London to the Himalayas: Day 15
Where are we now? Munich, Germany
How far so far? 1240km
So, we are finally on our way. Just having a few days off the bikes after completing the first leg – London to Munich – our training and bike test ride! Three days before we set off, it was looking as if we would have to postpone the start a few days, since the bikes weren’t even built. But we pulled everything together at the last minute, and at 8.30 am on Saturday 28th July we left Parliament Square, only half an hour later than planned. At this point we must send out a big “Thank you” to the guys at Johns Bikes in Bath for all their help during those few hectic days before we left.
We are now near Munich, staying with friends in a small village in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. We are taking the opportnity to rest and prepare for the “real” start of the expedition – Eastern Europe and the Middle East. And obviously we are just going to have to sample a few beers and sausages whilst we are here, though we’ll be drawing a line when it comes to wearing lederhosen, probably.
We took the first few days relatively easy – visiting a friend’s wedding in Tunbridge Wells on the first night and meeting up with parents in Canterbury and Bruges on the following nights. But then we really cranked up the pace, (well, as far as possible on our heavily laden bikes) averaging around 100 miles a day between Bruges and Munich, with a couple of days off in the pretty town of Aachen in north-western Germany visiting friends. The last five days through Germany have been particularly hard going – for some reason (possibly insanity, but probably just stupidity) the route we chose turned out to be a very hilly one. One day we climbed an estimated 1500m, and another day took us up to over 840m in the Schwabische Alps south of Stuttgart. Germany certainly isn’t a flat, boring country, though at least we have been able to to do a lot of the cycling on cycle paths. They really have got cycling sorted in this country.
On Monday we are off again, heading in the direction of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest – the adventure really starts here. Don’t forget to check out our website at www.charityride.org, which has more details about our adventure, plus more on-the-road reports, a detailed route description and a few photos too. Our next report will becoming from somewhere in Eastern Europe, but who knows when…….
Andy, Matt and Adrian