Our world trip: Third time's the charm!
Attempt one dates back to April 2020, attempt two to September 2020. Fortunately, giving up is not in our dictionary. If you don't succeed in the first two attempts, you will often succeed in a third attempt. This also applies to our trip around the world by bike, third time's the charm, we're all set!
Start of our bike trip: This time it's for real!
Our panniers have been luring at us from the living room since a few weeks now. It's finally there, the last moments in our believed city, Ghent (BE). For one last time, we are packing up our day-to-day belongings and giving them a permanent place for the next 2-3 years at our parents' house. Having moved 7 times in the last 2 years, we clean our house for one last time. Just like on the road, we feel it's important to leave everything behind organised and tidy.
After our last day of work we give a drink for our colleagues and say our first goodbyes to some friends. What a difference with two years ago, when a hug or kiss was still unthinkable. We fully enjoy these moments and will cherish them for a long time. The very last evening, our aunt and uncle come to support us with moving the last items out of our place after which we enjoy a nice evening at a local restaurant in Ghent.
It is the morning of February 25th, 2022 when we put on our cycling clothes for the first time. The temperature is only 3°C outside but Niels chooses to cycle in shorts. We look at each other and don't grasp the idea that this will be our standard outfit for a long time. Panniers on the Surly's, the keys on the table, closing the door behind us ("Can we close it? Haven't we forgotten anything?") and off we go, as if we've never done anything else.
From now on, we have no fixed place to live. We will go from spare bed to a couch and we will have to rely on the goodwill of others. For the first few weeks, this will be fairly easy, since we will be spending time with family and friends until the 21st of March. After that, we will start cycling towards Scandinavia and will be sleeping with people who didn't know us before. We are really looking forward to these encounters, even to those cold nights in our tent.
Cycling from Ghent to Limburg
Two years ago, we calculated that it would take us four days to cycle from Ghent to Limburg. We're a bit more ambitious now and make a 2-day plan this time. We cycle towards Niels' home in Limburg. Via the bicycle highway Ghent-Antwerp we make fast progress with some serious backwinds that make us fly. The company of Lisa and Glenn, who are cycling with us for a while and will be leaving on a world tour of their own in June, also gives us a boost. The weather is crazy, with heavy winds, a hail storm and sometimes strong sunshines, we love it!
In Schoten, past Antwerp, we have arranged our first stay with Warmshower hosts. We are offered a warm bed by Eric and Mieke. Two experienced cyclists with lots of dreams, who knows we'll meet along the way. Thanks to Eric and Mieke for hosting us on our first evening, it was great fun and we hope to see you again one day!
First days on the bike: Give your body some time to adapt
On day two we cycle further towards the most beautiful province of our country, Limburg. We cycle next to the canals for a whole day. First along the Albert Canal and then along the canal Herentals - Bocholt. Perhaps not the most interesting itinerary, and because of the strong headwind also not the most fun.
Cyclists often discuss what the most difficult conditions are: wind or mountains? For us, that choice is pretty obvious, especially for Niels. At any given moment, it is more interesting to cycle up a mountain than to have to pound against the wind. Today we are cycling 75 km against the wind, while the landscape rarely changes. About 3400 calories are burned when we finally arrive in Limburg and Niels shares that this day is listed in his top three of heaviest cycling days. Cycling across the Alps was easier than fighting against these Flemish wind forces.
Of course, it also typifies the beginning of a cycling journey. The first week, or two, a body needs some time to adjust. Suddenly you are active the entire day and small pains will accumulate. Don't let this scare you, it's all part of the fun. Every body is different, but we feel a huge change (in a positive sense) after those first two weeks. In our opinion, anyone can start a journey by bike. Niels even has a hernia in his back and, except for those first two weeks, he never feels healthier/better than when cycling.
We continue to enjoy a beautiful winter day, it is cold because of the wind but the sun is shining all day through and that gives us some positive energy. The next few weeks we will take a break in Limburg to say goodbye to friends and family. We also want to update our website to provide you with a complete packing list and checklist to plan a trip around the world by bike.
Our cycling trip turns into a honeymoon?!
Another reason why we wanted to stay in Limburg for a while is because we needed some time to prepare our marriage. We didn't tell many people in advance, but since mid-October we are engaged. After having spent more than 6 years together as a couple, we decided to take this big step and turn our farewell party into a wedding party.
Needless to say, there was a lot of work involved here, but what a joy it was being able to arrange it all with the dearest family and friends. We had a great day and enjoyed every minute of it. Via this way we want to thank everyone one last time for giving us an unforgettable day, making us feel loved and for the many congratulations!
As we write this, we are still recovering from our wedding party and the many goodbyes. It's all part of it, although we have to admit that the last few days have been quite emotional. We feel privileged to be surrounded by so many beautiful people, which confirms once again that we are making the right decision. Although we'll miss them, they all wish us the best and want us to succeed in our dream. Soon we will jump on our bikes with many great memories and we will be ready for the real start of our journey of indefinite duration. First thing, from Belgium by bike to Oslo. See you out there on the road!