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Ploughing into Germany – Lunen to Kassel

October 9, 2010
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We wake late again –getting up in good time is not our strong point at the moment. Not sleeping so good either – still getting used to the idea of regular camping and being on uneven ground. My sleeping kit is good, it’ll just take time for me to settle into it I suppose.

My wheel has been complaining since it got fixed in Groesbeek. This time there is a crunching noise – doesn’t sound great. We pack up, eat a short breakfast of bananas and chocolate spread and head into Lunen where there is a bike shop. The guy takes a look at it and says the whole thing is knackered (he seems a bit of a cowboy, we decide to get a second opinion).

We make good time in the morning and stop in Werl for lunch, by a beautiful old church. We are getting a lot of puzzled looks from passers-by, we even get heckled by some school kids! Maybe they’re saying ‘its not the season for bike touring you idiots!’

The dutch couple back in the campsite in The Netherlands gave us some pointers on getting to Kassel quickly, but their suggestion would take us through some pretty nasty hills, so we decide to stick to the Number 7 main road that heads slightly north towards Paderborn. We make great time on this road as its straight and flat, and the cycle lanes are the joy of cycling in Western Europe!

We come off the 7 at Salzklonnen with a couple of 65pence local beers stashed on the rack and head into the more rural landscape to find somewhere to camp, and to take a shortcut around Paderborn which would slow us down in the morning as navigating cities we have found is very time consuming. However in hindsight it probably would have been quicker than navigating the windy country lanes and hills that we were about to face! We find a great place to camp in a secluded overgrown forest, and Julian picks loads of fruit from surrounding trees for breakfast. Result!

german jungle

This morning becomes the latest morning so far – we don’t leave the forest until midday! I replace my break pads but the bike is still complaining a lot, as we struggle through the first substantial hills of the trip. The windy country lanes take us on a roundabout and challenging route back onto the main route we are after, but its worth it as the weather clears for some great views, particularly of the Vestas wind farms (good job Max!)

Should we really be struggling through these German hills? The mountains in Uzbekistan are going to be far worse.  I convince myself that by then I will be fitter, and also that the mentality we have at the moment is not fit for hill climbs… when you’re pushing hard on the flat, a slight incline suddenly becomes a massive mental obstacle as you’re not prepared for it – and its tougher as a result. If we wake up in the morning and know that the hills are coming, then we are mentally fit for them and they are less of a trial.

We pick up supplies in Meerhof and get the computer looked at – its knackered. Never go with Linux, its a techies OS and not for the road! While im in the shop poo-poo-linux, Julian is outside making friends. He gets chatting to Horst, a cycling gentleman who donates 3.50 beer money! We have lunch in Schenfede after a great decent towards Kassel – those climbs were worth it after all!

Wind off the main road and its raining, we try to find a good site to camp but the road we take heads towards a huge stately home and hotel which dominates all the land around us – we sneak up a small track and camp in some woods which we’re pretty sure are in the grounds – but we don’t get disturbed so its all good.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 3:38 pm

    Well done boys! Great to see your out there doing it. My round the world trip oddly enough died a a pretty abrupt death after out meeting at the pub but I’ve made it to Japan at least (note I started and will be finishing in Japan!).

    Enjoying your updates so far. I was away for your party so sorry I missed that to but heard it was fun.

    Keep posting regularly and I will donate once I’m back in the relative safety of London.

    Peace.

    James

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