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.