Day 1 of the Berlin Challenge is now done and dusted and I know that a lot of people have requested that I write a blog about my experiences of cycling abroad and raising money for such a fantastic cause. As I sit here now the total money raised sits at £1672.62, from 71 donators. I really can’t thank you all enough if you are reading.
So how is the cycling? Well my first thing to tell you all is that you really shouldn’t decide to do a big event after a weekend on the beers in 30+ degree heat. I’m dehydrated, covered in heat rash and ridiculously tired. But that said cycling in Germany is undoubtedly one of the best experiences I’ve had cycling. Nice wide avenues, preferential treatment for cyclists and less bikes than Amsterdam, it sounds like a cyclists dream…and it is, if you’re into the flat straights that the city has to offer. For me with it being so flat has helped and has made it the perfect experience so far for a rookie tourer who’s carrying 30kg of bike and gear.
The day itself has been nice, with 28 degree heat and some fantastic bike paths practically the whole length of the journey. It’s also my first time properly using the garmin for touring and while it’s been great in certain situations, it’s been a nightmare in others. Today alone I found myself on sandy “unpaved” paths, attempting to access a motorway (to be stopped by a police man) and in the middle of a bug infested forest on a non bike path. I’ll show you the evidence as soon as I can.
So what would be my advice for anyone touring? Plan your route properly. We’re lucky in the uk that the majority of pathways and routes are kept clean and up to date. It’s not always the same abroad. Bring bug spray. I’ve been bitten to shreds. Get a camelback. It’s allowing me to carry an additional 2ltrs of water and keep on the road longer. Bring spare zip ties. They’re so amazingly useful. Bring some luggage straps. My tent would be left behind had I not.
Tomorrow looks set to be hot again, and with a more hilly 145km to cover I’d best be getting to bed.