Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Cycling Scandinavia: Elbe bike path, hay fever and a hero at Globetrotter

The first few days in a trip are always crucial. All sorts of problems usually come up at the start and can hopefully be resolved. This being the first bike trip after 3 years I was wondering what would come up.

Let's start with the positive surprises: I had worried a lot about my left knee. Ever after the Pyrenees it had made strange noises although my orthopaedist told me not to worry about it.  Then I had banged it badly when I fell into a British canal two weeks ago. I was limping badly and really worried. But strangely enough movement seemed to help. So far no problem whatsoever. But other health problems have turned up. I had never had hay fever in my entire life but last year I had a strange attack. Back in Germany this year I discussed it with my doctor and he prophylactically prescribed  anti-Histamine. Well, I definitely need them! Sneezing and red eyes already started on my way out of Berlin. I don't know what I am allergic against but I would have a hard times without that prescription. And of course, my friends the ticks are back loving me so much that every single one of them wants to bite me....

Flooded Elbe River
Now to the gear department: No bike problems yet. My new tent, a Big Agnes Fly Creek 2 worked fine so far, although I have not had any heavy rain in it yet. Biggest gear failure so far: my Garmin GPS! I had downloaded free bike maps from velomaps for this trip. Everything worked fine when I tested the maps on my Garmin Etrex but after three days on the road my GPS stopped working. Error code "Storage full" and then the device would hang itself up. Even a hard reset would not help. This was a serious problem. Although I had maps for the whole trip a GPS is a great help and I didn't want to be without it. Luckily I still had my smartphone and I googled the problem - which turned out to be quite widespread. The problem was caused by a bug in the firmware and had already be solved in newer firmware versions. And it was usually triggered by the use of OSM and specifically velomaps. But how could I solve this problem on the road? I did not have a data cable and no computer with internet for the update - not to mention that I had no clue how to do that update.

I decided to try my luck with Globetrotter where I had bought the device not expecting much help. But on the contrary: When I called their shop in Hamburg and explained my problem they not only knew immediately what I was talking about but offered to do the update for me! This was much more than I had expected and I happily cycled towards Hamburg. The biggest problem was finding the shop as I had no map and no GPS. But luckily someone had lost an overview city map on the bike path and I finally found my way with it without using precious battery power for my smartphone. The Globetrotter guy turned out to be a real expert and after the successful firmware update my GPS works fine again. A huge thank you to Globetrotter and their customer service.

Flooded Elbe River
So what other problems am I dealing with? Not many! The weather is much better than expected and I even have my first sunburn. Only the wind is blowing the wrong direction.... And my butt is incredibly sore and I have chafed parts of my body that I thought would be unchafable. But this is normal for the beginning of a trip and I will hopefully soon get used to it. Other than that the trip has been great so far. I have cycled from Havelberg to Hamburg on the Elbe bike path which I have already cycled years ago. It is a great route. Very scenic and even stealth camping has turned out to be easy. I am just very happy to be cycling and not paddling as the Elbe is in flood stage like many other rivers in Germany right now after heavy rains in May.


Mattias (Vandringsman) said...

It's really nice that you can get good help on your big trip. I have seen on TV about all the water - I hope the bike roads isn't flooded.

Joffrey said...

Hi Christine,

it's so strange that you are experiencing your first/second ever hayfever seasons, while here in Holland, a lot of people (including me) seem to experience their first season without it, so far. Ofcourse we had this very cold spring in western Europe, which seems to be delaying or changing the hayfever patterns a lot.

Another result of the cold spring, is loads of snow left in the Pyrenees. I had planned to hike the GR11, not so sure now anymnore...

Good luck with your cycling trip, at least northern Europe is experiencing warmer than usual weather now.

Herman Pachulke said...

Schön, Dein Interview auf netzpiloten.de zu lesen!