Saturday, June 7, 2014

Day 11 Breisach to Strasbourg, via Colmar

We set off on the hottest and sunniest day to date after a leisurely start. The tent and ground sheet were dry for the first time.
The night before had not been quite so settled. More about this but feel free to resume biking story and skip from * to ** to do so. 
* We blew up our inflatable mattresses and got ready for sleeping after returning from our evening meal but noticed that mine deflated quite quickly which should have alerted us to a problem. We ignored this and settled down for the night but before long I was aware of sharp knobbly things under my back. I knew we were camped under an oak tree and I suspected a puncture. Jerry was sound asleep so I tried all the usual things eg lying on the sleeping bag, then adding layers of clothing as the night cooled down, then tossed and turned for a couple of hours before Jerry woke up. We then tried the two people on one mattress, and variations on that theme but to no avail. We decided to attempt a puncture repair in the dark in a tent! Jerry diligently covered the whole surface feeling for the leak and finally worked out that there was a bit of paper in the deflate valve! I had been muttering about the fact that all inflatable devices fail at some stage and that they were not recommended for trips such as this one etc etc. I had to make my apologies but after that we were able to settle down to a great nights sleep.
Our cycling was very pleasant along canals and then minor roads which became busier as we approached Colmar. We had a difference of opinion regarding the route as I had bike maps loaded on my garmin which I was using for the first time whereas Jerry was using GPS which had served us well to date. We ended up on a very busy single lane road with no bike track and lots of trucks moving at speed in both directions. To travel along this road would have held up traffic behind us or made trucks impatient to pass us. The dilemma - travel back the way we had come (approx 8km) or walk along the grass verge with trailers in tow which is what we decided to do. It was hot and sweaty work but after a couple of kms we were able to get back off on a side road. We had a gentle ride into Colmar via back streets to the station where we planned to catch the train to Strasbourg.
Strasbourg has a very striking station building and the less said about loading 2 bikes and 2 trailers on and off a busy train with the entry space already full of luggage, the better- its harder work than any biking to date. Unfortunately, during this process A piece of the wheel hub broke on Jerry's bike so we hope the "mend" will last for the remainder of the trip. 
We have a huge suite in a basic but clean hotel where we have met up with Gill who will take my place on the bikes from here.
We have exchanged bikes and equipment and I will take all the unwanted stuff back to UK. 
We have sauntered around Strasbourg and have bought a 3 person tram pass for 24 hours which we have put to good use.
We are in the Jewish area and last night we could hear lots of chanting through open apartment windows and today, a school or college nearby is doing some chanting / singing which is very melodious. Jerry and Gill are swapping bike seats and making minor repairsin preparation   for setting off tomorrow. .