|Across the top of the Mediterranean over two weeks.|
This time of year always feels like about as far from a ride as I’ll get. It’s in the minus twenties outside and it’s been snowing for days straight. Time for some cost-no-object daydreaming…
If I jumped on a plane late in the evening on Friday, December 22nd at the beginning of our holiday break, it’s a long slog because there is no direct flight to Athens, but I would eventually get there on Saturday afternoon. A night in Athens and then I could begin a long ride in a warm climate across the north coast of the Mediterranean on Christmas Eve, passing through the heart of the Roman Empire on my way west to Lisbon for a flight in time to go back to work.
I have to be back at it on Monday, January 8th. There is a direct flight from Lisbon, Portugal back to Toronto on the Saturday before. Could I get from Athens to Lisbon in thirteen days?
It’s about four thousand kilometers through Greece, Italy, France and Spain to Portugal. That works out to an average of just over three hundred kilometres per day which means plenty of time to stop and see things or a big day of riding followed by a day off. Because it’s Europe there are always autostradas to make up time if needed. It appears Athens to Lisbon is a very doable two week ride.
Here’s a possible day by day breakdown with a couple of days off. All the maps are highway averse, looking for local roads and the time it takes to ride them. Should things get backed up, big highway miles could happen to make up lost time:
|Here’s a link to the spreadsheet with working links to maps.|
There are a couple of longer days in there, but there are also two days off completely and some short, half days of riding. There is plenty of time to stop and soak things in en-route to our western return point.
My weapon of choice for this trip would be the new Triumph Tiger Explorer I’m crushing on, in matt cobalt blue. Tall Tigers fit me well and this one is perhaps the best one ever made. As a cross countries mover there is little that can beat it, and that new blue is a lovely thing. I think I’d do a burnt orange on the engine guards and pannier logos. I’d also redo the badges in matching orange.
The new Tiger Explorer is 24 pounds lighter than the old one, gets better mileage and has a host of advanced features that make an already good long distance bike better. The big three that powers it would comfortably carry a passenger if I could convince anyone to do this with me. If we’re touring two up I’d luggage it up and make sure we could carry everything with us, but if I was solo I think I could just get by with the panniers and leave the back end looking less luggage-y.
Outfitting it with luggage and a few odds and ends from the extensive options catalogue is always fun. I only got myself into four thousand dollars of trouble there:
|The solo, lighter Tiger looks a treat.|
- Expedition Aluminium Panniers – Waterproof Inner Bags Pair $160.00
- Engine Bars – Black $364.99
- High Rider Comfort Seat $340.00
- Heated Passenger Seat $535.02
- Quick Release Tank bag $131.57
- LED Fog Lights $555.00
- Adventure Tail Bag $295.00
- Aluminium Radiator Guard $84.99
- Expedition Pannier Mounting Kit $450.00
- Expedition Panniers – Black $1,265.00
In a perfect world I’d get my Tiger shipped from my garage in my England house to the Triumph Dealer in Athens where I’d pick it up on December 23rd. I’d drop it off at the Triumph dealer in Lisbon on January 6th and either convince my cousin to ride it back to the UK or get it shipped back.
I’ve got the kit needed to do this now, but having a look at the latest European gear, I think I’d spring for a new helmet to do this ride with. The Roof Carbon is a piece of industrial art that gives me the benefits of a closed face when I need it and an open face when I’m in need of some wind. The iridium face shield would make this thing look like something out of battle of the planets.
Since it’s a daydream, it ain’t cheap. I’d fly business there and back, so flights are north of seven grand. Getting the bike delivered wouldn’t be cheap, assuming it was waiting for me in Europe to begin with. But hey, if you can’t daydream big, why daydream at all?
13 full days + 1/2 a day on each end
~4000kms – 307kms / day