- distance cycled: 34.5 miles (north of Koblenz to Bonn) + 3.5 miles cycling together in Bonn to a couple of bike-shops. (I’m not counting the further 6 miles I cycled on my own to a third bike-shop.)
- cumulative cycling: 677.5 miles
Another fine, hot day cycling along the banks of the Rhine, enjoying the scenery and cooing at castles perched on high crags. Another chance to swear at Giggle Maps for taking us up three flights of stairs at the end of a hot day. The stairs did have ramps for wheeling bikes, but these were so steep we couldn’t manage them with our luggage on our bikes, leading to a fox-and-chickens situation. Another somewhat confusing hotel: we’re in room 400-something, but it’s on floor -1 and yet we can step out of it to a terrace. Our room has a small kitchen whose fridge is currently cooling camels and chocolate. Yay!
Hitting the wall
Usually, when athletes talking about ‘hitting the wall’, they mean running out of bodily fuel and/or mental energy. In cycling, this is also known as ‘bonking’, ‘blowing up’ or ‘exploding’. Well, I’m not an athlete and so when I hit a wall, I do it for real.
Some time after lunch, I looked back to see if Elly was still behind me. (Usually, I lead us out of wherever we’ve stayed, head down over jPhone, staring furiously at Giggle Maps, willing it not to lead us via too much gravel paths, dirt tracks or cobbles. Then Elly gets into her stride and pulls us along. Finally I take over and mislead us to our destination.) So, yes, I was looking back. That meant I wasn’t looking forward, and there was some wobble. There was also a concrete wall, which stopped me and Lev when his left handlebar hit it.
Many thanks to the triathlete who stopped to check whether I was OK. I was, but I didn’t realise Lev wasn’t until just before we entered Bonn. (Well, the crash did snap the elastic holding on his left front blinder.) I noticed that he was in his middle ring, and when I tried to change him to his big ring, his brake/gear lever snapped off.
Fortunately, Lev also has cross-top brake levers, the 21st century of 1980s ‘suicide bars’, and I could manually shift him into the big ring. So he has two functional brakes, and he’s making me obey the essential Velominati rules:
- stay in the big ring
- harden the f**k up!
I’m somewhat embarrassed: I hurt my bike, and (far worse) I wasted this afternoon’s sight-seeing time looking for a bike-shop that could replace the brake/gear lever today or tomorrow. Everywhere we went said they didn’t have the parts in stock. The final place we tried said it could get the parts quite soon but its diary was full for the next 10 days. Apparently, Lev is too low-end for that shop, which does have parts in stock for electric gear-changers. So I’m embarrassed and inambulatory, and Lev is bashed and emasculated.