On the way home now
The Full German
Why we should keep riding and living life
Saw thing couple and noticed that he is wearing almost the same clothes as she is. It made we think that I want to remain on a bike, on the road and get as much out of life while we can. Made a mental note to myself no baby blue jumpers ever or else I shoot myself.
Biker Shopaholics Dream
At breakfast the next morning, I was talking to a German man that rides a 1200GS. We were discussing gear and I mentioned Hein Gerike. He seems surprised that, being Irish, I knew of them. Just to yank his chain a little, I said "Oh, do you have Hein Gerike in Germany also". He looks a bit perplexed with that question. He then said that Hamburg as a big Hein Gerike store.
One of the replies here suggested that I buy a new pair of boots rather than struggling all the way home with the leaky Daniese's. After breakfast, I looked up the local Hein Gerike store and plugged it into the GPS. I easily just drove over to the store. Without the GPS, there is little likelyhood that I would have been able to do that so easily.
When I got there, I was in for a bike of a shock. There was five or six enormous gear shops, all selling jackets, trousers, boots, gloves, the lot. Even luggage. All on the same street or just around the corner from each other.
This next image is a bike with the initials E M W. it is in the Hein Gerike shop.
My boots were about ten years old and my jacket is twenty years old. The boots have to be replaced anyway so I bought new boots and a new jacket. Felt guilty buying a new jacket because I have the old one so long and have done so many trips with it.
The hassle now was how to get the old stuff back to Ireland. I had considered flinging the boots from the ferry into the sea but thought that might not be the best idea. Wen I told the German lady in Hein Gerike that I was wondering how to get them back, she offered to post them to Ireland, free of charge. I left the shop with my old boots and old jacket behind me, wondering whether I will see them again.
I then went and had a bratwurst and coffee before I hit the road for Antwerp, 550 KMs to go. The shop the pics below are taken at is named www.louis.ie
and it is a very popular shop in Hamburg. All day long, guys were coming and going on bikes. If you ever get to Hamburg, call into Louis shop and have a bratwurst. The guy selling the sausages was telling me that on a Saturday morning there is often two hundred bikes hanging around.
You can see my new jacket on the table on the right.
One of the sales assistants I was talking to told me that they sell Bug Spray for wealthy adventure bike riders. You spray it on your gear and it contains small bugs that make your bike and gear look authentic. Apparently it is for the city biker that does not get away from the desk but likes to be part of the Charley Boorman thing. There was a few lads knocking around Hamburg that morning that looked like they did more posing at the hot dog stand than actually riding their bikes.
Better than a 'wing anyway
I did about 25K miles on one of these about ten years ago. They are a great bike. In 2006, I rode from France to Poland on one of these, it was almost 1000 miles. If I had kept the paper work, I could have submitted it to the IBA
Another long haul into the evening
I had to be in Antwerp to meet friends later that evening but as usual I left it very late leaving Hamburg. It was almost 4 pm when I got on the road. I ended up riding from 4pm to almost 10 pm, 550KMs. It was a long ride into the evening but I have to say, it is a great feeling to be tearing across Europe on a Friday evening, on your bike looking forward to a few beers and a Pizza with friends.
Nearly dropping the bike
I try to have the habit of killing the engine before releasing the clutch and then releasing the brake when i am stopped, eg getting Petrol. Of course the first thing to do is put it in neutral. On one occasion, I released the clutch first and the bike jumped forwards and while I did not drop it, a little bit of wee came out from the fright I got.
Second last day. I rode from Antwerp to Calais where I took the ferry back to England. I thought the French government has cleared the migrants village but there is still a lot of people living there. I was able to see it from the highway and it looked like human misery. I felt grateful for the life we have in Ireland. I am not sure whether it is appropriate or not to share the photos of the migrants. I do not want to sensationalise other human beings misery. I am simply showing what I saw. I saw camps. I saw people walking around in boredom. I saw miles of razor wire. I saw people kicking football on sand. I saw rubbish on the roads. I saw something that looked broken.
Notice the razor wire in the next pic, plenty of that in Calais.
When I got to the ferry, these four Belgian guys were on their 50cc Hondas. The bikes have three litre fuel tanks and the get about 100KMs from a tank. They are able to ride about 100KM's per day and were on a trip doing 700 KMs. They were wearing the same cloths, runners and oilskins, and hoodies with Amigo Pilots written on their backs.
They asked me how long my trip was and I said about 4,500KMs. That provoked some comments but I mentioned back that 700 KMs on their machines is probably comparable. That is seven days riding for them.
Apparently when I pulled up one of them made some passing comment that I looked like I never ride the bike. They asked me how far I had come, when I told them almost 4.5K, they laughed and chastised the guy who was pre-judging my new bike and shiny new Hein Gerike jacket.
One thing I noticed is that they were joking and laughing the entire time. I enjoy travelling by bike alone, being alone means you can stop or go, ride quick or slow, get up early or late, get fuel, take toilet breaks anytime without having to apologise to your mate. However, I saw these guys having fun and it did make me think.
Ferry vs Chunnel - no brainer
The ferry back to england was quite pleasant, I booked the lounge, which was about €20 more on the ticket. For that, you get free tea / coffee / beer / coke etc and some snacks. Seems not bad value rather than hanging around with the screaming kids.
The Ferry was comfortable, pleasant and I felt rested and ready for the final spin of day nine from Dover to up my sister in Maidstone.
That is almost the end of my trip, next day I head for home.