Day 12: Poznań to Konin

  • Distance: 139km 🙂 - a much more manageable distance
  • Average Speed 20.5 km/h - fearsome headwind and 20km of gravel
  • Legs: 🙂
  • Undercarriage: 🙂 - I suspect everything is just numb
  • Hands: 😐 - Still not right
  • Bike: ☹️

I’d packed everything up before I got to the door of the hotel and with a sinking feeling realised it was raining.  Hard.  So I had to get the damn kidney-bean-of-pain off the bike, open it up, get out my wet weather shell, cap and gloves and then pack the whole thing back up again and get it attached back on the bike.  This caused no small amount of swearing, grumbling and groaning in the hotel lobby.

Getting out of a city is always hard.  The Garmin route is often confusing, roads have been made one way and there’s the ever present terror of tram lines trapping your wheels.  Today was no exception to that rule and 30 minutes after I left the hotel I seemed to only be about 500m from it.  After a while things settled down and there was a nice bicycle path along the river followed by the inevitable quite steep climb out of the river valley back onto the endless plains of Poland.

It had been pouring down but eventually the rain stopped and I realised there were some pretty ugly noises coming from the bike.  This sort of thing strikes terror into your heart when you’re a good 20 or 30k away from a big town.  I stopped and checked.  The derailleur was a bit out of alignment and fixing it involved some very very gentle bending of the derailleur hanger.  If this broke, I was completely done.  I doubt that there’s any bike shops west of Nepal who have derailleur hangers for an unbranded Chinese frame.

That fixed, I turned to the other the big problem: the rain had washed all the chainlube off.  Getting out the chainlube involved unpacking the bloody bean again.  Sigh.  All was well once I’d sprayed precisely 1/3 (I have 3 days to go) of my chainlube onto the chain, derailleur, jockey wheels and, for good measure, the pedals.

The roads were as they always are in rural Poland.  Long, straight and relatively quiet surrounded by agriculture as far as the eye can see.  A headwind had got up which made these long roads seem longer and harder but I knew it was a relatively short 140k day so my spirits didn’t sink too far.
Yes, more of the same

The relative boredom of the day was punctuated when I nipped behind a tree for a “comfort break” only to find a large and very dead deer which had been recently (thank god) hit by a car.  I felt sorry for the deer but also made sure my flashing red light on the back of the bike was still flashing.

After the pizza incident, I decided to eat a bit more healthily for lunch.
Yes, that’s a supersize Twix.  No half measures for lunch.

One of the downsides of Poland being so keen on modernising everything is that you do often come across roads being modernised.  To be fair, I shouldn’t complain since the older and quiet roads are often like this
This is tiresome to cycle on for 50k

However, when the roads are being relaid and upgraded you have two choices.  A 45k detour or 20k on this
Every gravel stone a puncture waiting to happen.

I slithered and slid along for 20k watching my average speed plummet and avoiding the cars which were illegally taking the shorter route — although, to be honest, it was probably illegal for me to be on the road too.

Eventually I ended up here
Yay.

By now the detour would have been nearer to 55k and so I manhandled the bike and the bean (which was behaving itself today after the muttered cursing it got in the morning) through about a kilometre of sand.  Luckily there were no workmen there to shout “Hej, wynoś się z mojego placu budowy, palancie” as they had in Germany.  

The Powidzki Park Krajobrazowy seemed to be a nice place when I finally got to it after emptying the sand out of my shoes.  The sun had come out and there were lovely sail boats on the sun-dappled lakes.  If only I’d stopped and taken a picture but…I forgot.

Days less than 150km are good because the end comes more quickly than usual.  I was rolling through Konin by 4pm and then spending a lot of time working out the one-way system and getting lost.  Konin is not a beautiful town.  It’s like Milton Keynes in the roundabout stakes and it’s like Cumbernauld in the architecture stakes.

I’d splashed out on the best hotel in Konin which turned out to be the student halls of accommodation.
Not hugely pretty

The adjoining restaurant didn’t serve food or breakfast or, critically, beer.  The receptionist directed me to the local Aldi — which is about 1km away — when I asked about food.

The room, however, is clean and has a really great towel rail. What more do I need?  Oh yes, food.  
But the suite at the Four Seasons doesn’t have a towel rail.

There is a Cumbernauld vibe to Konin right down to the ratty park and lack of any amenities 
In Cumbernauld these are all just stained white pebble dash.

The dining options are somewhat limited…in fact, limited to one kebab shop with a proprietor who speaks no English — not that she should obviously. 
Lurid pictures of glistening meat are always a good sign. 

But it was the only choice and with some pointing, waving and shrugging I managed ordered a mystery meal with mystery meat in the “średni” size which I had worked out was “medium”.
This is medium?!?

When it arrived, I got a cone of fried bread containing at least a kilo of mystery meat and three shreds of lettuce at the bottom.  My weak and palsied hands could barely hold it up to eat it.  I gamely fought my way through it and when I was done it looked like this.
Spot the difference.  I.e. none.

If only that Swedish family whose breakfast I’d eaten in Staßfurt were here now.  They could eat like Kungs on the stuff I couldn’t eat.  If the Jumbo-Visma nutrition experts are reading this blog, I feel it fair to point out that this isn’t really a great option for high performance cycling.  When I had shamefacedly handed back about 90% of the food the proprietor had given me, I went into Lidl — the only other place open — and bought some off-brand biscuits and some water and lumbered back to my tiny room burping mystery meat and peach flavoured Lipton tea.

Tomorrow is likely to be a similar day.  The route is 140km with the usual rolling landscape adding up to about 500m of climbing.  I’ve decided to stop in Łowicz which is a little more than half way between here and Warsaw and appeared to have a hotel which wasn’t a dorm.  There’s also a McDonalds which should suffice if all else fails on the food.

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