30th: Leer to Oldenburg

Leer to Oldenburg:

Today (Sat 30th) I rode from Leer to Oldenburg. It was raining HARD this morning but the woman at the DJH youth hostel was scary in her insistence that I check-out by 9am and wait in the reception area, so I just wanted to get away (if I had enough toilet paper in the first place woman I could?ve had a shit earlier and been gone by 9am!). Leaving was a mistake. Soaking wet, lost, mad as hell.

Oh, before I forget, my RHS big toe is infected. I messed with it last night and made it piss blood over the floor.

It was fun. I took photos.

The nail has lifted up and underneath is all kinds of scar-tissue, pus, blood, skin goodness.. what a fscking mess!

hippy?s aus.bicycle nemesis would say “mediiiic!!!” 🙂

Service station guy in Hesel? was super-helpful and even gave me a USEFUL map to take with me. Saved!

Hesel, Remels, GrosBander, Hollreide, Moorburg, Hollwege, Westerstede (checked for hostel bed here – it was full), GieBel-horst, Langebrugge, Elmendorf, Helle, Gut Horn, Mansholt.. or something like that..

As has become the tradition for me, once I know where I need to be riding, my mood improves dramatically!

It’s strange that this mood-change seems to be linked to the weather, because the rain stopped and it soon became sunny enough that I got a bit sunburnt! Can I really control the weather with my mind? Stayed tuned for the answer on hippy?s Believe It Or Not..

German bike paths are pretty shite compared to the ones in the Netherlands. I took a photo at one stage where the entire path is a 10m-long puddle! The paths are often very rough too. This would not be an issue normally but I’m super paraniod about destroying another wheel or snapping the panniers off the rack (I bent the hook once already so I know they aren?t too strong now)! Bumps are bad! Some of the German paths are more like MTB trails than path.. I started riding on the road instead in places.. much to the dismay of one horny driver..

When I wave to other riders or nod or say “hi”, all I seem to get is a stare back. Maybe because I’m in knicks and jersey they think I’m Jan Ullrich in the off-season? (Nah, I wasn?t that fat.. oooh! harsh! :P).

Hostels here appear to close between 1200 and 1700. I arrived at 1600. This sucks, but I will have to adapt. The DJH hostel in Oldenburg only costs 19.80euro and has TV rooms, lock boxes in rooms and stuff – guess this place is a bigger city (it has a uni) so it needs to be a bit better? The guy here was really nice too – let me into the room before I?d paid and stuff.

Bakeries here rock! I had some awesome goodies from “Back Factory” when I rolled into town.. mm mmm! 😀

“Plundermohnsnecke” – sweet, snail-looking, glazed scroll thingie.

“Schoko-Quarkkuchen” – pastry base with a kinda cheesecake centre, topped with perhaps a choc version of the centre?

unknown – looks like fluoro fake spew but tastes really nice. Think mini pizza but sweet. Has cherries and icing mixed up on top.

Cappucino from their machine was waaaay too hot. I’m a fussy bastard for someone with no tastebuds left..

Looong shower (and clothes washing session). Noticed my jersey is starting to fail. Guess where? Yeah, where my guts is exerting too much pressure of course! haha 😛

Theresa emailed suggesting I drop in if I make it to Dinklage (pron. “dink lager”).

Can?t find anywhere trad. so I have a yummo “Rigatoni Spezial” (champignons, tomatensahnsoBe, Doner-fleisch) and an “Alster” beer. The Alster is very sweet but loses its initial appeal after half of the 400ml glass is emptied. Try a “Diebels altbeer”. Brown, 4.9%, 330ml bottle, looks like a Hightail, doesn?t taste like one 🙁

Love to say I went out and had a ball but… I fell asleep back at the hostel reading local gig guides!

Leer to Oldenburg Stats:

77k (total for the day: 87k), 4h 30m, 17kph (told yaz it was shite!)

Fri 29th: Groningen to Leer.. Hallo Germany!

Groningen to Leer:

Yesterday (Fri 29th) I rode from Groningen (NL) to Leer (Germany). In my typical style I spent the first hour lost and asking people how the hell to get out of Groningen and heading towards Leer. I cant recall much of the ride. I may have diaried it? An update will likely be made to this post.. aren?t you lucky.

Yes, I did write something. But it was only to mention stopping in a C1000 supermarket in “Beerta” for “Sneeuwmutsjes” – totally yummy, moist little cakes with jam ?baked into? them. A sweet “Limondaine” drink, “Aquarius” drink – like Gatorade (but weaker?) and some “Appelkoeken” (apple cakes) for later.

I travelled through: Hoogesand, Winschoten, Nieuweschans and Weener if you wanted to know that. If you didn?t, you just replaced your Mother-In-Law?s birthday with a town named “Weener”..

