Click here to see my progress so far: Auntie Helen’s Berlin To London ride
My cycle ride is featuring on the Help For Heroes website at the moment: Berlin to London on a recumbent trike
All sponsorship greatly appreciated! The link to my sponsor page is here: Auntie Helen’s sponsorship page
Friday 4 May 2012
I slept really well last night, putting out the light at 9:30pm as I was so tired! Consequently I woke up at 5:30am as that was eight hours’ sleep but listened to the BBC World Service for an hour before getting up and ready for breakfast.
Breakfast in the Hotel Germania was really good as well – loads of choice and some hot bacon.
After breakfast I packed up everything again and fetched my trike which had spent the night outside on a little terrace with a balcony above it. I had actually used the lock to fix it to some metal columns – only my second use of the lock.
When time came to settle my bill I was amazed that it was only 36 Euro. This was by far the nicest hotel in terms of facilities and comfort (and excellent WiFi) but it was one of the cheapest. It is officially four star but I thought it looked in need of renovation; that doesn’t bother me, everything was clean enough, but I know some picky hotel guests might not like that the paintwork was a bit tired. Anyway, full marks to the Hotel Germania from me.
As the forecast was cooler for today I set off with my windproof jacket on and moved the waterproofs from their position under the seat to in a bag on the back of the rack – easier to get to if there was a downpour.
Although I had thought that most of today’s route would be downhill, of course this was not the case. It was a climb up to Göttingerode, then Oker where I joined the main road, the B498. This wasn’t too bad as it was going through towns and the German drivers are fairly nice to random recumbent tricyclists.
I didn’t go into the centre of Goslar but skirted round it on the main road. Although I gather it’s a nice place, I’d only done ten miles so it was too early to stop. I carried on to Astfeld and Langelsheim on quiet roads and then had to join the main road.
The thing about this bit of Germany is that to get between some places you have to either take the main road or do a completely ridiculous fiddly route with lots of off-road. The B82 looked pretty busy but I decided to join it and fortunately it had a run-off area at the side which was plenty wide enough for my trike and which, unlike UK road equivalents, was clearly swept as it wasn’t full of debris and glass. Still, it was rather like cycling along the A120 to Harwich which isn’t something I generally do for laughs. At least there were some downhills now but it still felt overall like I was going uphill a lot and my average speed was hovering between 7.5 and 8mph.
At Hahausen I turned off the B82 to the B248. Rather like with English roads, the more digits on the road number, the less traffic it seems to have. The B248 was an improvement and even had a very short stretch of cycle path. It still seemed to be going uphill though!
I was deviating quite a lot from the book’s route here. The book sends you through little villages but I was heading between larger towns and using the main roads. Thus I visited Seesen (which seemed a very pleasant place) but the most exciting thing about Seesen was that on the way in I found a bakery/café.
The choice was huge:
And in the end I plumped for:
When I came out of the bakery the skies looked a bit grey and it was actually slightly chilly (officially the temperature was 17 degrees but there was a bit of a wind blowing). I thought I might rather appreciate a pair of socks on (yes, with sandals, I know that’s appalling but now I’m 40 I think I can get away with it) but the socks were all buried at the bottom of my clothing pannier and I didn’t want to empty that out everywhere with an audience of bakery-visiting Germans so I just headed off.
Of course, within two minutes the skies were blue again, the sun was shining and I was climbing another mountain so was now really hot! I went to Engelade and then eventually you cross under the Autobahn the A7 and join the B64. I wondered if this would be a busy road – it wasn’t too bad and, again, had a wide run-off strip at the edge which I rode along.
Almost immediately we climbed a huge hill which was actually a hairpin shape to help traffic. It was two lanes wide on the climbing side so there were no problems with traffic passing me. When we finally got to the top (which felt like forever – and probably was at 4mph – but was about 2 miles) I had the corresponding downhill and what fun that was! Wheeeeeee, 35mph with giant trucks passing and giving me a boost of speed from their draught. I enjoyed that bit, and then the road stayed relatively flat for a few more miles and I kept up a very respectable 18mph, increasing to about 25mph whenever a lorry passed and I got sucked into its wake. The trike always feels safe and stable, you just find yourself speeding up rather coolly!
I whizzed through Dannhausen and then Seboldshausen. Then the run-off lane disappeared and so it was slightly less pleasant on the B64 although I still felt quite safe.
I arrived at Bad Gandersheim very quickly because I had enjoyed a prolonged downhill. As it was nearly one o’clock I decided to stop for lunch – once again in the cobbled market square I found an italian restaurant and had a pizza.
After I had finished my pizza I took a quick look through the town (it was rather pretty) and then headed off on my own little route to Bentierode (uphill). Once I crested the hill I looked back on a rather different scene that the last few days – the huge hills of the Harz have segued into rolling hills with a rather Suffolk-esque feel.
From Bentierode I took a road that crossed several contour lines on the map – and this didn’t lie! I took forever to climb over this little mountain, often doing 2.5mph or less. But when I got to the top the downhill stretch was really fast and the corners were quite exciting. My disk brakes were getting quite smelly by the time I got to the bottom (they are clearly finding it harder work with all the luggage on the trike).
At this point I joined the official cycle route again – the book suggested it was decent surfaces. Almost straight away I was on some gravel, although this was OK.
It was a good thing I was paying attention to what I was doing, however, as it turned out the route was still under construction. I just noticed a huge step down (about 20cm) before rolling over it – which might have done serious damage to Alfie!
I lifted Alfie down and you can see here the height of the concrete.
There were also piles of gravel in the way, plus barriers, so I had to do some comedy off-roading again. This having joined the official track only a half mile before. I am clearly generally making the right decisions in going off-route for most of this!
Anyway, I arrived in Einbeck, hurrah, and cycled past lots of brewery stuff. I got into the centre which was beautiful – lots of lovely old buildings. One of them, the Hotel Goldener Löwe, was my choice for tonight – but they had no room! They recommended I tried the Einbecker Hof up the road – but they had no room! I went to the Tourist Information Centre and they suggested a hotel called Hasenjäger; they phoned up and discovered they did have a room although it would be 68 Euros which is by far the most expensive. As it seemed my only option, I said yes.
I found it on my Garmin – it was a mile and a half away. Oh well, I have a bike and could manage a bit more. I hadn’t realised, however, that this mile and a half was uphill. And what a hill! Yes, another cracker of a hill that I crawled up. I stopped halfway at a bakery to buy a chocolate sponge thingy, then carried on.
The view from the top was wonderful though!
The hotel was pleasant enough although my room was the smallest so far and didn’t have any obvious things to make it worth 68€ when yesterday’s hotel, which had a room was twice the size, was 36€. Clearly Einbeck is an expensive place but I already knew there weren’t a lot of other towns around here and I was pooped anyway. However I might do a bit more planning tonight for tomorrow’s hotel, perhaps pre-booking if I can.
I got a cup of tea and ate my cake. Originally the woman had tried to give me a cake twice this size, but I asked her to cut it in half. I haven’t even managed to eat all of this size slice!
Statistics for today:
Distance travelled: 44.51 miles
Moving time: 5 hours 14 minutes 29 seconds
Maximum speed: 33.2 mph
Average speed: 8.5 mph
Average heart rate: 119
Maximum heart rate: 160
Calorie burn: 2,207 calories