Our Cycle Ride Along the River Rhine
Day Twenty Nine: Wednesday 24 August 2016
Still in Worms - Rest Day - and a little problem!
I hardly had any sleep last night. JP and I went to bed at 2100 hrs. and by 0630 hrs. I'd only had about 15 - 20 minutes sleep, so I decided to have a rest day.
This morning, we cycled down to the banks of the River Rhine and watched a few barges go past, then called into a bicycle shop to get some chain lubricant.
This afternoon, we went to the swimming park, which JP always enjoys. On returning to the bicycle park we found that my bicycle was missing; presumed stolen. JP offered me his bike to ride and said he would run alongside - what a hero! I didn't accept his kind offer, so I walked back to the youth hostel where we are staying. I then went to the police station and reported the missing bicycle.
I'm now working on what to do next. We need to get to the Hook of Holland by about 30 August and get to Harwich where Grace will meet us. Of course, having no bicycle means I have no way of carrying all our camping stuff, let alone riding anywhere.
I'm thinking about a few options so all will be resolved in the near future. Just another of life's little challenges!
Day Thirty: Thursday 25 August 2016
Still in Worms, Germany. Back on the road.
Had a busy morning. Went to the railway station to find out train times to Hook van Holland, then to a bicycle shop where I bought a cheap second-hand bicycle. Back on two wheels again!
This afternoon we relaxed with an ice cream in the heat:
then obtained our tickets to travel to Dusseldorf tomorrow where we have also booked a room in the youth hostel.
Day Thirty One: Friday 26 August 2016
Worms to Dusseldorf – by train.
Quite early in the morning I visited the bicycle shop to take some photographs. It's a real Aladdins cave of cyclists goodies.
In the afternoon we let the train take the strain as far as Dusseldorf. In many places we could see the path on which we should have ridden on rather than sweat it out in the non-airconditioned bicycle compartment of the train. It gave us some insight into what our next year's tour should be like (if we do the second half of the ride).
There was a delay at one point in our journey caused by someone walking on the track. Why walk when you can go by train? How silly.
We arrived in Dusseldorf about half an hour late and rode off to the huge youth hostel. The place was very busy as there is some sort of festival just starting, so we were very lucky to get a room at all – good job we booked it before we left Worms.
Despite it being a relatively easy day, we both felt exhausted. JP went to bed at about 1930 hrs. After having a rest, I stayed up quite late working on my photographs.
Day Thirty Two: Saturday 27 August 2016
Sightseeing day in Dusseldorf
We stayed at the youth hostel:
After going to the railway station to buy our train tickets for tomorrow, we went sightseeing and found the place to be buzzing. People everywhere – and huge numbers of trade stands.
We then went for an hour long trip on one of the many tour boats. It was scorching hot again but JP in particular enjoyed the trip.
At JP's suggestion, we re-crossed the River Rhine, and spent the afternoon at one of the festivity parks by the side of the river. Many of the activities were free, so JP really enjoyed taking part in all sorts of things – climbing and mountain biking being just two of them.
Late in the afternoon, we sat and ate some Bratwurst (giant hot dogs), before heading off to find our bicycles.
I'd just started to ride mine when JP informed me I'd got a flat rear tyre – yet another puncture. We wheeled my bicycle back to the mountain bike activity centre and one of the staff there inflated my tyre with a really efficient high pressure pump. We pedalled off to the youth hostel and got there just before the tyre deflated again – and just as it started raining – just a quick summer shower.
The problem with the 'new' bicycle is that the tyre valves are not the same as those of the spare tubes I have available to use. In fact, the valves in my spare tubes won't even fit through the hole in the rim of the wheel. Not only that, but I couldn't buy a new tube as it was well past closing time of the local bicycle repair shop – and it's Sunday tomorrow – a day when almost everything is closed.
The only option was to patch the punctured tube – and that has always failed in the past. Unlike the two last punctures, this one was in the rear wheel. Not funny. Front wheels are easy in comparison. I took the rear wheel out of the frame and removed the tube. Hands now covered in oil from the gears and chain. I'd borrowed a good air pump from the youth hostel receptionist and it rapidly inflated the tube so I could look for leaks. I found the leak very quickly – in fact it looked like a row of leaks but thankfully only one of them appeared to be discharging air.
I stuck on a patch, put the tube and tyre back on the wheel and waited. And waited; eating an ice lolly that JP had appeared with. All appeared to be well.
Day Thirty Three: Sunday 28 August 2016
Travelling by train from Dusseldof to Hoek van Holland, then by bicycle to Monster.
My puncture repair held! Great.
We got away from the youth hostel at about 0950 hrs. - One hour before the train was scheduled to depart. We got on board on time and away we went to Venlo, then changed trains to Rotterdam, then another train to Hoek van Holland. We arrived on time and off we pedalled on the North Sea Cycle Route - a path that runs very close to the beach. With the wind behind us it was a very rapid journey (about 10 km.) and we were soon delighted to see the houses of Monster come into view. After all, this had been our home for nearly two years.
JP raced ahead as soon as we came close to the village and had already banged on the door of Erik and Katja's home well before I arrived to find him chatting to Katja. We arrived at about 1530 hrs.
We were made so welcome, it was like being at home (our former home being just next door).
Katja looked after us (and continues to do so) like an angel.
Day Thirty Four: Monday, 29 August 2016
In Monster, The Netherlands
A quiet day with our dear friends in Monster. The way JP and I were cared for touched our hearts.
Later, in the evening, we went out for a bicycle ride with Katja, Timo and Femka - and bought some ice creams.
JP and Femka played on the swings:
and we watched the sun go down over the village and over the beach at Hoek van Holland:
Day Thirty Five: Tuesday, 30 August 2016
Travelling from Monster, The Netherlands to Preston, Lancashire, England
Rather sadly, we had to say a fond farewell to our friends in Monster:
JP, Katja, Timo, Femka and Erik
Katja took all our bags to the ferry terminal in Hoek van Holland so we could cycle unloaded. That was a massive help for us as the wind was against us for the 10 km ride to the terminal.
We had reached the end of the River Rhine - albeit without cycling the full length.
JP with the end of the River Rhine in the background