Cyclotourist without a Cycle

A prerequisite for a cycle tour is having equipment, and bags to carry it all in. So I started the day by picking up the last missing items in Berlin. My large rear pannier did not turn up, so I bought a new one (€75) and tried to find a solar powerbank, but couldn’t find the one I wanted, so I picked up a 20000ma standard powerbank, which should be enough to keep my phone going for a week or so.

The commute to Berlin HBF (main train station) was not straightforward, I had to change because of maintenance work, and got off at the wrong stop. I thought I had less time then I would have liked, but I made it to the station all the same with 15 minutes to spare.

The train to 3.5h journey to Bielefeld journey was uneventful, my brother reported that he would be 2 hours late due to heavy traffic

I left the train and descended the steps to the underpass looked left and the right. Both ways were equidistant and led to stairs to the above world, I didn’t know which way to chose, but one had more sunlight so I walked that way and alighted in a commercial area with bars and restaurants and a hotel (€53 euro per night).

I looked at my map and the camp site was to the south of the city. I checked my compass, it has been a while since I last used a compass. I aligned North to South and started walking to what I understood to be South. I then checked my phone and realised I was walking North. Seems you can forget how to read a compass.

I started to walk to the campsite, but then realised that it would be far better to loiter in the city center, and found an Irish Pub and sat down for an expensive beer (€4.25). Then I heard my brother would be delayed for another hour and I decided to walk to the campsite which he and his friend had already chosen.

.. Robbie and Kieran are in Germany by coincidence to see the tennis tournament in near-by. And they have literally just arrived as I am typing this. They are parking up the land rover and we are going to get some food. ..

There were two ways to the campsite, one by road and the other by a trail which ran over the “mountain”, or rather a somewhat mountainous hill of 350m. The hill route was significantly shorter and significantly more hilly. It was a good quiet walk through forest roads and paths. I encountered a few other walkers on the way. I was carrying half of my touring equipment which was heavy and I had to stop at intervals to re-adjust the position the heavy sack was resting on my shoulder and I padded the contact point with a T-Shirt to stop it digging in.

I was relieved to get to the campsite, but the walk 1.5 hours forest walk was definitely worth it (it would be a great place to live for running). I checked in and got a beer, 15 minutes later Robbie and Kieran arrived and we had pizza and drank more beers.

We have now set the tents up and I am sitting in the Land Rover typing this blog post while Robbie and Kieran are behind me talking quietly and drinking wine.

My hips are aching after hauling the heavy gear over the mountain and midges are battering against my head lamp.

Tomorrow I will aim to cycle to Bremen - 135km by one estimate and hilly. I haven’t done any cycling in almost 1 year.

The frogs are chirping and a long slow train sound churns softly and a fly bats intermittently between the tent sheets.