We’re Julie and Mark, a couple in our mid to late 40s who have decided to take an extended leave of absence so we can ride our bicycles the length of Europe. We both love to cycle, we both love to travel, Mark loves to camp, and Julie loves food, so bicycle touring in Europe seemed like the perfect escape from our day-to-day lives. Neither of us has done a self-supported tour before, so this will be a new and exciting adventure for us.
Mark is taking early retirement from a career in the airlines (we’ll get to keep our flight benefits for life!), and Julie is taking a hiatus from her consulting work, although she’ll be monitoring some projects remotely during the trip.
Why Team Lumaca? ‘Lumaca’ means ‘snail’ in Italian, and since Julie is half-Italian, it seemed fitting. We’ve always traveled slowly, immersing ourselves in the local culture. We know we can always come back, so we don’t try to see it all in one go. We’re not just slow travelers metaphorically, but physically, too. Julie is just darn slow! No matter how hard she huffs and puffs, she never manages to keep up with the peleton. So again, ‘lumaca’ seemed appropriate. And finally, it is a nod to one of our greatest inspirations, the gold standard in cycle touring blogs, www.goingslowly.com.
Julie comes from a long, proud line of nerdy couch potatoes. As a kid, she actually loved it when recess got rained out. She would much rather have a book in her hand than a mitt, a club, a bat, a ball or any other piece of sporting equipment.
So what in the world makes her think she wants to ride a bike the length of Europe??? Why, the food, of course! Have you read any of the ‘cycle across America’ blogs? Hundreds of miles fueled on convenience store fare. Blech! The European blogs…now there’s some reading to make you salivate! What better way to eat European cuisine for six months, than cycling – and eating – her way through Europe?
Mark comes from a long line of pioneer stock whose motto is, ‘work harder not smarter.’ As a result, he is pretty resourceful and physical which makes a good sherpa for Julie. (eh hem! Julie wants it noted that she intends to pull her own weight!) Why is he interested in riding the length of Europe? The self-reliance aspect and the physical challenge. Plus, sleeping on the ground means you are having an adventure. And of course, a chance to meet the adventure gods and watch them work their magic first hand.
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