Tuesday 4th August
Straubing to Passau: 5 hours 10 minutes, 90km
“Waking up late, I strolled into town, to find every second person in leather pants and drindl dresses. It could only mean one thing. I followed the swarms of people as they headed down the street. One could sense that they were getting closer to their mysterious destination, as the group I had been following was now ten times the size and ever-growing with like-minded and like-clad people filtering in from every side street. We eventually arrived as expected at a beer festival. What was unexpected (for me at least) was the sheer size of the thing. Unfortunately I could not stay too long, as I had to get to Passau by evening and it was already late.
It would be a tough day on the body and bike. I was feeling quite tired to start with and was not really in the mood for any kind of bike problems. 5km in I started hearing rattling on the front wheel. I could not identify the problem but taking the front wheel off and putting it on again, seemed to rectify it. I got going again only to find I had put the front wheel on with the magnetic odometer sensor on the wrong side. This took two minutes to change but it was just frustrating to keep stopping under the hot sun. Another 5km later and the pain in my knee from yesterday kicked in. Again I stopped, this time to raise the seat. The next 2 km were agonising but then suddenly, as if by magic the pain subsided to an almost unnoticeable twinge.
Along the way I passed a couple of cycle tourists, who I heard speaking English and decided to ride with them for a bit. Their names were Ben and Francesca, and they were cycling to Croatia, where they would take the ferry across to Brindisi, Italy where Francesca’s parents live. Ben had the same bicycle as me (black surly long haul trucker) but he had removed all the stickers and had many home-made adjustments. It was really great to ride with the two of them and the conversation took my mind off the heat, my knee and any rattling components.
Coming into Passau, I hit a little bump in the road and my rear mud guard started scraping my back tyre, making a rattling sound that even the most thrilling conversation could not keep me from ignoring. I said farewell to Ben and Francesca and pushed my bike painfully over the cobblestone streets of Passau. I was meeting up with Anna (my couch surfing host) on one of the bridges and was already late. I noticed that the bolt holding up one side of the back rack and mudguard was missing but would have to survey the problem in more detail later.
Dumping my stuff at the flat, I was treated to a cup of coffee before we went out to an Irish Pub in town. Anna is a very friendly girl with a passion for the outdoors. Hailing from the black forest in south-west Germany, she loves hiking and kayaking.”