And just like that, the blog has made it to Germany. Only two and a half months after we got there in real life. Or should I use IRL as people do in the Instagram world?
I can’t. I can’t even bring myself to use the ever so popular OMG. But this is not the place for my rants on grammar and proper use of language. One day soon, I’ll start a separate blog for my writing persona and there I can rant about grammar and proper use of language to my heart’s content.
But this space is for womb cancer and lynch syndrome awareness and cycling. We also have great plans to take our fundraising further and in a different direction, still to do with cycling of course. At the moment, they are still small seeds of great ideas and need working out properly before sharing with the world.
We loved the houses in Germany, especially the ones with thatched roofs.
It has been wonderful to see the daily numbers of people reading the blog increase. Warms my heart, it truly does. Thank you to all the existing readers for coming back and welcome to all new ones. You can read more about womb cancer and lynch syndrome and more in the archives.
But now, back to our charity ride across Europe, and where we left it last time. Our first night in Germany.
It was a blowy night, and the day didn’t get to a best possible start when Justin went to boil water for tea and porridge. That’s when we noticed we were missing some important equipment. Our kettle was nowhere to be found. Neither was our lighter and worse, our pocket rocket.
A pocket rocket is a stove that literally fits inside your pocket and attaches to a gas bottle. No pocket rocket meant no boiling water, no tea, no porridge.
Some of the early cycle routes were a bit hit and miss and rather bumpy
In Finland, Sweden or Denmark, a missing pocket rocket would still have been annoying but not a huge problem as all campsites had kitchens. We soon learnt that in Germany they don’t. Nor did we see kitchens at campsites in France or Spain either.
I think that’s a shame. While cooking on a gas-stove is absolutely fine, sometimes it’s nice to have a kitchen to cook in and even better sit in. Especially when it’s wet. Or cold.
No pocket rocket meant cold breakfast with water. Luckily, we had plenty of bread and cheese and jam, so we didn’t go hungry. But no pocket rocket meant no hot dinner either because we didn’t find anywhere where we could find a replacement. Cold dinner after riding for hours is not ideal.
We found a replacement stove after we left Hamburg. Not a pocket rocket, though. Had to go for a cheaper option, which wasn’t as powerful, but did the job. You need hearty, hot dinners after a long day’s ride. We also love a porridge in the morning. It’s much better than bread for energy.
The last time we’d used our kettle and pocket rocket was our last morning in Denmark. We used to pack the rocket inside the kettle to save space. And then obviously neglected to pack them in the panniers together with the lighter. And we neglected to check our surroundings properly before leaving.
We got into a habit of double checking the campsite before leaving from there on. I’d love to be able to say we lost nothing else after that. But we did.
We left Justin’s woolly socks at our friend’s place in Limoux and dropped a small brush in long grass in the dark. But at least we lost nothing important. Although, the socks were important during cold nights. Luckily, we were already in the south of France when we left them behind.
I mentioned in the last post that Germany was a cycling paradise. However, it didn’t reveal what a cycling paradise it is until we neared Hamburg on our second riding day.
On the first day, when we rode from Puttgarden to Neustadt, there were cycle lanes, but they were not in the greatest condition. Most of them ran close to trees and the tree roots had buckled the surface.
The uneven surface made it hard to ride even without all the extra weight we were carrying. It also wasn’t ideal because of the state of Justin’s rear wheel.
We had already changed the pedals and fixed the bottom bracket on Justin’s bike. When he gave the bikes a good clean in Albertslund, he noticed cracks on the rim of the rear wheel. Not great, as they can cause the wheel to buckle and make the bike unsafe and unpleasant to ride.
The company who makes the rim agreed to replace it for free and send it to us along our route. They needed five days to get the rim to us. We couldn’t stay and wait for it, so got it sent to Frankfurt. That way, the rim would get there before us and we wouldn’t lose any time.
Meanwhile, we still had to get to Frankfurt. Only 655 kilometres away. That’s the distance on the map. In reality, we cycled 734 kilometres from Puttgarden to Frankfurt. The rim just about made it there.
We also had a problem with Justin’s shorts. They were falling apart. We found a C&A in Neustadt (hands up those who remember them in the UK). While Justin shopped for shorts, I tried to get a decent selfie with a helmet on.
Justin had more success with his shorts than we had finding a new burner in Neustadt. He got a bargain from the C&A. A pair of shorts reduced from €30 to €2.99. The old shorts went into a bin. Wish we’d taken a picture of them first, though, with the duct tape we used to patch the tears.
We wild-camped in Neustadt. A lovely spot by the sea. Not that you can see much in the pitch dark night. For once, we were ready to camp early and before we found a camping spot, we had a rare opportunity to wonder about the town. We even treated ourselves to our first and only ice cream of the journey.
It’s worth pointing out here that you need cash in Germany. If your purchase is under €30, most places still only accept cash payments. Otherwise, the vendor gets charged.
Ice cream time and our camp at night
From Neustadt, we rode to Hamburg where we had the pleasure of staying with my sister’s friends. They rent a cottage next to my sister. Really lovely people who treated us to beer and pizza in the evening.
A huge thank you to Jasmin and Mario for looking after us so well.
It made getting soaked to the bone the next day seem not quite as bad as it might have otherwise….
Until next time, and as always, thank you for being here.