Days 38 to 41: to Munich

02 July 2016

It's with a very slightly sore head I write this final chapter in the diary of my pedal from Porto to Munich. When the waitress said they only served the beer in steins, I thought that would be fine. It was, last night. Beer goes down very well when you're dehydrated after a 95 kilometre ride, sat in a sunny beer garden.

Anyway, back to the final 3 days of cycling from Zurich to Munich. The weather forecast didn't look great and lived up to its prediction of rain. The first only saw some light rain which was more than made up for by my arrival in Germany and both reasonable priced everything and beer gardens.

Day two had the perfect storm of torrential rain and routing trying to take me down so many dirt tracks I lost count. I've long since learnt my lesson of not trusting the blighters so at the first sight of an unsealed road a hasty rerouting ensued every time. Many times. Both Strava and Google really really need to understand the difference between road and mountain bikes (the former being something one should ride, the latter not, of course).

In what seems a blink of an eye, the final day's cycling was upon me yesterday. It both feels like only yesterday and an age ago that I was unpacking my bike in Porto. The rain cleared, making way to perfect riding conditions: sunny and not too hot at 26 degrees. A whole 13 degrees off the trip maximum, thankfully. Some hasty rerouting was again required, adding an extra 10 kms or so to the day, which ended up being quite fortunate as I wheeled up to the hotel in Munich having done exactly 3200 km since leaving Porto. Had it been 3190 km I'd have had to go round the block a few times...

It's still sinking in that I've actually made it. Right now today feels like any other rest day: sore legs, slow morning writing my diary. When I don't get in the saddle tomorrow it may start dawning on me that I'm actually done. The only apparent casualties are my wrists, which are complaining quite a lot at all the cycling. So much so that I've taken to the high-risk strategy of leaving toilet doors with stiff locks unlocked for fear of getting stuck in.

Now's a good time to revise those stats I posted a while back from the French side of the Pyrenees:

  • 5: number of countries travelled through
  • 3,200: kilometers cycled
  • 47,137: metres climbing
  • 2: attempted routings via motorways
  • Countless: attempted routings on dirt tracks, but still only succeeded in doing so twice when I had no choice but to follow it
  • 2: attempted routings via non-existent roads
  • 0: punctures (yes, 0 punctures in 3,200 kms. Gatorskins are amazing)
  • 1: mechanical (if you can call a chain coming off a mechanical)

Annoyingly I screwed up my destination and won't be able to get over to France in time to start the Tour today, maybe next year. I did, however, cycle about the same distance as the Tour, albeit at a slightly more relaxed pace but then again I don't see them with pannier bags.

So here the adventure ends. A lazy couple of days ahead in Munich sampling the delights of beer gardens before I head back to London on Monday to see what remains of the UK. I did look at the map yesterday and contemplate just keeping riding east, but that's for another trip. And another trip there will be. This whole travelling by bike thing is amazing, I'm a convert! The pace at which it let's you explore beautiful places is perfect: in a car things would whizz by without you being able to take them in, and by foot you just can't cover the ground. That day in the Alpes with Mont Blanc looking down at me all day long sealed the deal. Only question is: where to for the next trip?



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