Fresh off a biking trip through 500km of European trails duo Francesa Weikert and Blaine Gallivan took a moment to share their adventure with us and catch us up on all that we missed. Franny and Blaine are outdoor enthusiasts loving everything that an adventure encompasses while documenting every step along the way. Living in their 1978 Alaskan camper has “provided many lessons in simplicity and in genuine interactions with our human and natural world” which fuels their ongoing fire for exploration and discovery. After traveling throughout North America over the past few years their most recent adventure took them to Franny’s neck of the woods to “experience Franny’s culture and home mountains in an adventurous and human powered manner.” stated Blaine. The duo rode all the way from Garmisch-Patenkirchen, Germany via single track through Austria and Switzerland to Lago di Garda, Italy with nothing but nature, each other and the locals of the towns that they encountered along the way.
Each day throughout Franny and Blaine’s journey began with a traditional breakfast feast of fresh breads, jams, coffee and meat & cheese spreads, and from there they would spend the first half of their day “pedaling up to a quaint mountain hut with epic views of the surrounding Alps.” After a full 8 hours of riding the duo would settle into their local hut and spend the evenings chatting and enjoying meals with the local hut owners “mesmerized by off the grid structures preserving the traditional mountain culture” in addition to enjoying a well-deserved Weissbeer.
As professional travelers, Blaine and Franny have been to and seen places that many can only dream of and they shared that this bike trip “has been the most incredible journey we have experienced yet.” And while it’s been the best yet they still come across their fair share of challenges along the way. “The biggest challenge of this adventure was route finding and budgeting,” mentioned Blaine. “Although we had a general idea of our route and were guided by many trail signs, we had plenty of wrong turns. Additionally, we were greeted by double the prices in Switzerland so we quickly rerouted through Bella Italia.”
While spending time together in the Alps and riding through miles upon miles of trails was the main focus of their time, an underlying mission played a major factor in their journey. “Many of our adventures have relied on the assistance of fossil fuels for travel. This 500km + human powered journey emphasized the power we humans have to create fulfilling adventures that have a minimal carbon footprint and close to no waste” said Blaine. To fuel that mission even further Blaine and Franny brought their favorite Mizu’s along the way, eliminating their use of single-use plastics. “Mizu bottles are a no brainer,” said Blaine. “They are beneficial for our bodies and our planet. By saying no to plastic bottles we did not contribute to the waste problem nor allow chemicals into our bodies. We saved money and had the opportunity to fill up on all the various village water fountains.” The duo sported the M8 bottles throughout their entire journey which were a perfect fit with their bike holders and also ensuring “ice cold water throughout our two week journey.”
Being able to find inspiration from the world around us is something that both Blaine and Franny have in common with all of us here at Mizu. “Spending time in nature reminds us of the importance of breaking routine, creating balance, and embracing the uncertain in an over-scheduled society,” notes Blaine. “Its beauty, complexity and natural cycles stimulate growth within our bodies, minds and souls leading to an authentic dedication to environmental and social justice and change. Nature is our biggest inspiration.”
Finding that inspiration in nature relates to our motto of “Enjoy the Journey, Leave Nothing Behind” and Franny and Blaine are doing just that. They’re enjoying their journey in life and are “working a little harder to just enjoy the journey in all it’s intricate simplicities, and focus our efforts on leaving less impact on the environment and future generations.” But hey, that’s all we can hope to do right? Enjoy each of our own journeys and do our part to keep things clean and pristine for the generations to come.
If you’re thinking, “I want to do this! How can I make this trip happen for myself?,” Franny and Blaine have a few key tips on what to see and do along the way. They recommend the following:
- Enjoy a traditional Austrian Schnitzel on the deck of the Heilbronner Huette. Wake up early to bike overlooking the Galtuer lakes at sunrise.
- Enjoy a mind-blowing day on the Fimbapass. Hours of uphill starting in Ishgl, Austria rewarded by the most beautiful and rigorous downhill into Switzerland.
- Spend a day riding the Naturns bike resort. The downhill and views above the Reschensee are unreal.
- Include the town of Mals in your route. Mals, Italy is a small culinary gem nestled in between apple orchards and vineyards. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a Saturday farmers market with traditional Italian treats from the region.
- Ending the trip at Lago di Garda is a must. The last downhill towards the Lago is the most scenic of the entire trip. The area has a Mediterranean feel, cheap glasses of wine and endless hiking, climbing and biking opportunities.
To read about more Mizu Missions see our most recent adventures below.