When you’re going on a multi-day bike trip, knowing your destination is one thing, where you will be sleeping each night is another.
For our twenty-two day Brompton trip from Belgium to Norway we had our accommodations arranged up until Copenhagen. From then on, we would take things as they’d come. Here’s how that all went down!
Friends on bikes
The first three days while crossing the Netherlands (Nijmegen, Giethoorn and Groningen) we made good use of our membership of Dutch initiative ‘Vrienden op de Fiets’, which can be translated to ‘Friends on Bikes’. For a mere 19 € per person – annual membership fee is 30 € – you get a place to sleep in the homes of like minded people that are not afraid to share their cycling stories with you. Breakfast is always included and some even offer diner or even a picnic for a small surcharge. If you plan on cycling and staying in the Netherlands – and Belgium, France and Germany in lesser extent – ‘Vrienden op de Fiets’ definitely gets our approval.
I don’t think it’s necessary to introduce Airbnb to anyone, but still. The handy app allows people on the go to easily get in touch with people renting out spare rooms. One of the pros is that Airbnb is (often) cheaper than booking a hotel room. The fact that you don’t really know where you end up might be considered a con, but there are always testimonials from other travelers to rely on. For our various stays in Germany (Bremen and Hamburg), Denmark (Copenhagen) and Sweden (Malmö and Goteborg) we stayed with different hosts, which we picked carefully.
Another pro is that you can get a 35 € discount on your first Airbnb stay if you register through this link. Can’t go wrong with a discount people. Clickety-click!
For our transfer from Germany to Sweden I booked us a cabin in a ferry, something that was actually mandatory since we left port at 03.00 h in the morning. Sleeping in the upper bunk which I – being the alpha male – obviously claimed made me relive childhood holidays. Turns out that nowadays I don’t make my way up there as easily as before.
Oh, and we did not fold up our bikes and wheeled them on board. No sir, we actually cycled up the ferry like true bosses. Okay, we were accompanied by a safety car and they made us wear these fluorescent yellow jackets but still…. Like true bosses. Upon arrival we were also the first two allowed to leave the ship. Extra bonus: I got up in time to see the iconic bridge that connects Sweden to Denmark!
We hadn’t camped in years, so going camping was definitely something that ranked high on my (not our) wish list. In the Nordic countries there’s something called ‘Allemansrätten’ – the freedom to roam – allowing you to pitch a tent nearly anywhere you want, so after a + 100 kilometer ride with a fair share of hills that’s exactly what we did. We pitched our tent on a dry patch of high grass on a hilltop overlooking the area we cycled through. All of our camping gear was sparkling new, so a little time lapse was in place to see if we could get it done in a fair amount of time. And we did!
After having pitched the tent, I came up with a make shift alarm system for both our bikes and before we hit the hay, we took some time to enjoy the stunning view. Sleeping at a random place in the wild, it felt weird yet adventurous. All these strange and new sounds really trigger your senses, but in the end, we both slept more or less okay. Until the lawnmower of a nearby golf court woke us up that is. Later on, we slept at various campsites. Aaah, the luxury of having toilets, showers and a place to buy some snacks nearby…
As planned, we ended our trip in Oslo and decided to stay in a hotel. Spic and span rooms, breakfast, secure places to park our bikes… after three weeks on the road we thought we deserved all this. We could have searched for random hotels on the interwebs – and maybe we should have in order to score free breakfast – but using the Booking app was as easy and our online time was limited so we went for fast and easy.
If you’re into a 15 € discount upon your next booking, just click this link. Again, you can’t go wrong with a discount people. Clickety-click!
So that’s how we managed to stay all vibrant and fresh during our three week bike trip, we made sure we always had a (nice) place to sleep. And we got to meet a couple of lovely people along the way so hooray for that. But where do you sleep when you’re touring?