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Day 4 Passau to Landshut 28km*

Updated: Jun 6

"If it wasn't for bad luck

wouldn't have no luck at all"

Albert King

Do you ever have the feeling that you are cursed? I’m starting to wonder if I have done something wrong to upset the cycling gods. So far, almost everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, except I haven’t been mugged yet, so there’s that to look forward to.

This morning I intended to send my extra kit back home by locating a parcel office and visiting a bike shop to buy some inner tubes. However, today is a national holiday in Germany and literally everywhere except petrol stations and fast food restaurants is closed. Just for good measure it was hammering down with rain again.

Immediately after making my way out of the city, the bike path switched from pavement to gravel. I knew this was going to happen and I had imagined myself swanning along in the sunshine with the crack of gravel underneath my bike. What I got, was covered in shit from head to toe as the gravel and soft sand under it turned into a quagmire. Far from being the fun experience I had imagined, it was more like cyclocross with the bike sliding around underneath me soon as I went through any corner, and I was getting stuck in water-filled ruts.

And then I got a puncture, of course I did. It was at least comforting to know that German cyclists, like most in England, will almost always ask you if you are OK as they ride past. Two different older German men stopped to ask if I needed help or additional tools and both chatted about their own fond experiences of cycling in England. The second one warned me that the path ahead was "completely shit" and I should prepare myself for lots of roadworks and diversions. Deep joy.

The puncture itself was easy enough to fix but I couldn’t get the rear axle pin through to get the wheel back on as it wouldn’t go through. I won’t bother you with all the details of what I had to do to fix it, but two hours later I was back on my way mostly thanks to some video support from my good friend Brian. He not only provided remote assistance but kept my spirits up by laughing at me, and getting me to see the funny side of being stuck at the side of the path.

After all the time waiting inside of the road, I didn’t really feel much like carrying on yet again looked for a train option. In truth I also don't trust my roadside fix. I found a direct train from Vilsdorfen to Landshut which is where I’m staying tonight and took the option to ride the 15km to get to the station. I will find a bike shop tomorrow and get them to give the bike a once over (and watch them throw their hands up in horror).

Four days in and I have only ridden 280 km so far. Which means I’ve done another 180 km on trains. Definitely not what I had in mind. However, rather than making me feel like I should just give up, this is just made me more determined to carry on. If anything, I am taking as a positive the fact I was able to fix my bike at the side of the road, and without crying or having a temper tantrum which is definitely progress.

The hotel check in this evening provided me with some light relief as the lady behind the desk speaks as much English as I speak German. But we managed to get through an explanation of where my bike had to be stored, when I had to pick it up, where the breakfast was served and the special conditions that I was supposed to respect for breakfast, or at least I think we did - who knows? I may have signed up for a morning Pilates class at my luck.

I cheered myself up by having a currywurst and a couple of beers for dinner - that’s as German as it gets.

*of course it's more than 28km between these two cities

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Jun 01

Well done Brian (and Paul) 😉


I’m amazed you’re still able to string a sentence together, this has been a tough few days.

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