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Mallory Park

The Czech List: Friday 22nd August

The Hook of Holland, at eight in the morning, was sunlit, but chilly and showery. We stopped at a petrol station just outside Arnhem, home of the Bridge Too Far, to fuel our bikes and ourselves. I had a cake with pink icing for breakfast, both because I was on holiday and because I knew it would horrify Howard. I was also delighted by a whole range of automotive-themed sweets, including 'Doppel Dekkers', 'Cadillacs', and 'Total Loss'.

We pushed on into Germany, occasionally stopping to put on more layers and complain that it was supposed to be August. The sat nav took us off the motorway for no apparent reason, so we seized the opportunity to lunch at a bakery. Afterwards, since we were making good time, we stuck to the smaller country roads.

It was on one of these, after a particularly enthusiastic overtake, that I found my semi-automatic bike was stuck in one gear. I dropped back so that Howard would notice something was wrong, and we stopped at the side of the road to investigate. This was supposed to be my good bike! The one that wouldn't break down on holiday and slink home in a shipping container! Luckily I'd brought the manual, and located my issue on page 93.

"There," said Howard, the optimist, "it says you may have a problem."

"But I may have a serious problem," I objected.

The bike worked fine when I started it up again, but the trouble recurred later in the day. By a piece of luck, we passed an industrial estate with a Honda garage. I showed the mechanic page 93, he had a quick ride, and reassured me that there was nothing wrong with the clutch. We had coffee at a cafe on the industrial estate, where the owner's large dog showed more interest in where we'd come from and what we'd been doing than anyone else we'd met all day.

Another couple of hours brought us to the Erfurt Hotel Ibis, where the receptionist recommended a nearby Mexican restaurant. So we celebrated the first night of our European road trip with chimichangas and enchiladas, finishing with tequila shots out of frozen lime halves.

Miles: 417.5

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So, your bike was OK in the end without needing repairs, and without acting up again? That's good.

The dog sounds cute! Chances are that he doesn't get to meet many new people — I wouldn't be surprised if that café usually only got the same customers, given its location. You may have been a welcome change for the mutt.

Enchiladas. <3 Ah, I could go for some Mexican right about now.
Cheese and chillies! Can't beat that combo.

The dog was a cutie; he looked sort of like a Rottweiler with a dachshund's head, and he kept trying to follow us around. When I went to the loo his owner called "Marco! Stay here! The lady's going to the toilet!"

The bike misbehaved a couple more times, but turning it off and on again has always worked so far, touch wood.
Mmm! Must be running Windows.

Knock on wood, yes.
You have the official IT Crowd bike? ^_^;

I admit, I'd be a little wary of German Mexican, but then again, if the kitchen were left to me, there'd be unholy creations of sauerkraut, bratwurst, and tortillas smothered in guacamole coming out in short order.

(Why, yes, I am reading Narbonic at the moment, available for a pittance)

A place near me used to do pizzas with jerk chicken and ackee on, but is under new management now, alas.

And my bike does feel like that sometimes!
I dropped back so that Howard would notice something was wrong

Little details like this, you might not realise, are interesting insights to those of us who don't ride :)
Some people have radios/bluetooth setups, but Howard has always resisted the idea for some reason! (I don't need to have all the singing and swearing I do overheard, either.)
Glad the bike problem wasn't as bad as feared, but I must say the idea of cakes with pink icing for breakfast is one of which I whole-heartedly approve!
There was much more breakfast cake to follow. It turned out to be a Thing over there.
I confess that one quite happy memory (of many!) of Slovenia was heading down into Nova Gorice around 9am one morning, and enjoying really good pizza for breakfast. ^_^
Oh yum! Yes, I liked the fusion of East European and Italian cuisine.