Thursday, 4 August 2016

Euro Tour: Sankt Goar to Mannheim// Never trusting Google Maps and very nearly dying

Ass not gas. Mannheim 
The short version is Google Maps hates me and thinks things that are so not roads are roads. The long version includes me pushing my bike through muddy vineyards pretty sure I was trespassing swearing loudly at the rain. FYI scarecrows are really scary when you are all alone in a massive dark rainy field and there is no sign of life or modernity and your mind starts thinking maybe you’ve fallen through a time portal. AND MY GOD THIS RAIN. Oh and then I nearly died.

For the third day in a row I cleaned off the mud, oiled my bike and waterproofed up. Really I should have followed the river as it bends upstream to Mannheim but the rain was being such a twat, I thought i’d cheat and take a more direct route to save time. Big mistake.

This was a tough day. Probably one of the toughest I’ve ever had on the road. I thought it was important to note because I always forget about these days. No matter how traumatic a ride is, as soon as it finishes the euphoria of nailing it makes me forget how bad it was and I willingly do it all over again. When people ask, I make out that every day is an idyllic adventure, so now it’s in writing I can’t deny that some days are fresh hell.

Solo cycling long distances presents almighty peaks and deep dark troughs that test you to your core. 

After a day of cycling through an incessant rainy hell where so many things went wrong and scared me, two things did however, make me deliriously happy.

Firstly, I arrived in Worms which by its name alone is cool and I was so happy to be in a town around cars and lights. Out of nowhere this amazing pink sunset blew my mind.

Secondly, I got back on the Rhine path which felt like being reunited with a old friend. If I could, I would have hugged it. I think I might actually have shed tears of joy. These things made me put aside all the not great bits of the day and I thought it would be plain sailing from here. Again, I stupidly trusted Google Maps to bring me the final stretch home to my hostel. Instead, it took me over a railway and kept telling me to take a pedestrian tunnel where I’d lug my loaded bike down two flights of stairs into a deserted carpark. The bastard.

The breaking point happened when it led me across tram tracks that I’m almost certain I wasn’t allowed on and in the rain my wheel slid in the metal and threw me off into a bollard. 

I had a crash. I say that in the same way old people say ‘having falls’ instead of ‘falling over’ because when you are laden down with panniers you really get taken down and it’s quite an effort to get back up. As per usual the protective instinct kicked in and I grabbed my bike and got it out the way of trams, checked my wheels, put the chain back on and reattached all my luggage and lights before I realised that I might actually be hurt and could have died. Trams are scary.

I called the hostel and got real life directions. By the time I arrived I looked like i’d returned from war.

I got to my room and there was a girl sleeping. I might have been cold, wet and muddy but I’m not a dick so I snuck in the shower and sorted all my muddy stuff out as quietly as possible before tiptoeing out. She got me back in the morning by continuously snoozing her alarm.

As I sat aching on the floor in the dark corridor, eating a yogurt without a spoon, pretty sure my wrist was broken, I thought things couldn’t get worse. Then my earring fell out my ear into my lap. 
*Cries in German.

If you were one of the people I hysterically called at this point declaring my undying love and complete incompetence, never mentioning that conversation ever would be great.

I think my bike hates me.

Next stage: Mannheim to Heidelberg// Mad respect for the human body and Germany shaped butt bruises.

Thighs Matters Euro Tour stages:
Ulm to Ingolstadt// Bonking and trying on dresses 
Ingolstadt to Regensburg// Bike drying my hair and putting bikes on boats
10 Regensburg to Wörth an der Donau: Pimping my ride and hunting down chocolate
11 Wörth an der Donau to Passau// My last day in Germany and probably the sunburniest 
12 The Austrian bit. Not the Australian bit as autocorrect likes to think
13 Vienna to Bratislava// Five things to do that are not 'go on a stag do'
14 Bratislava to Gyor // Not checking my feast days
15 Gyor to Esztergom// Being scared of dogs and referring to my bike and I as 'we'



  2. Really feel for you here! I've done a lot of swearing at google maps bike for taking me places no bike should ever have to go. Kudos for sticking with it, you are awesome!