How Much Can You Plan a Long-Distance Cycle Route?

It’s all too easy to grab a map and a pen and draw a line around the world, joining up all those countries you’d love to cycle through. It’ll probably take you no more than a couple of minutes until you can sit back and daydream about what’s ahead on your journey. But just because your route is possible in theory, it may be very different in reality.
I’ve lost count of the number of hours I’ve poured over my maps trying to find a viable route around the globe. I know which way I’d like to go but just because one country is beside another on the map, doesn’t actually mean there’s a way through. Trying to plan a journey of this length in minute detail is impossible; there are just too many variables to take into consideration and these change all too often, sometimes overnight. Take the safety and security aspect of the trip. The UK Government website has advice for all the countries in the world, from entry requirements to recommended health precautions as well as giving the latest information on how risky the county is, both as a whole and by region. As is to be expected, this changes with current events within the country. In the last week, my route through one country, in particular, has changed at least twice as whole swathes of land are reclassified as no-go zones. Having taken another look today, it appears three more countries have been updated. Just because my route through a certain country is viable today, doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow, let alone when I reach its borders.

So, knowing that, planning everything is impossible – not to mention it kind of ruins the spontaneous adventure that I want the trip to be – I’ve decided on a new method of planning, concentrating on the most important aspects of the trip, namely border crossings, and visa requirements. I figured, so long as I know my entry and exit points of each country and how I’ll cross, then I’ll make up the bit in between as I go, checking on the most reliable information available at the time. Knowing when and where to apply for visas and leaving enough time for the process to be completed will be of great help to avoid lengthy and costly stays at embassies.

I’ll be posting on how I’m getting on with planning all six stages of the ride in the near future, starting with what should be one of the easiest parts, Europe.


Edited by – Emer Garry
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