Mijn trip van Duiven naar Berlijn in 3 dagen!zaterdag 15 oktober 2011
Hey! hieronder mijn reisverhaaltje. Het is wel in het engels!
From Duiven (Holland) To Berlin part 1
The wish I had was to do more biking in Berlin and the surrounding parks, my dad had (now it’s mine!) a 24 years old Koga-Miyata racing / touring bike (Grantourer), dusty and not maintained for maybe a decade. So I thought why not fixing it and driving it to Berlin. I wanted to do it in 3 days, but an extra day if necessary was still ok. I planned the trip with Google maps with the walking setting. It turned out that this didn’t worked out so well for bikers going on long trips. You can find the Google maps route link below. I did lots of maintainance: new tires / steer / gearchanger / light / brakes / seat / cables and lots of small stuff here and there. After a few days I was finished and I saw it was good :).
Friday the 7th of oktober 2011 I woke up at 4:00 packed my bike with my backpack in a plastic bag and a Karrimor bikebag with about the same age as te bike! I drove away at 5:00 after a delicous breakfast. I expected lots of rain and this was just the case after 30 minutes of driving. Rain for the next 70/80 kilometers until the border plus a few times driving in wrong directions. I had a poncho and rainprotection for my shoes, unfortunately the quality of the shoe rainprotection was not that good, but it worked out pretty well. It gave lots of good energy when the sun came up, even with the rain and through the clouds this was a nice view!
In Germany the trip went pretty smooth, lots of good roads, finaly some sunshine and good progression. I was lucky with the wind at my back. The trade off was the rain, but that was ok. To Teckelburg there was this really steep hill, the only one in my trip it would be, after about 175 km it was pretty heavy to ride it so I walked for about a km untill I was past the severe steepness. Downhill was of course really nice, I got 50.56 km/h on my counter. In Osnabrück there was a short period of heavy rain, I used it to take a break and then I started again.
About 15 km after Osnabück I encountered my first flat tire. I drove with these super narrow tires on a sharp side of a piece of stone and; the air was gone… my first snakebite! I repaired it and with this little pump I have. I can get quite an amount of pressure, but the nearby garage helped me with the needed extra pressure with a (non tube, pretty solid state ;) ) compressor. This is needed because the back tire has to be really hard because of me and the luggage. At that point I had about 200km done and the first stop I had planned to sleep was in Petershagen. This trip to Petershagen went also pretty smooth, except for the second flat tire. This time the front wheel was the troublemaker. I am not sure where it was, I think somewhere above Levern. This time I didn’t fix it, I just put in a brand new innertube and of course I checked the outer tire for sharp stuff! I stopped by a house to ask if they had a bike pump. They had, but this proved to be the standard pump which you can put on your bike. This didn’t worked at all and my little pump got almost the pressure the front tire needed, enough to move on.
After about 30 km another biker passed by and asked me in German where a little city was above Hannover. I told him I didn’t know, that I was just on my way to Petershagen and that I started in Holland. Then he told me he also started in Holland (Nijmegen). Funny coincidence, with this weather another biker from Holland deep into German land! Also a good to know that I was not the only one with such idiot ideas. We talked in Dutch for about 10 minutes and then he drove on.
I arrived at 19:30 at Petershagen. I drove this first day 268.44 km, netto time of 11:19 hours on the bike, an average of 23.61 km/h. The amount of km was more than expected because I drove several times the wrong way. This was something which costed me more time than I thought: the searching for the right way and the talking with people to find the right way. The room I rented in Petershagen for this night was in Rast im Knast im Alten Amtsgericht for the reasonable price of 30€. I also could put my bike in the house! I also had dinner there which was really good. At about 22:00 I went to bed.
From Duiven (Holland) To Berlin part 2
I woke up the second day at 5:30 and was surprised with almost no pain in my body. I only had a bit of muscle pain in my knees. I am really glad I bought a good seat with good biking pants, this saved me from lots of soreness I guess…I had breakfast at 6:00 at a backershop close to the pension. At 6:30 I drove off. Untill Hannover everything went pretty good, there was rain, some detours, but not so much as the day before.
In Hannover I encountered difficulties; it was really hard to find the right way, almost every plate directed to Hannover but I had to go over Hannover so I took lots of wrong ways. Then when I was almost on the way to Langenhangen, again a flat tire of the back wheel stopped me. I repaired it but after a 5/10 km it went flat again. I inspected the outer tire and there was a cut in it. I had to walk to the nearby bike shop for about 20/30 minutes. So glad I was when I arrived there! I asked for a new outer tire for the bike which they luckily had. It was their last one! I drove the bike to the workarea and there I saw that also the braking blocks were worn out (after just one day! Wind and sand is like sanding paper the mechanic said. The mechanic also pionted out that the chain and back gearwheel unit was worn out. So we had to replace it all: New braking blocks, new chain, new back gearwheel, new back tire and a new innertube. The good thing was that because of the age the bike had a 5-gearwheel unit. This one was not available at the shop so a 6-gearwheel unit was put in and it worked! So now I had 2 extra gears (on the front I have 2 gearwheels)! The guys of the shop were pretty surprised that I was doing this trip (that counts for most people who I spoke with by the way). I was surprised at the reaction of the shop people when they discovered that my bike was a Koga-Miyata they praised the brand and so it seems that even in Germany the brand has a solid name. Dutch bike manufacturers really know what they are doing!
