One of the first things I discovered when beginning to explore bike routes through Europe is that crossing into a new country is similar in distance to passing through a new state in the United States. Europe seems more densely packed with interesting stops along the way and I find very little of it unappealing enough to be avoided. Perhaps it’s an instance of “the grass is always greener on the other side,” but for me, Europe is a playground and I want to ride all over it.
All this being said, the Amsterdam to Rome Bike Tour seems an ideal sampling of many things that make Europe great for cyclists. The dedicated bicycle infrastructure of Holland, fabled spring classics routes in Belgium, hairpin bends through passes in the Swiss Alps, and the beautiful countrysides of Italy are just a few of many reasons to be excited to ride this route.
The route itself shares much of its length with Eurovelo 5, an inter-European bicycle route established (though mostly still to be completed) by the European Cyclists Federation, with cooperation from the EU Sustainable Tourism committee. For more information on Eurovelo 5, I highly recommend having a look at CyclingEurope.org, where you can find a first-hand account of that route in blog form.
This Amsterdam to Rome route is similar to Eurovelo 5 in that it traverses the center of Europe, but takes in a number of roads with serious cycling lore in The Netherlands and the Adrennes region and northern Italian coastal cities left out of the other route.
The fittest of cyclists could probably complete the route in as little as 14 days with limited gear to carry and I’d recommend closer to 21 days for those planning to camp or that would like to take a few rest days. For the purpose of the forthcoming series of posts breaking down the route in more detail, the course will be split into 17 days of riding. Here is a summary of the route in numbers:
Countries Visited: 7 – The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy
Total Distance Covered: 1900 kilometers (1150 miles)
Total Elevation Gain: 7200 meters (23,600 feet)
Average Daily Distance and Gain: 112k (68mi), 425m (1390ft)
Longest Day: 145k (89mi) – Andermatt to Como
Shortest Day: 76.4k (47mi) – Bastogne to Luxembourg City