Thursday, 29 June 2006

Asten, NL to Dormangen, Germany - 110 k's

Another great day for riding. cool & overcast. rode a long way - 110 k in 11 hours. I had my first flat, but it was solved quickly (ish). I thought that my overall speed would be faster, say 15 to 18 k's an hour, but with all of the breaks (and, yes, getting turned around), it kills my average. the signs are pretty good here, though it does still take some time to make sure that you are going the right
way. i though, somehow, am still on schedule to make it to Frankfort by Sunday or Monday. I have no idea but I guess that it was lucky & a bit of bike sense that I am still on target considering that I lost my first day to circling around Rotterdam and my slow overall pace. now, comes the 'holiday' aspect of this ride for me. for many reasons, I love the Rhein river. again, another high recommendation to anyone who comes to Germany. I lived in Stuttgart, Germany 10 years ago for about a year. I had the great fortune of being able to travel quiet frequently and spend many a
weekend and longer up & down this river. i think that it is beautiful, but I have said that before. so, I plan on spending more time here and staying in more b&bs than camping as there are many small & wonderful villages along the way to Frankfort. I wonder if I spent too little time in NL in order to get here quickly? did I rush a place that I should have spent more time as i am now along the rhein,
where I have spent a lot of time? and because of this, I don't know if I have given the opportunity to speak with people along the way about my ride. so far, it has been pretty lonely and I have not taken much of an opportunity to speak with more people about my ride. I am not just under a week in and have only really had two conversations about this trip. as Bert in Werktendam said that although I am doing it in support of STW, I truly am doing it for myself. I think that this has to be true. i am doing this for myself, to work through my feelings of anger & impotenence about the current crisises around the world. as I have said before, I don't know any
more what else to try. so, I ride. and I hope to meet people along the way who share my views. so far, so good. and even those who I don't speak to about my ride, i have been so very fortunate to meet helpful and wonderful people.
I think that if you put yourself in an exposed position, such as in a bike ride, people will respond and help you out. this has been proven to me from Chelmsford, where I looked sadly pathetic with my broken spokes and dripping in sweat to Bert and his wonderful help with my route. because of my riding, I have met people & seen places that I would have never would have seen if I would have flown. and you know all of this. i guess my point is, whether you cycle or fly, as a traveller,
you have to break out of all of our comfort zones and put ourselves in difficult positions in order to find the best in people. I know that I started out jittery as I always do when beginning a trip such as this but now i am getting more comfortable as a traveller & cyclist. I need to make that gear change and it is rarely, if ever, smooth.
So, what do I do next? how do I engage people when I am travelling on my bicycle? I will slow down and try to break out of my comfort zone and speak to people about my ride. I will put myself in an exposed position and see what happens. but first, the Rhein, the Frankfort then onto the new (for me at least) main river onto which I will turn right and head towards Prague.
I splurge on a b&b (but i DID spend the previous evening in my bivvie bag in the rain) and have a lovely and huge dinner of pizza, salad and a 1/2 of bottle of wine.

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