Click here to see my progress so far: Auntie Helen’s Berlin To London ride
My cycle ride is featuring on the Help For Heroes website at the moment: Berlin to London on a recumbent trike
If you think what I’m doing is pretty cool, perhaps you might sponsor me to give me some encouragement and, more importantly, to help a really good cause. All sponsorship greatly appreciated! The link to my sponsor page is here: Auntie Helen’s sponsorship page
Tuesday 8 May 2012
I met Stefan yesterday evening at the railway station and we wandered around the Altstadt. What really amazed me about Münster was the number of bicycles – they were everywhere! Stefan told me that Münster is famous for its bicycles, partly due to being an old University town.
We had a slice of cake each and a cup of tea.
We then found our way to Saturn, the multimedia shop, and had a browse.
Münster is very attractive!
I saw this distance marker to York (presumably York is twinned with Münster or something?)
Stefan got the train home at 7:30pm and I got a quick pizza before coming back to the hotel.
I saw this advertising poster which amused me. I think Axe is the German name for Lynx, but I don’t think an Axe to the head would improve most people’s hair!
I plotted my route for the next day and booked a hotel right on the border (but still in Germany) in Oeding, and just as I had finished all this the WiFi stopped working so I got my booking in just in time!
I slept really well in this hotel and had a later start, going down to breakfast at 7:45. I checked that Alfie had survived his night propped up at a bar (he had), enjoyed a very good breakfast polished off with a mini Amerikaner pastry, and then went back to my room to get ready. The weather forecast was much better today – up to 20 degrees – so it was back into shorts, although I would start the day off with socks with my sandals as it was still single figures by the time I was ready to leave at 8:45am.
My first ten pedal revolutions on the bike had the Alfine hub skipping. I immediately noticed that the cable run where the trigger shifter is had been bent down (this happened once before in the car when James’s bike was laid on top of mine) so I straightened it out and it worked again but I think I need to do some sticking-of-insulating-tape around the wire to keep it a bit straighter in future. This probably happened if someone brushed past the bike and whacked it with a bag or whatever. Or perhaps Alfie’s night at a bar had some unforeseen effects!
Anyway, off I pootled out of Münster towards Roxel. The sky was blue and the sun was shining and it was a good day to be cycling. And then suddenly, a couple of miles out from Münster I found myself next to some army barracks – 1st Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment. I stopped and took a pic of the sign
Then I thought I might ask someone at the security gate to take a pic of me. I cycled up to a man who looked like a real traditional Scottish chap with a very impressive white beard and a smart beret. I asked if someone could take a photo and he directed me to a window in a building, saying I should ask there. His accent seemed a bit odd but I thought nothing of it. Whilst we were talking lots of English-registered cars were coming and going which was strange to see after all this time in Germany.
Anyway, the sober-looking chap at the window said he would send someone out to take a pic of me (once I had explained what I wanted) and within a minute or so a young and very presentable soldier appeared, all friendly and smiles, and wielded my iPhone and my camera suitably.
To be honest, this soldier would have been a much better subject for the photos as he was really rather easy on the eye, but he wasn’t cycling from Berlin to London. We chatted a bit about what I was doing and then his boss had a go on my trike. The chap who I had originally spoken to was German rather that Scottish so the boss spoke to him in this most fantastic totally-English-accented-German.
Then the young soldier asked if I wanted a ‘brew’. Of course I said yes to this, and he then asked ‘one sugar or two?’ I think I was a bit of a disappointment having no sugars, but I was given a very good cup of tea so clearly they import their teabags (Yorkshire tea?) He also handed me a little brochure about what they do which I shall read tonight as I was extremely vague about the Yorkshire Regiment (although I was able to remember they are in Catterick some of the time!)
After a stop of about twenty minutes in total I shook hands with the soldiers and carried on, continuing on the very good cycle path beside the road from Roxel to Havixbeck. There were even some warning signs when the cycle path was a bit bumpy (some tree roots had grown up).
After Havixbeck I could see in the distance a quite reasonably-sized hill which, in due course, I started climbing over.
It was very wooded so at the top I didn’t particularly have much of a view but did see a herd of deer in someone’s garden.
I also saw my first pheasants of the trip (they are common as anything at home). I enjoyed seeing two hares and a slow worm earlier on during my travels and there have been lots of interesting birds flying around – not that I can tell what they are, although I did see a woodpecker right beside the road the other day. Today I saw two small-ish birds mobbing a big raptor.
At the top of the hill was a huge aerial (the WDR sender) and an interesting-looking tower the Longinusturm.
