Monday, 11 July 2011

3,000 plus

Niendorf – Serrahn    84.1 kms    723’ ascent
Serrahn -   Gross Quassow    104.6 kms   1018’ ascent
These two days have been remarkable for all the same reasons so I have decided to put them in as one entry. They have been similar in a number of ways and so I present you with our second two days in Germany.
 Both days have required the covering of longer distances than planned, because of a paucity of accommodation which had any vacancies. My polite enquiries at the site prior to Serrahn met with a very surly ‘full’ and left me in no doubt that my charm was not going to have any impact on this particular Mr. Grumpy. The next two bed and breakfasts met with a similar ‘full’ but also with an apologetic shrug. After 84 kms we despaired of finding anything other than a field, when a third b and b had a room! Hooray. Another first floor epic but we hauled the trailers up the stairs as delicately as Herman would allow and plonked them in the only available space – was a bit tight but there  is not much of us these days. AND I didn’t have to think about breakfast, just how we were going to smuggle a couple of rolls out for lunch, there being also a dearth of shops of any sort, on our planned route. The expected (and mapped) campsites didn’t even exist and the only B & B we passed was ‘full’. Our only option was to continue along our allotted route for to deviate too far  would, almost certainly, result in our getting lost! After over 100kms, a real live campsite promised a possible comfortable night after a tough ride the reasons for which will become clear further into the blog. A mobile home was available! Were we dreaming or hallucinating now? Thank you, thank you or danke schone danke schone. It meant that we could have off the following day as planned. I use the word ‘off’ very loosely as we seem to be more shattered with all the catching up than with the riding.
During both days of riding, we saw little that was remarkable. We did ride through lots of trees and no doubt the Germans’ intended this to be a pleasure. When one has ridden through central Sweden…………? The shade they provided was, however, a bonus as the sun hotted up quite quickly. (We are sporting the brownest of knees!) We passed quite a few lakes but when one has ridden through Sweden………….? We had anticipated some rising and falling of the land but had no expectation of the continual steep ups/downs. These required short bursts of high energy on our part and so getting into any sort of rhythm was impossible. Not that this seemed to bother the fit and lightly laden youngsters who overtook us. The great thing about beingold, is that one feels no shame in being slow!
We had registered a few comments from books and the internet, that the Germans were not fond of cyclists. And so we found. Gone were the cheery waves of the Scandanavians, replaced by at best surly ignorance and at worst being almost driven off the road. On tracks that would barely accept a vehicle and were on our designated cycle route, we continually gave way to any car approaching in any direction. Not once was this gesture acknowledged and thus very fed up with this lack of response, we played ‘chicken’ which was much more fun!
This general dislike for the long distance cyclist may be, in part, the reason why these designated routes have an infinite variety of surfaces, few of which, are conducive to comfortable riding. The list runs as follows:-
Asphalt – smooth as a baby’ bottom. VERY ,VERY RARE!                                                                        
Tracks with stones of all sizes interspersed with fallen pinecones and pitted with potholes.
Tracks with horizontal ruts that swallowed the trailer wheels and almost stopped you dead.
Tracks which were predominantly sand and impossible to pedal without serious danger of a rider dislodge.
Cobbles (large and small and very decorative!) which rattled brains, bones and bike and any other loose object. (Why cobbles on a newly made designated cycle track?)
Two lines of concrete with a ditch in between so that the unwary could lose a trailer wheel.
(All the above shared with motor vehicles albeit intermittently.)
Muddy paths (at least it was dry) which were so narrow passing on the move was impossible.
Wooden board walks (sometimes flooded)
Don’t for a minute think that we are daunted. Tomorrow we tackle them all again.


  1. Congratulations on the 3000 klix. You are going like a couple of trains now. Regarding your indifferent reception by the German camp site owners, could this possibly be connected with your crossing into their sovereign territory in the company of two Sherman tanks? The last time this happened it lead to no end of a tiff which went on for the best part of five years!!

  2. I love your blog posts, it's like reading a book.. a new chapter every night :- ) xxx

  3. Sorry to have been out of touch for a while. Weddings and a fabulous short break in the south of France! Just caught up with your blog. It sounds as if you need to get out of Germany as soon as possible before it decends into a full blown war between yourselves, the car drivers and the cycle path designers!! Wendy x

  4. Is it me or is there not much activity in the way of donations for this amazing challenge??? C'mon you lot, every little counts!!!