Deutschland Adventures Part 3, with my best friend
A rest in Nuremburg
Whilst waiting for Sonia to arrive, I had a few days to sort myself out in this lovely city. Unfortunately my bike & bank misaligned again, by 200 pounds. At least I felt I could trust this bike shop, & the guy had managed to save the front wheel by fixing the hub (which was the reason it had been shaking a lot). He did, however, inform me that I needed a new rear wheel, but they were out of stock. My rim, the round bit of metal which the tyre sits in, was far too thin - that's what you get when you brake against the rim every day going downhill in Norway!
We had one day to prep Sonia's bike, get food & route plan before leaving. We also had a visit from Sonia's sweet German friend Lisa, who had travelled hours to see us.
Hamburg to Augsburg
Day 40 of riding | 120 miles | 193 km | Ascent: 1,444 metres
A beer festival, I played doctor, a broken spoke and a fall.
What a cracker of a day! We were waved off by our lovely German host, Markus, who definitely thought we were insane. This wasn't because of the ride, this was genuinely because he had met Sonia.
Matching jerseys, thanks to Morvelo!
Sonia is my very best friend, & alma gemela (soul mate, in Spanish), & we had always intended on cycling the Danube River this summer. It was then myself, who decided to extend the beginning a little, & the end, hence where this trip sprung from!
To avoid being too rigid, not like me I know, I altered our first few days so that we could see some off-river parts of Germany: namely Bavaria. A kind offer of accommodation in the city of Augsburg meant that we should aim for there today.
Spirits were high, & both of us were focused, as we glided along a forested road with a cycle path. Unfortunately we then went straight to an extremely busy dual carriageway, & would comically see cyclists rolling down some mysterious path adjacent to this traffic-infested hell. This became a regular occurrence for us.
Cars were angrily beeping at us for being there, & we would regularly be screaming at the top of our lungs to try to have a conversation: I lost my voice on that first day with Sonia (knew it would happen).
Hilarious surprise 18% climb in 35°C- Sonia's unsteady bike shaking, & me feeling nauseas
Sonia was quite worried about 'holding me back' & aware of how quickly time is lost on long 200km days: she was trying her best to focus on multi-tasking efficiency whenever we had stopped pedaling! "Alaina I can't talk ok!"
Yep, she moos very loudly
We saw a fellow rider on the roadside with a snapped chain, oh no! This is the one thing you hope never happens, as it will be un-rideable. I offered my chain tool, but he was near his house, lucky guy!
First sighting of the DANUBE! & the path was closed... of course.
Soon we neared a town called Rain & were halted by hoards of people in a little street. A traditional band was playing, & beer & food stalls lined the promenade. It was a Bier festival! Sonia looked at me (I know she was thinking I'd say no, as it's a serious cycle day), but I asked her if she wanted a quick beer - she beamed with excitement!
Randomers near Rain
We caught the attention of many with our heavily laden bicycles, & a number of intrigued, smiling locals came over, asking where we had come from. Upon saying the name Nordkapp I was met with astonished expressions, and a few questions. I'm surprised everyone here has heard of it!
"...we watched the sunset, over the castle on the hill.."
A brief thunderstorm in Rain (no, I'm not joking) wetted Sonia's appetite even more for this adventure, particularly as she normally cycles in dey 40 degree Spanish heat, what a novelty!
Up ahead there was a commotion of cars, an accident, maybe? I noticed the sideways motorcycle, & a few people sat on the roadside. Fulfilling my duties, I approached them stating my profession & asking if they were ok. They immediately moved to give me access to the motorcyclist, who was holding his foot. I briefly checked him over & reassured them, they told me an ambulance was on its way.
Only 10 minutes later & a loud metallic PANG sounded from my rear wheel. A spoke had snapped! I was actually quite excited, as I had been given a few spares (thanks Phil, at Giant store Liverpool), & had been itching to put this skill into practice! We also weren't far off Augsburg, so no major concern.