Finaly I could drive on again with a good bike with good components, thanks again to the guys from Zweirad Krüger GmbH & Co. KG in Langenhagen. The little mental blows (the mechanical problems and the path finding difficulties) were washed away by the now strong going bike. Everything went pretty smooth to my next planned stop in Klötze. I did stop in Burgdorf however to get some spare innertubes, a spare outer-tire and a can of pressurized CO2 so I could get the pressure I needed when a tire went flat again. I did this because it was Saturday and on Sunday the shops were closed. I was lucky though with that shop, it closed at 14:00 it said on the plate, but the shop people who were still there opened it for me again!
On the road again there were way less cities and villages so the routeplannig was easy. The road was awesome: good asphalt and I guess half of it had bikingroads next to it. I had to be carefull with the roads without bikepath. I had good light and wore a yellow fluorescent safety vest with reflection strips. When a car was coming from behind I swinged my bike in a bit of a chaotic way so that hopefully the car drivers would think: “What’s that for idiot who cannot steer, lets give him more space so I will not soil my fast and pretty car with him”). This worked out pretty well. The border from the former east-Germany was also a little milestone; there was good progress and Berlin was coming closer!
I arrived at 19:30 in Klötze. I drove this second day 201.88 km, netto time of 9:13:35 hours on the bike, an average of 21.88 km/h (a bit slower due to the walking with the flat tire). The Penson Gästehaus Karin in Klötze was great. 30€ including breakfast. I had that evening dinner at the little hotel just 30 meters away and felt asleep satisfied and tired at 22:00.
From Duiven (Holland) To Berlin part 3
After a good night sleep I woke up a bit earlier than the day before; 4:30. Almost no pain in my legs, a bit more bike seat pain but really contained. A good seat plus good pants is worth its weight in gold! I packed the bike and had Breakfast at 5:00. Awesome that it was possible to have breakfast that early, the lady of the pension also had to wake up that early! She told me that it was 0.5 degrees below zero that night. Pretty cold indeed when I got on my bike at 5:30. The sky was so clear that I could see the stars really bright. The big dipper on one side and Orion on the other. It was amazing. The stunning view in combination with fast biking provided enough warmth not to freeze. Fortunalty no rain at all so I didn’t need my poncho. The downside was that I had more windcooling. Next time I will bring a coat with me on trips like these. Only a few t-shirts and a sweater is a bit on the poor side… This day was characterized by the beautiful weather, no mechanical problems and very little wrong ways. I just enjoyed the biking and had a new topspeed of 55.16 km/h somewhere before Nauen. I wanted to go from Nauen to Bredow as seen in the route plan, so I looked for that way and found it, but the road was really bad. Not maintained for ages or so it seemed. I decided to follow the main road and from Zeestow it was clear again how to drive. At 14:15 I arrived at the Otto-Suhr-Allee in Berlin where my fiancee works, I called her so we could meet at Alexanderplatz from where we continued to the Proskauerstrasse. Everything worked out as planned and we arrived at 15:00 sharp at the Proskauerstrasse. That day I drove 188.86km, 8:12:11 hours netto biking time and an average of 23.01 km/h.
Some stats: the trip for me was a total amount of 659.18km, 28:44:46 hours netto driving time and 22.93 km/h average. Underway I ate and drunk in three days a complete bread with chicken / peanut butter and apple marmelade (of course not everything on the same slices!), 8 muesli bars, about 8 litres of water/isotone sport drinks, 1 coffee, 6 sausages, 3 slices of gingerbread, 5 apples, 1 piece of Nougat, 1 bar with nuts and one Berliner. 4 flat tires, 1 wasted outer tire, 4 worn out braking bloks, 1 worn out chain and gear wheel unit (this one was allready not so new when I started the trip) and 2 batteries for my back light.
Im satisfied with the result of the trip. It was a nice sporty adventure. I must say that everything went pretty smooth. Yeah it was long but I never had the feeling it wouldn’t work out. I also expected lots of rain and mechanical issues, so when there was sun and the bike was snorring it felt really good, you really enjoy sunshine way more when you expect rain :). The day after I arrived I experienced just a little muscle pain (more stiffness than pain). Training wise I prepared very little, the month before the trip I drove maybe 100 kilometres, but I did lots of jogging which I find way more exhausting. I feel more exhausted after 2 hours of jogging than after a weekend of 660 kilometers! It is a good experience and maybe I will do more of this stuff in the future, but then I will do something about navigation, even better rainprotection, more spare (tire) parts and also a good coat would help!