Author Archive

Things I Miss Most / 14.01.13

Fairly self explanatory, these are things I miss.

10. Bike Paths in Switzerland

These puppies consisted of the most amazingly groomed, accessible  well marked network of bike paths I have ever seen. They were paved quite often and took us everywhere we needed to go with minimal flat tires and a smooth ride. They went on beautiful scenic routes and allowed us to avoid busy roads, big cities, and cars which all slow cyclists down. I would give an arm and a leg for a bike path network like this in the U.S. – or even just Michigan. Way to go Switzerland!

9. Finding a Campsite

It’s like a mix between I Spy, Wheres Waldo, and a treasure hunt every single night. Is is well hidden? Three points. Is it accessible even for the tandem and trailer? Five points. Does it have a clean water source nearby for Lindsey to shower in? Fifteen Points! The accomplishment of finding the winning campsite for the evening is unmatched, even without receiving a medal or trophy ( even though I would kindly accept one)- just saying.

8.Guilt Free Calorie Consumption

I could do what I want, eat what I want, and not become a fatty due to excessive and sometimes involuntary cycling. This was helpful since our primary food was some form of processed carbs, and I usually liked to eat a lot of it thanks to hunger and oftentimes boredom- what else is there to do at night when camping in a field?

7. Bread and Cheese in France

The best in the world, and oh so cheap. Give me a baguette and some local brie and I am one happy girl.

6. Not Picking Out Clothes in the Morning

Spandex pants or spandex shorts? Butt padding or none? Two jackets or one? Does my yellow helmet go with my pink sneakers, or does it clash with my purple shirt and the brown dirt caked on my legs? I think the dread locks in my pony tail are ruining the whole feel of this outfit…Who the heck cares!!!

5. Chupa-Chups

The strawberry milky lolly pops that kept me going through my highest highs and lowest lows, even the currency for bets at times. I miss these little guys tumbling around in my handle bar bag, awaiting the next water break when I can whip one out and have a little Chupa- Chup bliss.

4. Life on a Map

Every day we looked at the map and figured out where we would go. Pointing to a dot on the paper shaped our days, it was all up to us, all planned last minute, and made for an exciting day, everyday. If we got lost, we weren’t really lost because there was always another way to get to the destination dot. If we wanted to take a detour, we could and if we saw a larger dot, or a dot that looked more enticing we had the freedom to go to that dot instead. Usually the names of the dots were what drew us in, and also the colors of the roads on the map. Red roads are bad, yellow roads are good, and white roads are boring and usually not flat. Life based on a map is truly the best way to travel- you never know what the dots will look like in reality, and what the routes to get there will bring.

3. Peeing Where I Please

Finding a bathroom is so over rated and oftentimes on this trip impossible. You have to pee. You get off your bike. You take care of business. You get back on the bike. Done. So. Simple.

2. Meeting Strangers

People are so good and so interesting everywhere in the world. Whether they are staring at the bizarre caravan of dirty cyclist, or asking us to come home to have dinner with them and their family, we connected with people everyday. They saw us, were interested, and sometimes we got the pleasure of accepting their stories, kindness, and hospitality. I met some of the most interesting characters I’ve ever encountered on this trip, and also made some friends who I will keep in contact with for years to come. Interact with those around you because encountering strangers is the good stuff in life- if they are weird then move on, if they are amazing then you have found a new friend, why not take the chance?

1. Movement Lifestyle

Everyday I saw new cities, new people, new landscapes, unpredictable weather, interactions, new food, new place to sleep, new experiences. My mind was always full of thoughts processing everything around me and it never got old. I was moving myself forward one country at a time and focusing on the simple things in life like eating and sleeping. Sitting still became a treat and warm showers were divine. A couch was a temporary luxury that I would encounter once in awhile, and everyday was centered around adapting and moving. This is the way to live. There is so much to see ,and do, and taste, and so many people to meet. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sit still again.


Things I do NOT miss:

Being rained on

Being so dirty my hair stands up on its own

Spandex and butt sores


Spiders/ Bugs

Itch weed

Steep Inclines


Chapter Five: Meeting Rainbows / 14.01.13


Thessaloniki. A college town on the coast of Greece, full of shopping, frappe, and social unrest. We arrived late at night with our loaded bikes after an 18 kilometer walk from the airport outside the city. Without a host, we found ourselves tired and in search of a cheap hostel to rest for the night. While waiting by a lamp post for devin to return after backtracking to find my lost bike lock cable, I made some new friends. First a boy about my age with a similarly loaded bike came over to me to introduce himself. His name was Gus, and he had been cycling by himself from his home in France for five months. Not a moment later another young man walked up and introduced himself, Martin was his name and he too was solo cycling across Europe. We all exchanged information, and within minutes were connected swapping stories of our travels, checking out each others gear, and wondering where the others were staying for the night.

After a difficult and seemingly endless day, this meeting of cycling tourists gave us a new energy and let us know we were not alone in our mission. Others just like us have the same ideas and curiosity- we were not crazy for stepping from our day to day lives to explore and let circumstances take us where they may. We really had no idea what circumstances had in mind for us later on in Greece, but it ended up being a colorful experience that would be hard to forget.

