I was comfortably bored by the time we got to Klausdorf and spent much time entertaining myself and infuriating Sharon with screaming bad humour about Santa-Claus-dorf. Sadly it was here where my humour started to dry up. We turned into a tail-wind and once again when we cranked up the gears, I left Sharon for dust. I could not understand why and was worried. When conditions are good and these conditions were perfect, then it is necessary to click over some miles. It is my hope that we will cycle many more miles together, but if we struggle to comfortably survive eighty kilometre days, then for me something needs to change. I think it was here in nowhereville Germany that I started grieving the possible end of long lazy cycling trips together. I asked Sharon what gear she was in. Her reply was; ‘3-7’. This was her highest gear, but yet she was cycling so slowly. In frustration I looked down at her sprockets and rather annoyingly noted that she was actually in 2-7.
Just before we left on this journey, we had put the bike in to be serviced. We have possibly the world’s best bike shop here in Klaipėda. They had told me there were problems with her gears and said the numbers on her gear-grip would not match the actual gear she was in and that she would just have to strongly ratchet her gears up on to the top ring. Sharon did not grow up on bicycles and with many things tends to rely on facts, not feelings. This was one of those cases. I encouraged her to use all her strength and force it on to the top ring. After a physical fight with her handgrip gear shifter her chain popped up into 3-7 and zoom she disappeared into the distance. I have never been so happy to be left in someone’s wake. Laughing, smiling and mentally planning many more years of tour-cycling, I clicked up my gears and with some effort chased her down.
Cycling and SMSing, not the safest thing in the world.
Our wheels stopped rolling at the ‘Children and Family Hotel’ in Nisdorf. We were a little tired: we had already cycled past our planned camping spot and were perhaps hoping for a B&B in Barth. It seemed that a large group of families had arrived at the hotel just before us. I staggered, grimy and smelling into their bar, to be greeted with horror by many well dressed parents and a tribe of energetic kids. Fortunately the host rescued me and sold us some rather expensive but delicious fizzy drinks. Sitting outside in the sun, we cackled our way through the conversation of Sharon’s gears. It was really quite remarkable that she had managed to get this far only using her lower gears. It was also perhaps a reminder that it is nearing time for Sharon’s old faithful German bike to be put out to pasture.
A filling of our water bottles and a toilet were required. I felt bad romping through this classy hotel in my cleat-clad cycle shoes; it was definitely the poshest place I had ever stunk in. By the time we left, the kids had invaded our quiet spot with a collection of carts and bikes. Leaving was like riding through a moving, screaming and laughing obstacle course. These kids were the happiest Germans we saw on the trip.
Anyhow, we zoomed along peaceful cycle-paths towards Barth, and even had to climb a testing little hill. We stopped at a guest-house in Barth, but there was no room for us. It was now dusk, and we had cycled close to eighty kilometres and were keen to stop and explore what looked like a nice town. The second guest-house looked empty, yet was also full. The mother and daughter who greeted us were rather talkative. Unbelievably we wasted about thirty minutes of fading light as they walked us up the road, knocking on a neighbour’s door in search of our beds.
It was dark by the time we left. Sharon was using her fantastic Silva LED flashing lights again and we wore all our high-viability clothing. In the dark at Pruchten we stopped at another Zimmer Frei, the host could not understand us and with a ferocity I still cannot believe, she grabbed a kid passing on a bike and commanded him to translate. She barked an expensive price at us and when she saw we were actually thinking about it, pretty much doubled the cost with a cleaning bill. This rude woman who perhaps had an empty room clearly didn’t want us sleeping in it.
Riding up the road, we stumbled into a nice looking pub and met a friendly person who tried to rent a whole house to us for the night. However his price was about the same as our budget for the whole cycle trip.
Knowing there was a camping ground close, we cycled through the dark. I stopped at another guest-house and was greeted by what I presume was a guest who simply said ‘no’. So it was to be another night in the tent. We rode into the huge and very busy ‘Naturcamp Pruchten’ at about 9pm. We cycled in circles for a bit looking for a set area for tents; not finding this we quietly pitched our tent under a tree beside a Volkswagen Combi. The Camping-ground office was closed, but we were both able to shower. There was a very nice restaurant on site and sat outside until almost 11pm enjoying a beer and some pastries Sharon had picked up somewhere during the day. It was a very pleasant end to a rather different 88.32 kms day.
Day 1 – Setting Sail
Day 2 – Training, part 1
Day 2 – Training, part 2
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 1
Day 3 – New Expectations, part 2
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 1
Day 4 – Cobbles, part 2
Day 5 – Each Other, part 1
Day 5 – Each Other, part 2
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 1
Day 6 – A Sprocket of a Day, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 1
Day 7 – Bonking, part 2
Day 7 – Bonking, part 3
Day 8 – Time Keeping
Day 9 – Homeward
Day 10 – I Love Germany