People keep the wheels turning

Posted by Krista
on the road out of Buchenbeuren, Germany

Dan mending the bikes

The gear cables have stretched! After nearly 800 kms (500 miles) of pedalling with heavily loaded bikes, half of that distance in snakey curves and meandering detours over the mountains of the Ardennes (Belgium and Luxembourg) and the Eifel (Germany), we and the bikes are in need of some rest!

Dan’s tweaking the gears – his mechanic’s background coming in very handy! We seem to have chosen our specific roles – and enjoy them… I am often taking care of the logistics such as route, food, map reading, cooking and Dan is the general maintenance and handyman. At the end of a long day’s riding, it’s teamwork as we put up our tent and make camp. We’re slick at this now, with our special routines, and we’ve got it down from an arduous 2 hour process to just 40 minutes! We’re aiming for 25!

The days seem to have become longer now that we don’t need to discuss each intricate detail of how best to do something – whether it be how and where to erect the tent, or how and where we should find a camp that night. We’ve been lucky so far on that count, having become more confident to ask locals. Last night was the prime example: I saw a couple riding bikes through the small village of Sohren and immediately felt to ask if they knew of a ‘Kamping Platz’. They shook their heads and said there was nothing in the area – only a Youth Hostel 20km further on. Dan and I were knackered, having cycled in the scorching sun all day (a 60km stretch up and over the deep canyon of the Mosel river). But after further thought the couple asked whether we wanted to camp in their garden! How perfect! To be woken up at 7am for morning coffee.

This bike ride would be all the more difficult without all the kind and generous people we encounter along the way – from the farmer we ask for water, to our generous hosts, to the people we ask for directions and even just the people who give us a friendly smile and wave as we pass. This love and care makes the world and the bicycle wheels turn!

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