Found hostel thanks to nice lady who only spoke German but drew a mean shop-a-docket map! 🙂

25.60euro per night. Bit steep – hope it’s not the trend here. Got a whole room to myself though.

There was some festival on in Leer, but I only saw one marching band and then the cleanup operation. Lots of boats – it’s on a major canal or something?

Pizza for dinner (5euro) with a half-litre of beer (2.80euro). Didn?t really help my dehydration but I’m into quick kicks rather than long-term happiness 😛

Followed that with a beautiful blonde.. no, wait.. a beautiful Tiramisu! (4euro) 😀

Did the usual wander around town. Small and cosy but quite a few people – boat crews and tourists, mainly, I think?

Groningen to Leer Stats:

94k, 4h 26m, 21.1kph

Later that same afternoon..

New ZAC2000 RimNew ZAC2000 Rim

Local bike shop fixed it in four hours because I was a scumbag Aussie cycle tourist! Paid 90 euro for it though. It’s black because it was the only 32H rim he had. I should?ve got him to swap the lot for a stronger 36H!

Hatchback News

Hatchie is doing well, but still doesn’t like coming inside. He has several different spots he likes in the laundry:

1 – his basket with a blanket in the corner.

2 – top of the freezer with the polystyrene lids.

3 – top of the dryer where I’ve folded a towel.

We’ve seen him wandering around the yard occasionally, and I have to confess he looks more at ease there than when Dad brings him in and he hides under the couch!

Come on HB, Tango isn’t that big! Take him on! 🙂

I'm hanging out in Groningen..

and I’m too lazy to type the bloggage from the previous days right now..

Just letting you know I’m alive in case you start celebrating or something..

Will be heading into Germany very soon.

Over and out.

Beware! Cycle touring can change a person..

Australia vs. Europe

I’m getting sick of explaining the size difference of Australia vs. Europe to the Europeans. Actually, I’m not getting sick of it at all, but I do think they might not get it even when I explain it.

I found this comparison whilst looking for a map of Europe for root planning:

Australia vs Europe

Original image found here.

Here is the normal map of Europe I was looking for.

SS Folder?

I’ve been seeing a lot of those cute 20″-wheeled folding (and some not folding) bikes around NL. Surely someone has turned one of these into a singlespeed or fixie? I was thinking of building one for a UK commuter! 😀

As with all buildups, it’d be purely for stupidity-factor and totally impractical I’m sure.. except for when it rains just a bit too much and I can fold ‘er up and dive onto a (hopefully bomb-free) train! 🙂

Hmm.. I’d google for it.. but..

Okay, I’m back and googling..

It seems the SS Folder has been done.. by Argos, a UK department store!

Argos Folding SS

SlingShot’s SingleShot is another example, released in 2002. Thanks again cyclingnews.com!

Here is a Folding Bike Buying Guide that looks pretty nifty:


Friday 22nd: Knee-d Air!

My right knee is sore again. It’s not really my knee, rather than tendon thing on the outside at the back, near the top of my calf. It’s given me grief a few times now. I think I’ve got a cleat placement issue.

Wasting time on the internet before the Tour starts (5euro/5hr). Kicked at 2pm so I went exploring. Bought Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” (16 euro, new) which should give me plenty to read when I need to kill some time computer-free :). Tried to sell “Hard Questions” but De Slegte (pronounced “De Shlecker” as far as I could tell) don’t take single books. Have to carry it until I find someone who wants an english-language sci-fi. Doh!

Riding around I take an oppurtunity to draft a bus, as you do. Well, over here, don’t! Dutch wisdom seems to be “If it ain’t broke, break it and building something else” or “if there’s nothing there, build something there”. They apply this to the middle of roads and curbing. Riding down the road, you don’t expect to have to deal with a curb in the middle of the road! Anyway, I’m sitting on the arse of this bus and BANG! “What the f.. shit!” as I try and minimise the impact of the next “middle of the road curb”. I guess it’s a good way to discourage smart arses from drafting their buses, but geez, think of the bikes! 😛

This incident inspired me to air up the tyres when I spotted a service station with a proper compressor, i.e. not one of those stupid dumb-ass-car-driver-friendly-please-don’t-over-inflate-my-tyres compressors. I was a bit shocked to find both tyres below 30psi!! No frickin’ wonder my knees are about to explode! It’s like I’ve been pushing two gears higher for the same speed! Those automatic compressors lie. I was maxing them out (59psi I think?) and it was only recently they were filled so WTF is with <30psi?! I gave 'em a real 50psi. Woooah.. so much better!

Did 23k today at a Der Jan killing pace of 4.9kph 😉