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Chapter Four: Camping Ciampino & Roaming Rome / 13.01.13


After Florence, we took a train to Rome. The whole way I stared out the window and remarked at all the fabulous possible campsites that scattered the area along the tracks. We arrived to Rome in the evening, and left Rome an hour later for the outskirts of the city to find a place to camp for the night. Due to darkness and exhaustion we got off the train at the wrong station, getting Devin and his bike stuck in the train door in the process. After prying his bike free with the help of a few concerned train-riders, we discovered that we had no idea where we were, and even less of a clue where to go. Perfect.

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Chapter Three: Miki’s House / 19.12.12


When riding the hills of the italian coast I reluctantly told Devin and the others that I couldnt pedal any further no matter how hard I grit my teeth or breathed through the pain. The fear of permanant injury loomed in the back of my mind and I didnt want to toy with the concequences of further strain or damage. Devin and I cycled to the nearest town and got on a train the next morning to Chiavari, Italy to meet our next host- Miki.

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Schooled by a Fortune Cookie / 29.11.12


Seven months ago I graduated earning a Bachelors degree from Hope College and started to fill out graduate school applications.

Six months ago I became friends with Kallie and Andrew and agreed to bike across Europe with two new friends, and two I had yet to meet.

Five months ago I bought a bike.

Four months ago I got this fortune out of a cookie while eating Chinese food at Kallie’s house while planning a bike trip that seemed vague at best.

Three months ago I realized how difficult cycling across Europe was and questioned my sanity and decision making skills.

Two months ago I fell in love with cycling and the feeling of hard earned sweat meeting fresh mountain air of a new place.

One month ago I started contemplating returning home and what I want in life when I get there.

Next month I will arrive home and get to enjoy family and friends while I figure out the next years of my life- still unknown, but looking a bit brighter and more exciting these days.

Sometimes you need to let go and simply go along with others ideas. It might just turn out that the act of letting go is what you needed all along, and the view along the way is just a bonus for being a good sport.

Noon Prayer in Istanbul / 26.11.12

Chapter Two: A Lesson in Limping & the Importance of Flexibility / 18.11.12

In the aftermath of the accident, I realized the pain that remained was in my upper leg, and my pride. In spite of the injury, Devin and I cycled 60 km the next morning to the town of Antiebs where a possible host and the promise of rest and recuperation lived. After a beautiful yet painful ride along the rocky coastal roads, we arrived in Antieb to find not our host Manford, but instead his temporary roommate named Juliana- and adorable student from Columbia. She was kind, laid back, a bit bubbly and the apartment was comfy and calm- just what I needed to shake the pounding headache and rest my leg in peace.

Shortly after settling in she told us she was having a couple friends over to make pizza, and invited us to join- a low key night with pizza, perfect! By midnight fourteen of her friends had arrived, each bringing a bottle of wine or liquor and an endless supply of beer. They were all  students around our age and came from all over the world to earn a European Maters in Renewable Energy.  Every person there was awesome, friendly, talkative, and knew English well enough to be our best friend by the end of the evening. Music blasted while custom pizzas flew in and out of the oven- some with eggs on top and even “Mr.Pizza” were created and devoured. Great conversation, music swapping and even dancing pushed until the early hours of morning, and then it all ended with a bang- literally.

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Chapter One: Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall… / 17.11.12

When I think back to my travels in the French Rivera I see palm trees, sunny beaches, beautiful salt water waves, and that one curb that ruined it all. It has now been a month since I flew off of my bike onto the pavement below and slowed my pace to a record low- stationary. A minor concussion, scrapes and bruises have since healed, but a tear to a small muscle in my leg has made me switch gears and paths for this trip.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? It’s a long story but worth sharing I think, and mostly true…

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The Sound of Music / 22.09.12

When riding through Switzerland I realized the hills were alive- with the sound of me panting for breath, and my gears grinding while going up hill after hill after hill. These sounds are depressing. To cover the sounds of suffering, I crafted a playlist entitled “legpain”. This masterpiece of compiled songs keeps me going day after day no matter the weather, terrain, or mood. After about 20 km of warm up I fire up these magical tunes, always keeping it on shuffle because- yes, my life really is that exciting.I figured I would let you all in on the goods that keep me going.

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Epitome of a Sponge / 15.09.12

In my last post I believe I mentioned something about “being a human sponge” and I really had no idea how accurate that statement was. I have been a sponge in the past 18 days of this trip in every sense of the word. To start, I soaked up the adventure and hospitality in Worms with Claudia and her family. I enjoyed meals and laughter, new friendships and sun in the garden working on bikes. I was overwhelmed with the changes in setting and culture traveling from Michigan, to New York with family, to NYC, to Germany, then Paris, then back to Worms. I tried to remain open and absorb the ambiance and soul of each and every place and person I encountered. This was both exhilarating and exhausting- or so I thought…

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