Cycling for “Doctors without borders/Médecins Sans Frontíeres”

As I´m going to cycle around 1.400 km I´d like to encourage you, my friends and visitors of this blog, to support the “Doctors without borders” with a donation of your choice.

I got the idea of collecting donations from the german long-distance-cyclist Peter Smolka who is travelling right now in Turkey. You can find is journey here:
http://www.tour-de-friends.de

MSF-Unterstuetzer-Logo_Rot+Schwarz_CMYK

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is a private international association. The association is made up mainly of doctors and health sector workers and is also open to all other professions which might help in achieving its aims.

All of its members agree to honour the following principles:

  • Médecins Sans Frontières provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict. They do so irrespective of gender, race, religion, creed or political convictions.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance and claims full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions.
  • Members undertake to respect their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic or religious powers.

So I kindly encourage you to visit my (german) donation website to leave a few Euros… 🙂

My donation site on Doctors without borders (german)

Part Two – From Valga along the Lake Peipus to St. Petersburg/Russia

Having left the outstanding Gauja Nationalpark I´ll have a closer look to the city of Valga.
Following the national estonian cyclepath 3 and 4 I´m going to visit Tartu.
Here you can find a city where many students present an open-minded culture and I´m looking forward to visit this interesting big city.
At the beginning of the preparations – as the author of my travel book recommends you – I´d like to visit also Talinn by bus. But unfortunately I haven´t got enough time to do this.

r1_estland_uebersicht

We get back to the Lake Peipus where I´m going to meet a very ancient culture – here the people live a very simple and poor life by growing and selling fruits and vegetables.

At the northern part of the lake I´d like to have a look at a bird protection area – sounds interesting. Reminds me on the “Reservé Africane” in the south of Bordeaux… 🙂

Only a day ride away I´m going to reach to northern steep coast of the Baltic Sea and will camp there again. After this I will approach the border to…Russia.

r1_spb_uebersicht

On this part of my trip I won´t have any cyclepaths – it´s not common to cycle  in Russia.

The cycling club “Velo Piter” from St. Petersburg tries hard to find a good alternative for that Route. These 173 km are sometimes a little bit difficult because of the quality of the streets.

But there is a route where you can get to Peterhof with its outstanding castles and from there it is recommended to take the local train for about 30 km to my great destination – St. Petersburg!

I´ve booked already a hostel in the 5th floor – and of course they haven´t got an elevator!
But this is just once so this famous city will be the absolute highlight of this trip where I´m going to stay for 4 nights.

Finally I will jump on the St. Peterline ferry to Helsinki and from there with Finnlines back to Germany where – after staying a night in a youth hostel in Lübeck – the train will take me back to home – hopefully!

Part one – starting my trip in Lithuania and exploring Latvia

After enjoying the new austrian NightJet to Hamburg I´m going to jump on an overnight ferry to Klaipeda – a new experience to me. I´ve booked this one already in December including the meals – and as those ferries doesn´t use clean energy I´m going to compensate the CO² I´ll produce by making this journey.
So here you can do this also – your car, flight or ship cruise…

Compensate your CO² with atmosfair – certified by the Kyoto protocol

The first night in Lithuania will be with a Couchsurfing.com family and this I´d like to recommend to you as you will get to know the people of the country you visit.
Next day will be already one of the highlights of the tour – the Curonian Spit heading towards Nida where I´m going to camp.

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Heading north I will cross the border to Latvia following the west coast of the Baltic Sea I´ll enjoy another night on a campingsite. Passing Liepaja and Jurkalne I´m going to head eastwards to Riga. Here I´m going to stay for two nights on the central campingsite and explore that great city with its architectural hightlights.

Entering the Gauja Nationalpark by train as there are no safe cyclepaths Sigulda will be the first town on my list. Here you´ll find a fantastic park with an outstanding beauty and biodiversity – I´m looking forward to these two days spending in this area.

Passing Cesis the next border will be at Valga entering the third country – Estonia.

r1_estland_uebersicht

Just 7 weeks to jump into a new adventure!

And here we go again…I´ve got less than 2 months to leave to set off to the Baltic Sea!
This trip is definitely unique – I´ve started my preparations already last September and week by week another part of the puzzle comes along.

So – as you already know – my tent arrived at my home. I decided to buy a new one as I had so many times to do a decision about wheather to camp or to go to a hostel because of the bad weather. With this tent it isn´t that big problem as I can store my trailer inside.


And also my Flevobike GreenMachine wanted to get its yearly maintenance – a special recumbentbike should go to a special bikeshop.
At mbf in Bad Endorf Norbert Henkel got a solution for (nearly) every kind of problem and has a wide range of any kind of special bikes – recumbents, trailers, ebikes – have a look!

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mbf bikeshop in Bad Endorf – http://www.mbf-spezialrad.com

So perhaps you will ask yourself why this guy with the recumbent bike wants to visit the cold and windy Baltic States…When I left my hometown heading towards Rome last year I´ve met a cupple from Lithuania. They recommended me the roundtrip through Latvia and Estonia called “LatEst” – but unfortunately half of the way is on gravel. This is not possible with a recumbent – so I had to search for another trip.

In the end I found a long-distance cyclepath called “EuroRoute R 1” starting from Calais visiting Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Russia and finally the 3 Baltic States Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Another 173 km lead you to St. Petersburg visiting Russia again.
http://www.euroroute-r1.de/


So on the Monday evening I´m going to take the NightJet from Munich to Hamburg and further on to Kiel where I will have only a short look into the town.
I jump on the ferry in the afternoon and will arrive in Klaipeda/Lithuania where I set off to my cycletrip the next day. First I´d like to visit the Oceanic Museum of Lithuania.
I´m going to explore on a perfect cyclepath the Curonian Spit, a curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast.
Camping in Nida I´ll cycle the same way back on the next day heading towards the border
of Latvia.

Highlights of this part of the journey will be Liepaja on the west-coast, crossing the country visiting Kuldiga and Tukums. In the old town of Riga I´m going to stay on a camping for two nights to have closer look to this marvellous city.
Leaving Riga by train to get into the Gauja Nationalparc the main cities will be Sigulda and
Césis where you can find a beautiful nature.

Crossing the next border at Valga I´m entering Estonia where my cyclepath will lead me to the Lake Peipus – devided through the border of Estonia and Russia.
Getting there I will visit Tartu, a big city where students celebrate their lives. The ancient town is also very famous – of course I won´t miss it.
On the west coast of the lake you meet a group of people who live a very rural live.

The last border – via cycling – will be in Narwa where I´m going to enter Russia.
Here the cyclepath has to be build – but there are some alternatives on smaller roads
to get to Peterhof with its famous castle and finally – St. Petersburg!

I´ve booked 4 nights in this outstanding city where I´d like to visit the highlights like for instance the Eremitage. As far as my travelbook tells me this visit could be much longer but in the end every holiday has an end.

So on a friday I´ll take an over-night ferry to Helsinki and another one will take me back to Travemünde/Germany. Having a last night in the youthhostel the train is going to bring me back to my hometown.

This will be my biggest adventure which I´ve made till now – looking forward to it!

Cycling through Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia with my recumbent bike

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