It had got a lot warmer so I removed my windproof but retained my short-sleeved fluorescent jacket as the wind today is a headwind (south-westerly) and it was pretty blowy on the top of this hill.
The next few miles were good fun downhill and I soon arrived at Billerbeck, a town with a very attractive Dom (Cathedral). I stopped at the Dom Café for a slice of cake and a cup of tea as it was 11:30. I have been stopping more today to look around as the hotel I am aiming for in Oeding doesn’t let you in your room until 4pm so no point in getting there early!
When time came to pay for my cake, would you believe it but I was actually charged for my tea! 1,50€ so hardly a great deal but it was quite a surprise! Still the fantastic Erdbeertorte was very good value at 2,70€ so overall it was OK.
The loo in the café had a rather unfortunately-branded toilet roll holder!
Before I set off I decided to do a small bit of fettling on my bent gear selector cable housing. This was what it looked like – as you can see, the cable takes a sharp right as soon as it comes out of the barrel adjustor as the metal housing it is in has opened up a bit; the whole thing is pulled down by the weight of the cable going through the handlebars.
All I did was pulled the cable up through the housing as it disappears into the handlebar and wrapped a bit of insulating tape around it so that it was too fat to fit through the hole and stayed higher up. Consequently there was much less strain on the cable where it initially comes out of the barrel adjustor. Job done!
I took a quick pic of the attractive Dom in Billerbeck
Whilst I was taking this picture a Weimaraner dog walked by – you don’t see them very often in Germany, despite the fact they were bred there. This one reminded me a lot of our dog Lucy who died last year.
I cycled down the high street of Billerbeck on my way out of town. Here’s looking back at the cathedral again.
From Billerbeck I headed out on a lovely quiet road through Osthellen and Westhellen. This sign for Westhellen made me think of a suggestion or a command – but it’s right, I’m keeping on plodding westwards towards home.
I stopped to change the batteries in my Garmin and whilst I was fiddling with it I heard lots of baaing and a load of sheep appeared. They sounded quite feisty so I was glad to see they were behind a fence.
I then went through Sükerhook on another quiet road before reaching the outskirts of Coesfeld which is a reasonable sized town. It was very cycle-friendly with great cycle paths and there seemed to be more bikes than cars as I was riding around.
After Coesfeld I followed my Garmin’s selected route which was a great one – wide, quiet, smoothly-asphalted roads going in a straight line and, for once, not entirely into wind. I passed lots of farmhouses, fields, little wayside chapels and more. What’s nice about this bit of Germany is that they don’t seem to be growing oilseed rape – the smell of it gets up my nose rather badly!
It was about quarter to two when I arrived in Gescher which is about 10 miles from my final destination. I decided to stop here for some lunch and found an Italian restaurant which provided some tomato soup and bread.
The place seemed really quiet except for the church bells that were ringing continuously for about five minutes. Then just after they stopped ringing the world and his wife appeared from the direction of the sound of the bells and the street was full of pedestrians and people wandering about.
Generally this part of Germany has a wider variety of people in evidence than the east – Stefan was explaining to me yesterday how young people tended to move from the villages of the east to the big cities such as Berlin, Dresden etc, but that didn’t tend to happen as much in the western half of Germany.
Anyway, I set off at about half past two and made my way to Südlohn, where I saw this nice windmill.
It was just three miles from there to Oeding where I played an amusing game of ‘find the hotel’ (it was tucked in amongst some new housing and, although huge and with a big tower, I just couldn’t find it initially!) and then checked it to the very nice building. The WiFi works in the room but is a bit slow so I’ve gone to the main restaurant area to type up this blog.
I have booked a B&B near Arnhem for tomorrow; well, it’s just this side of Arnhem. Arnhem itself is pretty expensive and I spent a day there a couple of summers ago with my Dutch friend Marieke so don’t feel I particularly need to invest in visiting it again!
Statistics for today:
Distance travelled: 42.11 miles
Moving time: 4 hours 21 minutes 55 seconds
Maximum speed: 30.7 mph
Average speed: 9.6 mph
Average heart rate: 113
Maximum heart rate: 144
Calorie burn (estimate as heart rate monitor didn’t always get a reading): 1,200 calories
Oh, tomorrow is an important day for another reason. It’s the day of the oral exams for the German course I’ve been doing at Essex University. Unfortunately this trip was planned long before I got the date for the exam so I’m missing it and it’s unlikely I will officially finish this final year. I hope the others in my class do well, though!
Oh, and here is a screenshot of the statistics of who’s been looking at my blog today. Nine people from Finland???!!!!