a red route (second highest cycle grade). After the grueling Col du Lautaret, this col was a piece of cake, and we flew up it in about an hour. The town, Montegenvre is a ski resort town, and unfortunately didn’t have the best views from the top, and also no touristy sign post with the col and altitude displaced (I do like those cheesy tourist photos). We did take a few minutes at the top to enjoy a well earned Snickers, and top up the water. We then continued down the pass and into Italy. Overall, I really enjoyed cycling the French Alps and definitely recommend it!

The road down the Col into Italy was bloody steep, with amazing views I’m sure (if I could take my eyes off the road for 2 seconds)… and the number of motorbikes and long, freezing, tunnels just added to the terrifying experience. After flying down the Col for about an hour (the quickest 20km of the trip), we decided to set up camp.

The following day’s agenda: find a pizzeria and enjoy our grande pizza and beer reward! Yum!

Cycling the French Alps: Stats

Total distance: 300km

Number of days: 6 days

Passes: 2 mountain passes (1860m and 2058m)

Accommodation: 4 nights wild camping, 1 night budget hotel

Repairs: No punctures or anything major, but my chain did fall off once

Spendings: accommodation – 30Euro, food – 10Euro, other – 5 Euro (Total: 45Euro ($AUD67/ 37 pounds))

Not only did we ride from France to China by bicycle, we also went from France to China by toilet! This was to raise awareness about the global sanitation issue.