Hogtuscany. First solo European tour.


I’m off on tour in a few weeks time.
I’ve never done more than a couple of days at a time and never ridden on the continent, although I’ve driven in it quite a bit when I lived in Switzerland.

Created this thread to first hopefully get some commentary on the routes I’m taking, and then I’ll log bits of the tour as I can, depending on internet access when I am away.

I’m meeting Mrs Hogtrumpet and some friends from Australia in Tuscany on the 6th July until the 13th.
Decided to take it fairly slow- aiming for 300-400km a day only, which gives time to stop off or divert as I like.

Outward Journey: https://goo.gl/maps/jfYNp

Day 1: 30th June London to Mons, Belgium- (Calais to Mons) 200km
Day 2: 1st July Mons to Saarbrucken: 330km
Day 3: 2nd July Saarbrucken to Ulm: 299km
Day 4: 3rd July Ulm to 4th stop Innsbruck, Austria: 232km
Day 5: 4th July Innsbruck to Mantua, Italy: 300km
Day 6: 5th July Day Off in Mantua.
Day 7: 6th July Mantua to Tuscany: 203km

I’m spending the day in Mantua because it was where Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo was first performed (in 1607).
I’m going to go and visit the Ducal palace and a few other music oriented tourist locations.

Return Journey: https://goo.gl/maps/ZYI9X

Day 1: 13th July Tuscany to Monaco: 410km
Day 2: 14th July Monaco to Florac: 410km
Day 3: 15th July Florac to Limoges: 331km
Day 4: 16th July Rest Day in/near Limoges
Day 5: 17th July Limoges to Lalacelle: 386km
Day 6: 18th July Lalacelle to Boulogne-sur-Mer: 345km
Day 7: 19th July Boulogne-sur-Mer to Calais: 42km then Eurostar home

Freely admit I have NO IDEA what I am doing, beyond knowing how to ride a bike and being able to plan a route in Google maps.
Have no idea if any of the places I’m going, or the roads I’m going on are interesting, nice or safe to go on.
I might also be missing some really good stuff and that is why I’m hoping those folks here who are more experienced can give me a few pointers with the route.

I was just going to program way points in the GPS and see what it suggests with the ‘windy roads’ option and go from there.


For the cost of petrol, wine and gourmet meals,5* single rooms Ill show you a better route down and back. For an extra £50 I can show Mrs Hogtrumpet and her female friends a good time too. Let me know if yer interested cause I cant be arsed to comment on yer route otherwise.


Mrs Hogtrumpet has expressed interest in this.
Her last rubber-gimp met an unfortunate end.


Well if thats what shes into count me out for the good time , book us double rooms down and back and the deal still stands.




I think you’re going just North of the good bit of Belgium - I’d go through both those National Parks south-east of Mons.


Cheers Avi- how about something like this?


I probably wouldn’t stay in Mons itself.


I’ve never actually planned a route there, I just spent a few days in it a few years ago and it was really good. I suspect it’s like British National Parks in that you can’t really go wrong. Mian’ll be along shortly to go on about how great it is, no doubt.

I’d also be tempted to go a bit south generally to get in all the war monuments on the hills, but I’m not sure that’s a particularly mainstream attraction.


bit further south. around the town of givet


Regarding on the bike clothing- I was thinking leather trousers and textile jacket, taking a pair of kevlar jeans for the very warm day.

Do people take a spare jacket with them, maybe something mesh for warm weather riding and something warmer if the temperature drops?
Or just take one jacket and layer up if need be, or sweat?


If the weather allows just take one jacket and a jumper easily to hand and waterproofs if necessary. A jumper is more versatile, you can wear it in the evenings when colder.

Also for routes if you want to find the good roads, this site whilst clunky is very useful. I’ve just used it to plan the Spain trip we’re on atm (posting on LB from a ship, what a revolution!):



Amazing Jay- enjoy your trip mate.
Given I’m going to be in France, Germany and Northern Italy in July would you suggest I go for a mesh-style, or a lighter cordura?


I would rethink your Mileage it’s way to high for a touring holiday, you will not get time to see anything. Research places of interest before traveling.
Wear Rukka.


300km is only 180miles- is that still too high?
What would you suggest for a daily mileage target?


180 miles on twisty mountain roads is a longish day IMO.
As for what to wear, this was July last year on Stelvio :smiley:


Wow, really?
I was certainly not expecting that.

What about 130 miles a day through the mountains?


I should say, 180 miles is doable, all depends on what you want to see on the way or just stop for food/fuel/wee and enjoy the roads.

As for the weather, it’s real hit and miss in the mountains, as you’ll know from living in Switzerland. It’ll also be a few degrees colder the higher you go.
One year it’s been roasting, other times it’s lashed down and last year everything including fog! These have all been early July trips.
2014-07-09 10.41.12-1 by Nivag, on Flickr


Ok, taken the comments on board- going to do the same sort of miles over 11 days each way instead of 6-7.
Shooting for on average 200-odd km a day, should deb very relaxing.

I’ve come up with an adjusted outward leg:
Decided to take it a bit easier and go a slightly different route through Colmar France, rather than Ulm, Germany
I like Colmar- we used to go there when I lived in Schweiz so it will be good to see it again.

29th June: Take 9:30am Eurostar to Calais, then ride to Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, France then to Avesnes-sur-Helpe. (200km)

30th June: Avesnes-sur-Helpe to Bogny-sur-Meuse to Givet. (141km)
A lazy day in the Ardennes

1st July Givet to Luxembourg City (128km)
Not doing many cities but I want to go to Luxembourg.

2nd July: Luxembourg City to Colmar (264km)
Familiar territory

3rd July: Colmar to Friedrichshafen (200km)
Get a nice hotel with views of Lake Konstanz

4th July: Friedrichshafen to Innsbruck (229km)

5th July: Innsbruck to Bolzano (123km)
Staying in a chalet.

6th July: Bolzano to Mantua (185km)

7th July: Day off in Mantua
Monteverdi/Ducal Palace and all that.

8th July: Mantua to Cortona (320km)
Probably a motorway day.

And an adjusted return leg:

13th July: Cortana to Pisa (197km). Get an early start, for leaning tower.

14th July: Pisa to Albenga (249km) Coast road.

15th July: Albenga to Saint Tropez (224km) Coast road.

16th July: Saint Tropez to Nimes (225km) Via Luberon

17th July: Nimes to Florac to Saint-flour: (232)km Windy mountain roads in Cevennes.

18th July: Saint-flour to Limoges: (215km)

19th July: Rest day in Limoges

20th July: Limoges to Le Blanc to Tours: (208km)

21st July: Tours to Nogent-le-Rotrou to Bernay (235km)

22nd July: Bernay to Dieppe to Boulogne-sur-Mer (260km)

23rd July: Boulogne-sur-Mer to Calais & then Eurostar back to UK, ride back to West London.

Going to make the bookings via booking.com so I can easily change things if I get delayed, or decide to go off somewhere else.


Here’s some stats from a trip a few years ago.

Distance: 234.0 mi
Total Duration: 09:39:18
Moving Time: 06:38:22
Stopped Time: 02:56:13

Distance: 170.6 mi
Total Duration: 08:22:05
Moving Time: 05:16:35
Stopped Time: 03:02:30

These two are mountain based journeys.

Distance: 284.9 mi
Total Duration: 09:31:13
Moving Time: 06:38:36
Stopped Time: 02:42:26

Distance: 310.1 mi
Total Duration: 09:41:54
Moving Time: 06:29:48
Stopped Time: 03:07:07

The last two were less twisty mountain roads, more fast flowing A roads. Hope that helps.