Katharina Birkenbach

Hey, hey!

I'm Katharina and I built this website. But more importantly, last year I caught the cycling bug. I decided to go on a long-distance bicycle trip, with just a little bit of a plan and no date when I would need to be back. The journey led me from Italy to the Shetland Islands and back to the Alps, in total more than 11.000 kilometers. And I loved every single kilometer, even when it was hard at times.

Eventually, I returned. The big elephant in the room was the question, what next? I didn't feel like going back to another job, in another startup. I had done this before and it felt like getting just another job would be a too easy answer, and one that would not make me necessarily happy. I decided to keep on cycling and exploring.

With this website, I want to encourage people to go biking! It's one of the best ways to travel and explore a country or continent. I'm currently concentrating on Europe, simply for the reason that I live here and haven't seen too much of it. I'm realizing that my long tour is not something that everybody would want to do, but there are so many smaller tours that would make an excellent vacation. I'm trying to break down the long journey into smaller tours, often based on the EuroVelo routes. You can find them here.

In 2024 I won't go on a super long bike tour either, but will do some of the routes I decided against last year (Ireland, Portugal, and the Pyrenees) and will explore Germany with quite short tours (in the Rhön and around Berlin).

Additionally, I'm sharing what I've learned on my tours. How to pack, how to find accommodations, and how to train for a tour. Every post I'm writing is based on what I really did or on the equipment that I really used. You won't find posts about the best bikes or biking pants. These posts would need to be based on my experiences, which I don't have. I have one touring bike and use the same brand of biking pants, and I don't have any intention of buying any additional ones, at least not as long as they can be repaired.

If you have any questions that I might be able to answer, don't hesitate to reach out. It might be a question or topic that I did not think about yet.

Some questions people had

On my journey and afterwards, people were asking me some questions. Let me try to answer them here.

But. Why?

This was a common question on my trip. People I met really wondered, why I decided to go on such a long journey. My very simple answer was: Because I can. That simple. In one of my newsletters, I tried to dig a bit deeper and tried to formulate why it would be beneficial for everybody to go bike touring.

Are you not scared to travel on your own? As a woman?

No. I have not been scared at all. There was never a moment where I did not feel safe. Only when I had unfriendly encounters with dogs, but that is not specific to travel.

Shall I take a picture of you?

I usually politely declined. That's why I have only very few images of myself on the tour. I traveled on my own and didn't have a tripod with me. I was very focused on biking and enjoying nature, I didn't want to bother about having great pictures of myself. I regret this a bit and will figure out a way to get more pictures of myself on the next trips.

Below you'll find the three pictures I have of myself from the journey. And yes, I hold a cigarette in one of them. I stopped.

Katharina Birkenbach in Inverness

Starting the NC500 in Inverness

Katharina Birkenbach

Reaching Scotland!

Katharina Birkenbach in Eichenzell

Why Staunchy?

Easy answer, I had the .com domain. I bought it ten years ago and paid for it but never put it to good use. I watched Grey Gardens (a movie that I would totally recommend) and was fascinated by Little Edie, a cousin of Jackie Kennedy. I love her style and somehow I think we look a bit similar, at least in terms of the forehead. And there's the scene where she's talking about how she has a staunch character.

I felt that the term, roughly meaning: very loyal and committed in attitude, describes me and the endeavor of my first journey quite well.

How did you pay for that trip?

And how can you take so much time off? I worked a lot in the past and had well-paid jobs. I don't have kids, I don't have a car, and I saved a big part of my income. This gave me a bit of a buffer once I quit. (In case you're wondering, I have not asked the state for any support, it's all self-funded.)

I do love to work though. I'm working right now as well, namely building this website. I built websites for fun for the last 20 years. Mainly for myself, and mainly without having a lot of content. I made two to three posts and then I started a new one. I love tinkering with templates and CSS. This time I want to take it more seriously, seeing whether I could earn part of my income with this website, hence you see some ads on most of the pages. Let's see whether this works out, but I'm having fun!

If you read this and are interested in collaboration, contact me.

Last update: 19. January 2024
Mood: happy :)