We are Dave and Judy Cain. We live in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
We bike extensively around where we live. My bike has a sticker on it: “One Less Car”.
We have now completed 9 bike trips in Europe. We take our own bikes with us when we go to Europe. They are 21 speed Raleigh hybrids (vintage 1994) proudly made in Canada! We each take 2 panniers and a backpack. For the flight we use compression straps to make 2 panniers into one piece of luggage.
The first 3 trips to Europe we had the bikes put into cardboard boxes. It took over an hour per bike to get them ready to go when we arrived. Now we put the bikes into plastic bags supplied by the airline. You just have to remove the pedals and turn the handlebars. We have used Air Transat for our last few trips. They still only charge $30 per bike each way! It is so much quicker to get the bikes ready at the other end. The only problem we have had is a broken bell handle. I now turn the bell in to avoid that happening.
We plan to avoid hills where possible. We take trains where necessary.
Most of our trips have followed rivers. For most of the trips we have used Bikeline map books published by a German publisher: Esterbauer. The books are in German, but it is the maps you really use. http://www.esterbauer.com/
We stay mostly in hotels, but sometimes in B&Bs or pensions. We typically book the first and last nights before we go. As we usually go in September, we miss most of the crowds. Depending where we are going to be on Friday/Saturday nights, we will sometimes book these a few days ahead. Otherwise we will see what we find when we stop. We will try to find the local tourist office to help with the bookings. The Bikeline books have a listing of hotels along the routes they describe.
In 2015 we took our grandaughter with us. She will join us again this year – Amsterdam to Venice: http://www.cainsbike.com/2017-amsterdam-to-venice/