Jul 18

A bike trip that has the BBC and Napoleon Bonaparte

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF NATURE: Wagga cyclist Roberta Bailey is set to explore 4000 kilometres of Europe on her bike. Picture: Michael Frogley

SEEING the wonders of Europe at snail’s pace is much more absorbing than taking the bullet train, says Wagga woman Roberta Bailey.

“The smells change, the temperature changes, and you see much more when you’re going more slowly,” she said.

“It’s about getting your head up and looking at the world around you.”

Ms Bailey, 53, is one of a handful of the city’s eager cyclists interested in globe trotting Europe next year on a trip that harks back to the days of the French Revolution.

The Bicycle Wagga cyclist wants to retrace Napoleon Bonaparte’s steps as he marched his 700,000 strong army from the castle clad hills of France into the beating heart of Russia – Moscow.

The cycle ride is some 4000 kilometres and six stages over six weeks.

To top it off, a film crew for the BBC and National Geographic will be with her every step of the way.

“About a hundred kilometres a day – it’s doable. I love cycling and it just seems like a cycle trip with another purpose.

“But I think I’ll need a good sleep by the end of it.”

The tour is to be offered up to Wagga residents through Lyons and Turner Travel Associates – and will be lead by renowned bike guide in Young-based Sam Wood.

Mr Wood, who recently cycled the trail of Hannibal for the BBC, said the Napoleon tour was “the trip of a lifetime”.

“It’s an amazing trip, it’s unique, there’s nothing like it really,” he said.

He said the trip is fast-paced. The burning question is how the cyclists will stay fit and not fatigued across steep terrain.

“I am sure it is strenuous,” Ms Bailey said.

“The hills might be steep.

“But I understand there is a support car that will follow us – and I’m not too proud to get in the car.”

Lyons and Turner Travel Associates Wagga manager Angela Lyons said the travel agent had so far counted about 20 expressions of interest for the trip.

“We’ve had really good interest in it for something that’s a niche trip and that’s because of Sam (Wood).”

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