With about 4 months to go before the trip, I pinned a map of Europe to the wall and started marking out locations of things I’d like to see. I’ll admit, these were all cycling related, and almost without exception famous mountain passes.
With this as a broad outline and starting point, I paid heed to the condition for a short-stay Schengen visa: You need to have a day-by-day itinerary, with booked accommodation for every single day.
The process of route planning thus got a lot more detailed and specific, having to plot every single day’s ride against strict constraints of maximum ascent, total riding distance and nearby accommodation.
Having tried several tools, I ended up using Google Maps, since this would also be available on my iPhone while I’m on the road.
From Google Maps, you can download the route as a .KML file, which can be converted to .gpx. As I’m using a Garmin 810 bike computer, the .gpx files (one for each day) are loaded as courses which can be used to navigate. The times we’re living in.
One unfortunate constraint in Google Maps is that you cannot add an infinite number of “layers” (which in my case were individual days). Restricted to about 11 layers per map, it actually made for creating 5 broad segments, roughly corresponding to areas of my trip.
Here are the links to each segment (left – Google Maps, right – page with an overview of the route):
Part A- Spain and Pyrenees: Google Maps | Route Overview
Part B – French Pyrenees, Ventoux: Google Maps | Route Overview