We're planning on biking across Europe. We're planning on doing it a year from now. What are we forgetting? What did you encounter in a similar trip that we might be unprepared for? Any general advice?
The executive summary: We are two, living in the US. We currently bike to work (5-10 miles daily). We also make a longer trip (10+ miles) at least once a week, sometimes twice. Currently, this is a bit of a stretch. We are attempting to increase that upper limit gradually to where we can comfortably do 50 miles in a day by the time we leave. (We think we have time to do this without much strain.) We are experienced in hostel-travelling in Europe (moving inter-city by car, rail, and bus). (We have French, German and Russian.)
Our planned route goes from Amsterdam to Istanbul in a rough L-shape, the hinge being Warsaw. (Some details are fuzzy here - can you help?) Our bikes are these
(should we ditch them?); we have no panniers yet, but we're looking at these
(are there better?).
We are not bringing tents or camping gear. Should we worry about finding places to stay? We don't have maps of our route. Should we plan on getting these in-country? In Amsterdam?
We might take the plane. Have you turned your bike into a folding bike/have you gone for an extended ride with a foldie? We might take a boat. Have you taken a freighter cruise/are there other ocean alternatives?
Bonus question: We are planning to stay in Istanbul for an indeterminate time. Should we plan on being able to get around town by bike? Something tells me no. Can you tell me yes?