A Bicycle Adventure
Cycling Across Europe from Portugal to Georgia

A map of all the spots I slept (minus a few when I got a bit lazy along the way). 

About the Trip

On February 10, 2015, Dani Bradford (aka Lone Rucksack) flew to Lisbon, Portugal, assembled her bike at the airport, and rode out into the sunshine to cycle south. 

She traveled over 4,500+ miles for 5 months, through 15 different countries—Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Republic of Georgia— with nothing more than two saddlebags of gear for sleeping outside and camera equipment.

She slept in abandoned houses, on hillsides, a cabbage field, some amazing hostels, Couchsurfed almost all of France and Italy, sweated more than she though possible, and went days without showering. She met amazing people, was chased by countless dogs, ate more amazing food than she thought possible, and developed an unhealthy (or healthy, depending on your standpoint) attachment to her bicycle. 

Trip Details


A Bicycle Adventure
Cycling Across Europe from Portugal to the Republic of Georgia
By Lone Rucksack

Start Date: February 10th, 2015
End Date: July, 2015
Distance: 4,500+ miles
Countries: Through 15 Countries

“Your bike is discovery; your bike is freedom. It doesn’t matter where you are, when you’re on the saddle, you’re taken away.”

—Doug Donaldson

About Dani Bradford

Lone Rucksack documents the escapades of Dani Bradford, a dirtbag solo adventurer and digital storyteller who has traveled extensively across the globe.

In 2015, Dani completed a 4,500 mile+ cycling journey through 15 countries from Portugal to the Republic of Georgia. She has trekked across Northern Ethiopia, lived in Cape Town and South America, swam in Victoria Falls, traveled upriver in rural Albania, traversed jungle in Peru, shot video in Indonesia, and photographed fishing villages in Senegal. In 2017 she set off on a motorcycle journey from Washington, DC to Patagonia, Argentina, but was hit by a truck while traveling in Honduras. Undeterred, she spent 7 months recovering (2 in a wheelchair) and hit the road again. In the summer of 2018, one year later, she’ll continue the trip where she was hit in San Pedro Sula.

She’s had work published in National Geographic and Hello Giggles, is a Wilderness First Responder, fire-building expert, and sleeps outside more often than in. Read more about Dani here

 

Why This Trip?

I was working at Under Armour, missing life on the road, and even though I’d never taken an overnight bikepacking trip before I decided I wanted to cycle across Europe. I left Under Armour to work an intense 3 month contract job to save money, where I cycled 10 miles each way to work to train for the trip. I bought a new touring bicycle and gear for the trip with the money I made, took a cycling class at REI to learn more about bicycle mechanics and fixing repairs, read everything I could get my hands on about touring, and took off. 

At the core, I wanted more out of my life than living in one place, and going to the same job every day with very little control in what I worked on or who I worked with. I wanted to work with amazing people, see places, live life on my own terms in a way I wasn’t able to in Baltimore. I still remember the way I felt arriving in Lisbon, so tired from the flight and long layover in Morocco, thinking there was no way I could build my bicycle in the airport. Where would I build it? What would I do with the box? How would I find my way? But I did it anyway. And that’s what counts— all the little things we attempt thinking we can’t, and we do, then move onto the next thing. 

On the ferry from Setubal to the coastal road, Portugal. Day Two.
On the ferry from Setubal to the coastal road, Portugal. Day Two.
Day Two— first camping spot on this deserted section of coast. Little did I realize I had acquired bed bugs in the guest house the night before and woke up covered in bites.
Day Two— first camping spot on this deserted section of coast. Little did I realize I had acquired bed bugs in the guest house the night before and woke up covered in bites.
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Charging the laptop at a campground. Gotta do what ya gotta do.
Charging the laptop at a campground. Gotta do what ya gotta do.
Taking a break on a 4 miles uphill slog to eat some gummy bears. The subsequent downhill was wonderful.
Taking a break on a 4 miles uphill slog to eat some gummy bears. The subsequent downhill was wonderful.
I'd lock bike to the bushes if I had nowhere else to lock him. Take fewer chances, and you'll have fewer problems, always.
I’d lock bike to the bushes if I had nowhere else to lock him. Take fewer chances, and you’ll have fewer problems, always.
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
I'll never forget this day— my 30th birthday in Sevilla. I rode all around town, had a juice for breakfast, went to the National Portrait gallery, and read my book on this beach for hours.
I’ll never forget this day— my 30th birthday in Sevilla. I rode all around town, had a juice for breakfast, went to the National Portrait gallery, and read my book on this beach for hours.
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
The South of France was absolutely spectacular for cycling. The roads went up and down, climbing up cliffs only to fly down into tiny French towns where I'd buy a baguette and Nutella and sit in some town square devouring them.
The South of France was absolutely spectacular for cycling. The roads went up and down, climbing up cliffs only to fly down into tiny French towns where I’d buy a baguette and Nutella and sit in some town square devouring them.
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
I'm not much of a tourist, so I cycled around and around Florence, down the tiny streets, carrying my bike up stairs and over train tracks.
I’m not much of a tourist, so I cycled around and around Florence, down the tiny streets, carrying my bike up stairs and over train tracks.
It was pouring in Venice, and luckily I found this little campground on the mainland. I must have looked so pathetic cycling in, they gave me a cabin for the same price as a campsite.
It was pouring in Venice, and luckily I found this little campground on the mainland. I must have looked so pathetic cycling in, they gave me a cabin for the same price as a campsite.
Camping on the coast in Croatia.
Camping on the coast in Croatia.
Cycling Across Europe
My Couchsurfing Host's Duck in Zadar, Croatia
My Couchsurfing Host’s Duck in Zadar, Croatia
Cycling Across Europe
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Cycling buddy for two weeks.
Cycling buddy for two weeks.
Sewing my pannier back together in rural Albania, at the base of a dam. We camped out in the yard of the owner of a tiny shop across the road.
Sewing my pannier back together in rural Albania, at the base of a dam. We camped out in the yard of the owner of a tiny shop across the road.
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe
Camping in an abandoned gun range and bathing in the irrigations troughs.
Camping in an abandoned gun range and bathing in the irrigations troughs.
When waiting out the rain in Greece, pull out the sleeping bag to stay warm.
When waiting out the rain in Greece, pull out the sleeping bag to stay warm.
Cycling Across Europe
Cycling Across Europe

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