Unfortunately I couldn't use the spare, for whatever reason, but I managed to adjust the wheel tension & clearance, so that I could hopefully safely ride on that wheel, without it completely bending out of shape/breaking. Am I a real cyclist now? *Feeling proud*
Crossing some main roads on the city outskirts, I used the bike lane (which signalled green), when all of a sudden a car continued at speed straight into me. I immediately braked & lost balance whilst clipped/attached to my pedals, hurtling off the bike & into the road. Fortunately not under his wheels. The guy was obviously distressed by this, & quite rightly came to check on me. Thankfully I was fine!
What a day, ay ay ayyy.
The Town Hall, in German Renaissance style
We arrived at Sven's very late, and were so grateful for their sweet hospitality: Sven's partner Jess had made us a lovely bowl of food, including cauliflower rice (it is so good!), & Sven explained how he would fix the spoke at a nearby community cycle workshop, in the morning.
It was a late night & would be a very early rise: we felt that even if the spoke was fixed, the rear wheel would need to be replaced - it was a definite sign!
MECHANICAL DAY AUGSBURG
The day started well, with Sven kindly replacing my broken spoke. Although knowing that we couldn't now do a further 200km (& were incredibly exhausted/ sleep deficient), mission 'get Alaina a rear wheel' began.
Contacting every single bike shop as soon as they opened, we were informed of 2 places which confirmed they had my wheel type in stock. Long story short, neither bike shop had the correct wheel, after letting me leave my bike with them (& after me constantly double checking, as I always assume things may go wrong).
So, 8 hours of time & 26 euros in taxi fare later, I had no new wheel, & no chance of getting one. Wow, a little frustrating.
The risky option it will have to be!
Finally, a little treat after an exhaustingly rubbish day
Augsburg to Lake Chiemsee
Day 41 of riding | 117 miles | 188 km | Ascent: 1,310 metres
Bavaria, you are a beaut!
As this Bavaria route was somewhat spontaneous, I had not mapped/ satnav'd it. The plan was to town hop by noting down places that any recommended routes go via: hoping to pick up signposted cycle routes along the way.
Good morning lovely cycle path (for a whole 15 minutes!)
Obviously this took us to the crazy major roads again, but when we tried to follow a cycle sign, this lead to a nice river path...covered in thick gravel (no, thank you!). Associated beeps from cars were met with Sonia shouting, "It's because we're fit, Alaina Beacall!". I love that girl.
Every village displays their onion dome churches- reminiscent of Russian architecture
Any 5 minute break off the bike had to be spent calling every bike shop in our next rest-day destination, Vienna. If no one had the wheel I needed in stock, calling 5 days in advance should give them enough chance to order one in. I had also emailed 6 shops, yet had received no replies.
One call went like this:
Me - Good morning! Do you speak English?
Bike shop - Nien! *hangs up*
In another call, a chap told me they indeed had a suitable wheel in stock. When I googled the wheel, he was wrong: I asked for 32 spokes, this one had 20. What is going on with bike shops?! Another fail.
South of Munich, through the village of Eggling, the landscape begun evolving with Alpine-esque beauty. The houses, very charmingly lodge-like, were composed of dark wooden beams & dressed with the most brightly blossoming flowers; the backdrop was that of endless undulating hills, topped with forests of pine & spruce.
Now THIS is cycling. Swoon!
We soon found ourselves on a deserted smooth, tarmac road which weaved itself up a forested hill. It even had hairpin bends - I felt like I was back in Norway!
Suddenly our eyes were teased with the sweetest of views: the alps.
I abruptly thought a brief re-route would be a great idea, "Sonia let's go south for a moment!", as I chased this view of beauty with teary eyes!
The mountains were likely part of the Brandenburg alps, of Germany, & maybe a bit of the Austrian alps.
After another long but incredibly beautiful day, we arrived at probably the most scenic campsite I have been to: right at the foot of Lake Chiemsee, the 'Bavarian Sea'.
We luckily got front row seats, & hastily set up our camps as darkness approached. Whilst cooking our dinner, the air begun to feel quite strange, & the winds started to build up strength: throwing gusts at us every few minutes. All of a sudden lightening flashed across the lake, & the growl of thunder was accompanied by a terrific downpour. We had just enough time to collect all of the food & run away to the safety of our sleeping bags.
Thank you so much for your interest!
I'd greatly appreciate it if you could support my ride by kindly donating to Hand in Hand for Syria - www.alaina.org.uk
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