Showing posts from July, 2023

Day 5: Hamburg

No stats today because it is my first rest day.  The last four days have been long and I really felt I needed some time not sitting on the bike. My hotel has a laundrette!  One of the sad things about long distance cycling is that you get irrationally excited about laundrettes and heated towel rails.  A laundrette and a rest day means that you’re not washing filthy cycle kit when you get into your room in the evening and the heated towel rail means you’re not pulling on damp and semi-clean cycle kit in the morning. Finding the laundrette involved some basement detective work but finally, nestled in a dark corner I spied a washing machine and a tumble drier…joy!  I put everything except what I was wearing — I had future plans for the clothes I was wearing — and headed out into the wet streets of Hamburg at 7:30am looking for something to do while my cycle gear washed and tumbled for a couple of hours. Grim and forbidding St Nicholas’s Church was the first stop.  This used to be the tal

Day 4: Oldenburg to Hamburg

Distance: 168km πŸ™‚ — A shorter day. Climbing: 601m πŸ˜€ — All the climbing was at the end when I was knackered Undercarriage: ☹️ — I think everything has gone numb. Route: πŸ™‚ — More of the same really. Hands: πŸ˜” - Appear to have lost feeling in my little fingers. Bike: πŸ™‚ — Ok. It was time to do more of this. This is different.  The bike path is on the right But before that, it was time to load up on the buffet. Mmmm Food. The buffet was cheap but fine: a typical German buffet breakfast.  Copious bread, cheese and ham.  All you really need before what was intended to be a shorter and slightly easier day. It was truly lovely first thing.  Oldenburg looked very pretty on a quiet sunny Sunday morning.   Normally, the first 5km getting out of a town is a bit sketchy.  You have to find the Garmin route — which, of course, I had neglected to start at the hotel — and navigate a lot of confusing signs and traffic lights.  Meanwhile you’re coping with your feet, hands, legs and…soft tissues… comp

Day 3: Zwolle to Oldenburg

Distance: 191km πŸ™‚ — This is once again…a very long way. Climbing: 392m πŸ˜€ — This part of Holland and Germany is really  flat. Undercarriage: ☹️ — the less said about this the better. Route: πŸ™‚ — Well, I guess it was flat. Body: πŸ˜” - hands getting quite a lot worse Bike: πŸ™‚ — There’s an irritating rattle from somewhere but it keeps going. The day dawned in Zwolle and, apart from a drunken maniac shouting his unhinged madness in the square below at 3am, I slept pretty well.  That being said, I got fairly grumpy just after waking up.  The Apart!Hotel (how I hate that !) has the usual system where the sockets don’t work unless you have the key in the room. This is a giant pain in the bum when you’re trying to charge all your stuff while out for dinner.  The even more giant pain in the bum is that the heated towel rail which you switched on before leaving the room… doesn’t turn itself back on again when you come in from dinner.   You have to manually turn it back on again.  So while I blis

Day 2: Hoek van Holland to Zwolle

Distance: 192km πŸ™‚ — This is…a very long way. Climbing: 423m πŸ˜€ — Yes, that’s four meters of climbing for every 1km of forward motion.  The Netherlands is very flat. Undercarriage: ☹️ — the less said about this the better. Route: πŸ™‚ — Ok, I didn’t have the genius of JJ to do it but the Garmin Autoroute functionality worked well. Hands: πŸ˜• - an early appearance of hands being a problem Bike: πŸ™‚ — The Bat Bike™ still performing well. I’d set my alarm for 5am because last year a lugubrious scouser had woken me up on the tannoy at 5am and I thought I could get some breakfast and get ready to go for the 6am docking and departure from the boat.  I’d even remembered to to leave my phone on so that the time would automatically change to CET.   There were two problems with this strategy.  The first being that leaving your phone on means that Vodafone charges you “maritime and aerospace” rates for data.  This is…wait for it…£6 for every megabyte.  Given that the average web page is a megabyte or

Day 1: Cambridge to Harwich…again

So it begins again… Bike: πŸ™‚ “Contact points”: πŸ™‚ Route: πŸ™‚ Distance: 114km 😐 Climbing: 976m ☹️ — To be honest, didn’t expect this amount of climbing! After last year’s mad 2000km bike trip to Warsaw, I honestly thought I would never do this sort of thing again.  There were lots of lovely moments, a challenge and a real feeling of achievement but...there were also miserable moments and it took me nearly three months to regain feeling in my hands after the ulnar nerve damage. However, never underestimate the ability of a stubborn middle-aged man to gloss over the past and gird himself up for yet another stupidly long and sketchy bike trip.   By Christmas 2022 I was already casting my eye over the map of Europe and, rather ambitiously, the map of North America.  The constraints were only that it had to be reasonably flat, reasonably densely populated, logistically possible and not pass through countries that were at war and controlled by a madman.  Sorry Vlad, Warsaw to Moscow is once a