Tuesday, June 27, 2017
For the first two weeks of the trip, riding with bags hanging off both sides of the rear rack on my bicycle made me feel I was riding a Mack truck rather than a bike.
Travel is about discovery and I discovered I don't like riding a 60-pound bike. In the process of discovering what I don't like gave me clarity about what I do like about riding.
The toughest day on the trip was riding from Bratislava, Slovakia, to the border of the Czech Republic. I started at 3 p.m. thinking I could easily ride 60 miles to Brno in the Czech Republic. Sundown was 9:30 p.m. The weather was clear. The wind, sadly, was 15-20 mph in my face, but I only had to average 10 mph to make by dark.
Four hours later, I had covered 34 miles. I stopped a mile up the road, got dinner and started riding the next day.
Yesterday, I rode to Wiesbaden from where I am staying in Darmstadt, Germany. When I got back from the 65-mile ride, I rode up to Frankenstein's Castle. The steep 1.5 mile climb made me happy. Without the bags, it was tough, but I was not crawling. And on the way down, I was flying through three switchbacks and a dozen sweeping turns.
Today I spent the day on a trip to a museum in a car, but when I got back, I went up and down both roads to Frankenstein, then did the steep road again. For the rest of the trip, I will be riding without the bags. I like that much better.