Border crossings

Today has been an unexpectedly big day. The plan was always to ride and not move the car, which I did, but the plan was to 100kms or so, not 150kms. The reason I got it so wrong was down to a lack of planning. Sometimes it is quite good just to ride with no plan and see what happens and to be fair it wasn’t a problem really.

My main aim was to try some German climbs and see how they compared to the ballons across the Rhine, in France. The answer was hard if not as long. I warmed up for 10 miles or so taking in the wonderful German roads. Much like the Netherlands they keep cyclists separate and it really works well.

I then hit a dead end climb and after a good 20 minutes in the saddle I certainly felt it, with gradients approaching 13%. At least I was under tree cover so all good really. I still had another climb to do though as I planned to cross the Rhine and make this an international ride.

A refuel with water and a very tasty cherry coke in Germany, set me up with a good 50 miles under the legs. One thing I noticed on crossing back in to France was a drop in road quality. I have never thought that before but after a week in Switzerland, (excellent roads), and a day in Germany, (what else would you expect), the French roads disappointed.

Next up was Strasbourg as I had to find a different way across the Rhine back in to Germany. This is where the stress happened, I got lost in suburban Strasbourg and it was a dodgy area. I had to resort to the compass on my Garmin and try to navigate eastwards and Germany.

I did get there of course after 5-10 minutes of panic. Feeling happier I was back in Germany and heading back to Gengenbach but before I got there I had my good citizen call. A fellow cyclist was approaching when they crashed, due to a flat front tyre. In a mixture of Frecnh and English, my German is poor, I provided a bike pump and we got a new inner tube installed and both safely on our way.

It is the unwritten rule of cycling, we all look out for each other and help. It is a brotherhood to which I belong.


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