Patrick Juriga, Master's student of Medical Technologies, is currently spending his semester abroad in at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain. He had the unique idea of traveling to Spain without emissions by bicycle as part of the "Erasmus Green Travel Bonus". Patrick tells us about his exciting journey and how he managed to travel 1,800 kilometers from Innsbruck to Barcelona by bike:
I bought a gravel bike for the bike trip and equipped it with various bike bags. My equipment included ultra-light camping gear (sleeping mat, sleeping bag, tent, camping cooker, and not to forget a Bialetti! etc..) as well as my skateboard and climbing shoes to have a little break from cycling. The first destination was Chamonix - Mont Blanc. Therefore, I started in Innsbruck and drove along the Inn to its origin in St. Moritz, where I crossed several pass roads and drove through beautiful places. I continued my journey from the Rhone Valley to Martigny, where I finally reached Chamonix via the Col de Forclaz. The hardest part of my journey through Switzerland was not the altitude or the kilometers, but the expensive roaming charges. Due to these high charges, I was, unfortunately, unable to look at the weather forecast and was left to hope for good weather. Therefore, I was often surprised by rain or even hail showers, which was an enormous challenge.
Initially, I was planning to leave the Alps after completing this stage and choose a different route, but due to the upcoming heat wave, I decided to continue cycling through the Alps. Therefore, I changed my planned course and cycled from Chamonix via Passy to Grenoble, and from there on to Las-la-Croix-haut. Altogether I spent 15 days in the Alps overcoming several passes.
When I arrived in Montelimar, I went to a canyon in the Ardeche region to take a few days to regenerate. Unfortunately, the stay there was a challenge, as everything was quite dry due to the heat wave and I had to search for water. After regeneration, I continued through an idyllic landscape between vineyards and castle ruins to Carcassonne and then to Targassonne in the Pyrenees, where I trained my arms for a change in a bouldering area.
After this, I overcame the last pass in the Pyrenees and after adventurous routes (disappearing cycle paths...) I took the exit to Barcelona. The last part of my journey from Barcelona to Madrid was by train, as this would have been dangerous by bike and I wanted to start my semester abroad safely.
Despite the numerous challenges as the weather, the lack of drinking water, the search for a place to sleep or countless bike repairs, and sometimes, my lack of motivation, this trip was a unique experience. Now, I'm enjoying my time and my semester abroad here at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid!
Finally arrived in Barcelona! ©Juriga