Blog intermezzo – A day on the road

I’ve been on the road for a while now (50 days exactly). So, maybe it’s time to give you an idea what my day looks like. A blog without daily updates, a blog without an environmental topic. Just a random day.

Getting ready

Waking up – Of course the day starts with waking up. I don’t set an alarm. Sometimes I wake up because the sun is turning my tent into an oven. Since the sun rises at 5, this can be as early as seven. Lucky for me, it usually doesn’t happen. If I wake up from the light, it depends on the time and how sleepy I am whether I turn around again. I can get up anywhere between seven and nine.

Inside packing – The first thing I do is get dressed and remove the plug from my mattress. Once that’s done, I’ll pack up everything inside my inner tent. This saves me from crawling in and out of my tent a couple of times. Packing has quite a structure to it. I pack my clothes pannier (right front). Next I pack my handlebar bag. If I did my preparation, this usually means putting my phone in there and placing my battery and speedometer on too. By then my mattress is empty and I pack my other front pannier: mattress with pillow, bag with cables, bag with toiletries, sleeping bag and a few single things. When this is all done, I place (more like throw) my bags out of the tent, to give myself space to get up out of the tent properly too. And then I attached the bags to my bike.

Opening my tent

Outside packing – By this time I’m about 20 minutes into my routine. How long this next part takes depends on whether my tent is dry or wet (unless it is raining – there is a different routine for that). If my tent is dry, it’s easy. I attach my back panniers to my bike (if they weren’t already) and start filling them up, after checking if the footprint is also dry. Usually first to pack is the food and camera pannier. Most of it is packed since the night before, but I need to add my tablet and maybe some loose items. There is not much order in this bag.

If my tent or footprint is wet, I do not start packing the last pannier, because my tent and footprint go in somewhere in the bottom. If my footprint is wet, I hang it over my bike. If my tent is wet, but my footprint isn’t, I hang the tent over my bike. (I always remove the innertent first if the outer us wet from the inside) If both are wet, the footprint goes over my bike anyway. My tent then dries standing as it is, or if the inside is wet, I erect it inside out.

Drying my footprint

By this time it is a waiting game and I have breakfast, followed by doing the dishes (which I often can’t be bothered to do in the evening), filling up water bottles and going to the toilet. By the time I’ve had breakfast everything is dry and I pack the last pannier. This overall took an hour at least from waking up.

Breakfast time

When it rains – There is a slight alternative when it rains. I eat breakfast first. Nice comfy and warm inside my tent, gathering some motivation. If it rains I’m in no hurry to go outside. After packing inside, I remove my innertent, so I have more space inside and keep everything dry. I’ll pack the panniers inside too, in a way I only have to add the tent and footprint on top. Lucky for me, this has hardly happened during my trip, so let’s hope it stays this way! (And after I wrote this, it of course started raining for multiple days in a row)

On the road

Getting going – Once I start cycling I stop very often. To take pictures, to take some water, to check the route, to just enjoy the view, or to hurriedly search for my binoculars because I might’ve spotted a nice bird. After roughly an hour of cycling (not including any stops) I take a longer break to eat some thing. After that I just keep cycling and stopping whenever I feel like eat. Eat whenever I want. Maybe just sit on a bench for a while if I come across one with a nice view, or just stop to get another ice cream. Ocassionally I also go to a heritage site, but I’ll let that all depend on how inviting it looks. And how much I need to get out of the sun or rain.

On the road
Taking a break on an improvised bench
Taking pictures

When I’m on the road there is also the need to do my groceries. I know some people do their groceries right before or after they found a camping spot, but I’d rather stay close to all my stuff and do groceries when I have a supermarket along the route. I also use it as a break and most likely buy a tasty bun for lunch.

Updating destination – Somewhere later in the afternoon, between 3 and 5 I stop to take a good look at my map. Will I be able to make it to the destination I was aiming for that day? Yes? Fine. I’ll go to the camping location (either campsite or free camping) and prepare for the night. If it seems like I can go much further or am nowhere close, I will use my map and Google to check if there are any better options. Both have happened. Sometimes aiming for 65 km is just to much, when I had to climb a lot, but sometimes everything is going so well that I end up cycling over 100 km. Whether I continue cycling or find a closer campsite really depends on how my legs feel, but also on how the weather is. I have had times I simply wanted to put up my tent to get dry, but I’ve also continued cycling in the rain to just not have to cycle as much in the rain the day after. And yes. If I’m hungry, I’ll definitely choose to get my tent pitched quickly.

Cooling down

Pitching the tent – My evening routine has almost as much structure to it as my morning routine. I arrive at the campsite, check in, find a spot and set up my tent. I put my front panniers, helmet and handlebar bag in the tent. I then make my bed. Get out my sleeping bag, blow up my mattress and pillow and get my clothes out for the night and for the evening. By this time I’ve cooled down from cycling and will go for a nice shower or swim.

First things first: putting up my tent

Dinnertime – And then I can settle down for dinner. This is almost the same every night. I’ll boil some water, and use some if it to make tea. Then I’ll add pasta and once that’s done use part of the water for my overnight oats breakfast. In the meantime I’ve cut my veggies which I will add to the pasta together with a package of sauce powder. This allows me to use all the water, not throw away any of it and therefore also not carry water I’m not really using. And with the sauce, my dinner tastes a little nicer. During dinner I plan my route for the next day. Where would 65 km roughly take me, should I go a little further or stay closer. Or will I take a rest day all together. But that last one has hardly ever happened. I also update my numbers. How much have I cycled that day and how much money did I spend on what.

Preparing tea, dinner and breakfast
Writing in the evening

That is basically the end of the routine. After dinner I tend to pack most things for the next morning and then write, make sudokus, chat with other people on the campsite or more often chat online with people back home or choose to go to sleep directly.

Conclusion

I have quite a structure routine, but it comes naturally and doesn’t feel forced at all. Maybe having such a clear structure is also why I love being on the road. Somehow I don’t seem to manage a proper morning or evening routine back home. Also the last nights in hostels, it has been more difficult to keep a routine. Who knows what the rest of Scotland might bring.

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