My ‘big’ bicycle tour – Day 1

From Bad Endbach to Asolo Bicycle Solo Tour 2016                                                  May 7th to 15th

Saturday, 7th May (Day 1)

mika-o-manninen-germany-to-italy-bicycle-trip-2016-1000km-13_0 The big day started very sunny and the weather forecast was for much the same for the entire week. The only thing was, I wasn’t staying in the area. Further South, the prediction was for rain and storms. I had planned to start my trip at my favourite bicycle dealer (Hipf Race Bikes), as a mini event for them. I was nicely surprised to see my friends turn up. We barbecued sausages and had a bit of Prosecco. Then it was time to hit the road. At 11 o’clock, the three of us rolled out. This was the first time I had the fully laden backpack on my shoulders. With such a specifically designed backpack, I was hoping it wasn’t going to pose a big problem. I was full of anticipation to see what this trip would bring.

The pace was brisk and promised a steady weeks worth of riding for me. After 30 km in our mini peloton, we split up. This was now the true start of my solo tour. All I needed to do now was get through Giessen. I had borrowed a special mobile phone holder, which was great for such an adventure. It looked like a ‘flatscreen TV’ on my handlebars (words of Bernd Pfeiffer – Hipf Race Bikes), alongside my regular Garmin Edge 800. I used my mobile phone also as a navigation device, due to the good map that the Strava App displays. And when that wasn’t good enough, then I opened Google maps. The Garmin Edge has a smaller screen and the topography map has too much detail to see at a glance.

I quickly discovered that the easiest way to navigate was to go analogue and have the sun to my left in the morning, in front of me at midday and on my right in the afternoons. Though at some junctions it was better to go digital. Or better yet, be social and ask a friendly local.

The days ride so far was full of freedom. No rush, no worries…..

Had an exciting moment when a big tractor passed me slowly with a cyclist in tow (Alexander Koop). I’m not too sure who was more surprised, him or me, as I was the one with the big backpack.  I picked up the pace a bit and could stay with the cyclist and tractor for a while. We didn’t even say HI!. (But later on Strava we discovered that we are Strava buddies. He said he had thought twice about the Cube logos, but was too busy slip streaming that tractor so he had no time to ask or say anything. He wished me ‘well’ for the rest of the trip) That brought me into the town of Nidda. Had a quick break for a muesli bar and to check the navigation. Then I was back on the road.

I even stopped for a longer break a bit later, as it was hot. Backpack, helmet and shoes off. Had another muesli bar and some sweets. And a back stretching lay down on a park bench. My drinks were either nearly empty or warm, so I found a drink shop and topped up.

Late on a Saturday afternoon, you usually don’t search for a place to stay without booking in advance, but with 99.5 km ridden, it was time to end the first day. I entered a small town (Lieblos) from the forest side, so there were no signs of bed and breakfasts or hotels. So I asked the first guy I saw,  and the good news was, down the street on the left.

I found the hotel and it was closed……. “NO”….. But I didn’t give in. I went around the back and eventually found the owner. The price was a bit over my planned budget, but hey, he had me!

Nothing to do but a quick shower and watch the last 15 km of the day’s Giro. That was the purpose of my trip after all, to recreate a bit of my own Giro. They started today too, in Holland! Now I was really in the mood to have a good week. But for now I was hungry. Went for a walk and found a Chinese restaurant. ‘All you can eat’ deals are the best. I rocked the buffet bar and grill. Grilled ‘roo’ meet with a pinch of salt, cool as.

On the way back to the hotel for my first nights rest, I bought some bottled water and filled up and mixed my water for the bidons (water bottles) and put them in a fridge in the hallway.

That was a wrap for day one after 100km. “Lights out, good night”.

((MotD)) Moment of the day: Cycling away from the bicycle shop. Cycling with Alexander.

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