Monday 10.8.2015 Contries:0 514km Total: 514km
Due to the fact that it took a lot longer than expected to mount our last minute order of tires I haven't had time to pack when it get off my last night shift at 7AM.
I'm pretty much throwing my things into the panniers so I can get going and meet up with the bear around 9.
We discuss along the way what we brought on the trip and when comparing notes I realize that I forgot my IDP.
No major harm done since Mrs Bear can bring it along when we meet up with her in Pristina.
Apart from that it actually seems like I got everything I need.
The ride is pretty uneventful and I'm keeping myself vertical by consuming rather unhealthy amounts of coffee and energy drinks.
I obviously should have done a more careful checkup on the bike sooner but as it is I didn't notice until I put the rear wheel back on the bike yesterday that there's no chance the rear brake pads are going to last the entire trip.
So we do a quick stop at Triumph Malmö but since no one seems to keep anything in stock these days we leave with unfinished business.
We arrive in the docks of Malmö in good order and take a stroll in the are that can boast of a beautiful view of the Öresundsbridge and the architecturally avant garde building Turning Torso.
After dinner and beer in the hotel restaurant that's definitely all she wrote for me, it's time to hit the sack.
Obligatory "before" photo.
The gateway to the world, Öresund bridge
Tuesday 11.8.2015 Countries:2 456km Total: 970km
The day I get to see my favourite sign "Last exit in Sweden". I don't know how you can feel so affectionate towards a yellow tin sign but I get all fuzzy inside every time I see it.
We march along towards the Rödby ferry, the kilometres quickly disappear with first a 130kph speed limit through most of Denmark and no speed limit at all through most of Germany.
Even if it wasn't for the gravelthreaded tires (Heidenau K60 and Mitas E07) we would probably still have settled for a marching speed of 140kph, anything above that and you can almost hear the slurping in the petrol tank.
We arrive and Hamburg far to early considering that were not due to load the bikes onto the train until 8.30PM so it was just as well that we had already decided to pass some time at the Louis bike shop and get the brake pads for my bike.
That really turned out to be stroke of luck because somewhere in Hamburg the bear start to get problems with his front brake, he can barely touch it before the ABS kicks in.
It turns out that he lost one of the bolts for one of the brakes which means it can pivot on the remaining bolt.
Not only could they provide a suitable bolt, the also lent us the tools to do the job so it was a pretty easy fix!
We could also pass a lot of time in this biker-kindergarten to shorten the wait for the train.
We still arrive pretty early at Altona but unlike last time we rode the the Autozug we are allowed to check in and put the bikes up front right away which means that we have time to grab a bit to eat and do some shopping until loading.
The loading of the bikes really is a wonder of German efficiency, the fastening straps are attached to the bikes before we're even on the train and they strapping down the bike pretty much before you're even off the thing.
Just like last time we rode we shared or coupé with an elderly pair but this time they weren't a couple. It was obvious that this wasn't the first time on the Autozug for them either since they were ready to turn out the light before we had even made our beds or brushed our teeth.
We were taken a bit by surprise since we had after all plundered half of Lidl of cookies, fizzy drinks and candy we had meant to eat on the train.
Well, change of plans, make bed, brush teeth and lights out. Ordning muss sein!
Like always I have trouble sleeping, the train moves about way to much. I hate ferries for the same reason and this was very much the same phenomenon.
Last time I checked the clock it was 1AM and what little sleep I manage to get is chopped up into small parts since I often wake up in a panic thrown about like a rag doll in my bunk.
DB say the train rides at speeds up to 160kph so you can feel every curviture of the tracks.
Louis Megashop, Hamburg
Repairs in progress
Waiting for the Autozug
It feels pretty strange riding through a mall to get on the train
No wonder the loaders won't permit anyone to ride on without their helmet
Best to let sleeping bears lie
Wednesday 12.8.2015 Countries:4 450km Total:1420km
Reveille is at 6AM so we start to pack up our gear and get ready to disembark.
One of our more experienced travelling companions tells us not to hurry because the train will stop at Munich central station first for ten minutes until it continues to our stop which is Munich Ost.
Upon arrival we need to walk a bit and wait for the vehicle carriages to come.
We disembark in good order and reload our gear so we can get on our way.
A couple of hours into our ride in the middle of Sonneberg forest the lack of sleep catches up with me and hits me full force.
The fact that I skipped sleep after finishing my graveyard shift and got very little sleep on the train has made me so tired I get to the point where I don't really care any more if I crash the bike as long as I get to shut my eyes for just a couple of seconds before the bang.
The rhythm and riding line is completely off so even the bear can clearly see that there's obviously something amiss, we stop at a rest stop in the woods and I explain to the bear that I seriously doubt that there are any legal substances that will keep me upright through this whole day.
He suggest that I stroll up into the woods and find a clearing where I can rest up for a half an hour and I'm quick to take him up on the offer.
The rest was obviously desperately needed since I can usually only sleep under absolutely optimal conditions and wake by the sound of a pin dropping but this time I don't even notice that he walks up on me so he snoozes himself for another half hour before waking me.
I feel like a new man, I'm enjoying myself again and instead of suffering through every rotation of the wheels it's fun to ride once more.
We press on towards Grossglockner and just before riding on to the pass we stop to eat lunch at Wasserfall, the same place we stayed the last time we where here.
We were here really late the last time so I got to be darker than a sack of coal before we had ridden through the pass so we where pretty stoked to get to ride it again in daylight.
Riding over the pass I can see that last time had it's clear advantages with the almost complete lack of traffic which is definitively not the case this time around.
Still, it was great ride.
We arrive late in Trieste so unfortunately we don't really have time to explore this city at all. We just grab a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant before hitting the sack.
Sonnenberg. I wish I could take credit for the photo of the creek but that gem is Bears handywork.
The highest point of Großglockner, Edelweißspitze (aka Bikers Point)