Saturday, June 14, 2008

Now in the Netherlands

I am now in The Netherlands, and not after a few minor and major hiccups. One of which was the back tire of my bike dying I have crossed the border. The border crossing was relatively painless as well. By painless I mean I wasn't even aware that it occured. I was cycling through a German town and passed someone on the side of the road shouting "Deutchland! Holland!" while jumping from side to side. Some damn German preparing for the border crossing I thought. However, no checkpoint was reached. One minute I was cycling through Germany, the next the architecture had changed and I had reached a sign which read "Welcome to the Netherlands".

Now the "hiccup" with my back bike tire happened while I was in between two small towns. Luckily enough it occurred in the front of the house of a nice German lady who didn't mind me using it to try and fix my tire. Now things started getting more complicated when the tool I used to undo the bolt on the back tire snapped in half. I don't know if it was the shoddy metal that the spanner was made of or my own amazing brute strength that caused the break, but I prefer to think that it is the latter. However at the end the bolt on the bike was still very much fixed in place, and the tire was not about to get fixed that night. As all the shops were now closed I asked, and got permission to camp the night on this lady's front lawn. Now it was fairly lucky that my back tired died when it did, as the rain had been pursuing me for some time now, and I had managed to outrun it up to now. I had no sooner set up my tent and got the bags inside than a virtual downpour started. Something which would have completely soaked me had I been out in the open, and assuming my bike was still functional, between cities far from human habitation.

The next morning the lady at who's house I was camping went as far as to drive me into town to get a replacement tool to remove this bolt. Tool in hand I tried again to remove the bolt on the bike. Again I only succeeded in bending the tool significantly and stopped short of breaking this new spanner in half. I ended up wheeling the bike down to the bike shop, and getting them to use a much larger, sturdier spanner to remove this bolt and from there I was able to replace the back and front tires. The lady at who's house I was staying even brought me out some coffee while I fixed the bike up.

Now after my first leak in the front tire, there had been a slow leak in the front tire which had caused me no end of grief, constantly pumping it up again. I also took the time to fix up my breaks, oil my chain and do all the little jobs on the bike that I hadn't done as they required me to remove all the bags from it. I also found out that the tires had been extremely underinflated. I had only been inflating the tires to the same pressure as I had originally received the bike, which I found out to be nowhere near enough. After inflating the tires to the proper pressure I found myself speeding along. It made a whole world of difference as I was now able to cycle up hills above the first gear.

I am now in the Netherlands, and appreciated the change. Will work my way towards the coast now, and most probably to Amsterdam.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Ah that's awesome man, you really landed on your feet by stopping front of that house.

I guess you CAN depend on the kindness of some strangers.

Although, you can also depend on some strangers to kidnap and rape you, so I'm not sure if there is a balance there.