Means of transport : Bike vs Not-bike

The main goal of Ludi Vojago is definitely to create board games with folks around Europe. While the whole “creating board games” concept is as clear as it’s hard to properly set up, the “around Europe” part shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Among the numerous things I still have to clarify, one of my main question is the way I’ll travel. Using a car or a van is out of question for three main reasons :

1) I’m an apprentice driver, so the driving insurance for a van would be ridiculously high;

2) It’s obviously not eco-friendly, and this bothers me a lot;

3) I kind of hate driving.

I therefore have two main possibilities to travel : walking/hitchhiking or biking.  Both have pros and cons, and I’m still hesitating. By the way, feel free to help me by leaving a comment, an e-mail or something.

So, let’s analyse this “bike” thingie…

Pros !

Extra carriage room : Without any bike, I’m basically limited to what my travelling bag can contain, which means around 80L max. With a bike however, I can still carry this bag (yeah, not exactly comfortable, but manageable), plus two extra bike bags, plus a little basket in front of the bike.

Blasting cute.

Apart from the extreme sex appeal provided by the basket, the storage room is quite a big deal for this project. I need to carry some games to provide some references and because, well, playing is the core concept of the project. I also need to have some specific material, such as pawns, dices, hourglasses… things which can’t be found easily, unlike scissors, cardboard and so on, which I’ll manage to find somehow.

Way faster than walking : That’s the other main point of a bike. I think my average walking speed would be about 25kms a day (carrying a big bag never helps) versus 75kms a day with a bike, maybe more in flat areas.

I generally won’t be in a hurry, as I see no real point at rushing my way during a trip, but it would be easier to reach important deadlines which might occur, like attending a board game event, catching a plane etc… Plus, the project is focused on creating games, not strolling on the roads – even if I personally enjoy this :-).

I still can take some trains : Fortunately, I can put my bike in some trains. Not every of them of course, but I assume taking the train despite having a bike means I would be in some sort of dire situation where I really need to take a train, so I would be ready to wait for the right one.

Cons…

Wrong time, wrong place : I already own a trusty bike. I used it to bike my way from Reims to Utrecht to Scherpenzeel some years ago, which was a great experience. However, there’s some slight differences between biking near the Netherlands during summer, and biking not so far away from the Alpes during winter.

Price : Even if I have the bike, several expenses will be inevitable, such as extra air chambers, oil and possible mechanical failures. No bike, no extra charges.

Makes hitchhiking almost impossible : Obviously. This considerably offsets the speed gain provided by the bike, and makes some mountain crossing even more worrisome, as I won’t have any real back-up plan between 2 railway stations. Except of course if I cross the road of a truck driver able to open his truck, but it still lower the odds dramatically…

I can’t take every train : Taking trains would require extra attention. I’m rather familiar with French trains and which ones allow bikes, but I can’t say the same thing for other countries. So, I may find myself in a situation where I would struggle to understand if I actually can take one specific train. Shucks.

Parking : Let’s suppose I have to take a plane to spend Christmas in France with my mum. Or let’s say I have a day off and I wanna hit this beautiful grotto I can only access by walking. I can take my bag with me, but where should I park my bike ? Shall I put it in a street and somehow lock up my bike bags ? The bike can end up being a deadweight, which would be counterproductive.

So. Even if lots of cons could be smoothed with some help of people I would meet (people owning a van to give me a lift, people able to stock my bike for several days…), the scale seems to be tipping in favor of NOT taking a bike.

If I go this way, my main objective would be to offset the pros a bike could bring me, namely storage and speed. While speed is not a real issue as I can hitchhike my way to places without any railway stations, storage will be a problem I have to solve.

I have some ideas in mind, but I’m pretty sure you, dear reader, have some trick up your sleeve you would be eager to share with me… 🙂

Cheers,

Aurélien

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