Blog – Stories from Bicycle Touring;

During my bicycle tours, I’ve had some interesting experiences. Below are a few examples;

 

  • The night before Berlin, I couldn’t find anywhere to wild camp. My GPS said there were three campsites 7 miles south, as it was pretty much dark. So I was like. yeah cool, I’ll cycle in the dark to this small town in Germany (Havelberg) that I didn’t plan to go too. The first two campsites took me to peoples houses. Not sure if someone was playing a joke there or what. But the last one (I have no idea if was a campsite on not) but it had two big noisy dog, and there was a closed gate. Therefore I didn’t go in. After all this, I just decided to camp in some long grass, that was quite near the last campsite. Normally my GPS is accurate with campsites but that was odd, didn’t get the tent up until like 11:30.

 

  • Also, while I was cycling in Poland (the most interesting country I’ve cycled in) I was on some fast moving road, and some van started swerving from my side of the road to his. Then last minute back on his side and he chuck out a glass bottle 10 meters or so ahead of my bike. Not a lie. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed, but generally polish people were really friendly, just this guy might have been on drugs or something.

 

  • I’ve rarely had any punctures on my bicycle tours, including 0 going all the way to Poznan in Poland from the UK. However, on my trip to Frankfurt in Germany, there was a big issue. I caught the ferry to Dunkirk from Dover, once I got off the boat – after a minute or so of cycling I realised the back tyre had a puncture. It was very dark, a busy road leaving the port with trucks coming by every second (had a huge adrenaline rush). I had to walk the bicycle on the side of the road, and instead of fixing the puncture, as couldn’t find a suitable place to do that, and could barely see anything I decided to wild camp in an abandoned field (pictured below). This useless field took me forever to find. I had been searching for spots in the dark for what felt like hours around the port.

 

  • In the Republic of Ireland, while I was cycling to Cork. I thought I lost my wallet at a supermarket in Kilmore Quay (called Mace). I was at the tills to buy some food, and couldn’t find it in my backpack. Turned out it was lying at the beach where I camped at, while the tide was coming in. Felt very lucky to have that back. The shop owner there offered to give me 50 euros if I couldn’t find it which was great of him  (as without my wallet I would have have been stuck in a new country with no money)… great guy! Two other people said they would chip in 20 euros each, therefore I had 90 euros. This would have been enough to get back on the boat to Britain. However after finding the wallet I returned the money to the store manager.

 

  • While I was in Poland, I was invited into a family’s home. I asked a man on his bicycle – if there was a campsite nearby – at a small town called Dormowo. I didn’t know what the hell the word for campsite was in Polish. Therefore I just said; campingplatz, camping, tent etc to see if he understood anything. He didn’t. I then said to him “London to Warsaw”, as this was my planned route… to see if he could help. He then turned around and told me to follow him. Next thing I know it, his nephew (I believe he was) invited me into his home, he was a similar age to me and could speak English well. This was an amazing experience to sleep in some random polish family’s home. I have never done anything like that before, and I felt very fortunate as I had no idea where to sleep that night. It was getting dark, and I couldn’t see any wild camping spots or anything.

 

  • Also during my tour to Frankfurt, I met two guys that were a similar age to me. I believe they were 23 that were both tandem cycling to Basel. This might not sound like an interesting story but I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere in Rural Germany, at a small campsite. They were both English, one lived in the same county as me just a few miles away. They were both really funny guys and I had a good time hanging out with them. They even bought me a beer, I had no Euros at the time  🙂

 

  • Another story of mine is that I had a problem with my dinner, nearby the city of Rochester. How it happened was –  I decided to wild camp in some woods that were in close proximity (3 miles away) from Rochester. I was starving, so after spending roughly £10 in a chicken shop. I thought I would get the tent set up before dark.  Once the tent was up I was really looking forward to digging into the food. Only problem is it wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I forgot all about it while erecting the tent. After retracing my steps (because I was starving and needed food) I found the bag of chicken burgers, chips etc maybe a mile or so away outside the woods…. However, unfortunately lots of slugs were crawling over the food. This ruined my night. I tactically ate the food without any evidence of slugs on them, & ate two oat bars. I felt similar to Bear Grylls at the time, eating food that’s been left out in the wild. I didn’t have much of a choice because I was literally starving.

Cheers,

Rob

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