Drummed out of Town

Day 114: Glasgow to Brightons, Scotland, Friday August 11th

We took the scenic route, riding backwards along the River Clyde, then all the way back up the Kelvin to pick up the canal route towards Edinburgh. The weather was a bit spitty, but the wind was from the southwest, pushing us along.

All the way out of the city we could hear bagpipes and drums, drumming us out of town, I suppose.

We rode beside the water, practically coasting, for hours. Deb kept waiting for it to get less pretty, but it didn’t.

We stopped at an old Inn called the Stables for a hobbit-style pint, and again at the Falkirk Wheel for pictures. Unfortunately the wheel wasn’t doing anything while we were there, and it’s likely much more impressive when you can see it in operation, lifting or lowering boats from one canal to another.

I was enjoying the canal ride so much I led us astray, and we had to rely on Google Maps to get us to our Airbnb. Google seemed to want to have some fun with us, sending us on a long climb up a gravel path in the woods, then under a rail bridge with a ledge barely wide enough for our fat, loaded bicycles.

When we did finally arrive, we were warmly welcomed by Justine and three very excited dogs. My crabby mood was obliterated by Campbell, a five-month-old spaniel.

Distance: 54 km

$120

Burning Thighs

Day 16: May 4th, Helmsdorf to Irgersdorf, Germany

Don’t bother trying to find Irgersdorf on a map, it’s just a cluster of homes.

We continued on the D4 cycle route, better prepared for what it would be like. The weather was back to grey, misty and about 12c.

The D4 is unpredictable. Sometimes you’re on farm roads, sometimes a cobbled street in a town, and sometimes on a muddy logging road in the woods. Well, one thing is predictable, you’re always either gaining, or losing elevation (mostly gaining). We covered maybe only 50km, or less, but it felt like 150. It didn’t help that we had some trouble following the D4, getting a little turned around a few times.

About 1 p.m., we used Booking.com to reserve a place in Irgersdorf (“The Apartment in the Mountains”), but when we arrived we weren’t even sure which house it was. Few places had numbers, and no one answered at the one Google Maps seemed to indicate. We looked around a bit, and finally ended up back at the same (unnumbered) door. This time a very surprised man answered. Neither he, nor his wife, spoke any English. It took awhile, but we finally figured out that the room was free, but he didn’t feel it was fully prepared (we think what Google Translate gave us as “not suck out” was un-vacuumed).

The place was a full apartment with a kitchen! Some desperately needed tea and hot food.

Distance: 45km

$70

Elbelick

Day 4: April 22nd, to Jerichow, Germany

Mixed bag of weather again, but still a great day of riding.

At one point we must have rode past some “cycle path closed” signs (in German), because we ended up riding on dirt paths that were clearly not meant to be used. We got a little lost. Fortunately nothing was gated, and the App “HereWeGo” (like an offline Google Maps (thanks Kara!)) got us through.

The Elbe cycle route often has an option on both sides of the river. Some larger towns have bridges, a few have various kinds of small ferries. On this day, we’d decided to stay on the “north” side (it actually became more of the east side after Havelberg, which we rode through in the morning) all the way to Tangermünde, where there is a bridge. Unfortunately, when we finally got to the end of the weirdly empty construction zone, we discovered that we’d completely missed our chance to cross. And it was getting a bit late.

Deb checked the guide and found only a couple of pensions/rooms for rent within a reasonable riding distance. In the small town of Jerichow we hunted around and found a grocery store (yay) after passing a small inn that looked open.

With some supplies we went back and (as usual) disturbed the people who lived there and ran the place, We checked in to a nice clean, but cold room (rads had been off awhile). We were likely the only guests. It was a little like the Shining, except not so swanky, and with no elevators full of blood. In fact, no elevators at all. Riding up hills loaded with gear is nothing compared to lugging said gear up to the third floor of a building.

It did have a little shared kitchen, and we were able to have a hot meal.

Distance: 76km (I’m not writing approx anymore, it’s a given)

$: 96