A New Bike

BTWin Bike

The cost to repair my bike was almost the price of a new one, so I decided just to pick up another bike, At first I couldn’t decide which bike to buy but I opted for the BTWin for a couple of reasons it was cheap and had rigid forks. I spent the next five hours swapping everything over, rear rack was easy, front rack was a pain. I bought new panniers and could have fitted all my gear in them but it would put too much weight on the back-end. The shop didn’t have front panniers so I stuck with the old ones. I kept going back into decathlon to get more stuff, the panniers then a bottle holder followed by a new bottle, then a ruck sack to hold my tablet when navigating.

I left decathlon at 13:50 all seemed well, the gears made it a lot easier to go up hills, I just need to tweak the seat height and it was spot on.

The navigation app played up almost immediately as it took me through a field, then country lane, over a very straight and long canal. I went through yet another forest and up another hill I couldn’t manage so pushed, the freewheel down was 3 km and fast too. I took a right turn and had to get off and push “left turn” the app announced, there wasn’t a road left but a grass track which was a steep down hill, so I took it but it soon turned into mud and on its first day my new bike was already filthy. I looked at the app settings and the only thing is that it was set to shortest route, so I changed it to fastest route. I had to push for about an hour to get out of the valley I was in with its stream running through the middle.

When at Dabo Schaeferhof I bought a bottle of Orangina, a pear, water and a cake. I sat on a bench next to the little store and indulged. After the little village everything got a lot harder, I don’t know whether it was because I had so little sleep and had been up since 04:30 or the massive hills. The hill out of the village turned out to be a killer and went up for 2 km and then some more. 1.7 km to go until my campsite for the evening I went to a small supermarket opposite a fantastic church with an unusual clock, it was 6 pm, I picked up my provisions for the evening. I followed the navigation apps instructions to turn left and then left again, I thought it was just cutting the corner around the lovely church, it wasn’t, it was a pleasant down hill but turned into a dead-end in fact it was someone’s house, I turned around in their drive way. The road I really needed was now above me to my right, the hill was too steep to ride up, so I pushed all the way back to the church, the clock now said 6:30pm.

I pushed the bike around the church and up another steep hill to the top, I was on the D45 in a lush forest somewhere near Haselbourg, France. At the entrance to the campsite there was a motorcyclist who had broken down, I said hello and was going to offer the use of my tool kit but was so exhausted and sweaty I needed a shower first.

The campsite in the forest was two fenced compounds one for motor homes, one for tents. There was a family playing in the small park but no one else, the office also had a refuge chalet and I could see the beds through the windows and was tempted to ask the price. I paid €3.40 for the tent and €1.80 for me, I did wonder how a tent could stay on its own. I ordered a baguette for breakfast.

After setting up camp I had a hot shower, shave and walked back to my tent in only my towel wrapped around me, I didn’t want to put those smelly clothes back on. My feet and legs were throbbing with pain and I was tired but hungry, so I put a film on my tablet as I heated up a tin of ravioli, had a beer and fell asleep.

I woke up at 07:20 snoozed until 08:20 then rolled out of my tent and went to the chalet to pick up my baguette, it was huge, well for one person anyway. I was still achy and my ribs were sore so I took some pain killers, had breakfast and packed up.

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About John Holt

John Holt has worked in the travel industry for over 14 years and comes highly recommended by Trip Advisor for his practical and candid talks on travel destinations. Spending 18 months as a "Local Interest Specialist" for a leading tour operator John has become known as having more practical information than Google.

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