Cycling Migration

Published on Nov 12, 2020

I want to live like birds, migrating from one place to another following the dance of the seasons. Europe is amazing for that: you can live in Sweden during Summer to enjoy the 5-hour nights, then move to Andalusia or Algarve to have a swim in Winter, without a residence permit or asking anyone for approval.

Fortunately, there are also great cycling roads spanning every country, and France is lucky to have 7 passing through. This way, you can migrate from one side to the other without paying a huge carbon bill.

Going from Faro to Bordeaux is about 1338 km according to Google. 587 km from Bordeaux to Paris. 916 km from Paris to Hamburg. 340 km from Hamburg to Copenhagen. And finally 848 km from Copenhagen to Stockholm following the Southern Coast, for a total sum of 4029 km.

If we were to suppose an average speed of 20 km/h (10 mph), it would take around 202 hours to perform a full migration, or 50 days if we biked 4 hours per day. That's a suboptimal scenario, of course. It would take a young healthy individual about a month biking at a sustainable pace for 6 hours a day with little elevation and light packing. To give you a comparison, the Tour de France lasts 23 days over a distance of 3500 km and the terrain is indeed nowhere near as flat as the Eurovelo cycling routes.

The great thing about bikepacking is you aren't limited in terms of accommodations. You can rent an Airbnb studio for a few days, then do some stealth camping. Stay in a city apartment, or move to a cheap cottage. Van camping with my parents, I learned that finding water and a place to sleep is really not that hard. Except it's harder to stay discrete when you are in a van with a family of four. Plenty of opportunities to take longer breaks while migrating.