Day 6

The day's route (46 miles):

And the ride to date (314 miles):

Today's ride took us to just over 300 miles, which should be around halfway - keeping us on-track for 12 days of cycling and two days to spare.

Our hosts very kindly invited us to make up a sandwich and take an apple in case we again had difficulties finding food.

The Space Bar on which my GPS is mounted had been slipping down, so Eric tightened it up for me. They really are very odd designs.

The forecast I checked said it would be dry. Sissy said the forecast she'd heard included some rain. I said I would take my forecast over hers as I'd always found it worth shopping around for weather. (In the event, her supplier delivered it.)

Our destination was again dictated by where we could find to stay. Yesterday, that meant a long day, today it would mean a relatively short one, albeit one heading further south than originally intended. We compared GPS routes again. Eric's said 45 miles and mine said 50, so we decided to follow his.

Our route today included quite a few urban sections, but of the small-town variety.

The scenery was gradually turning more green.

The surface quality was quite variable ...

Germans. Don't ask me what this was about: I have absolutely no idea.

More pretty towns - and yes, this is a different one from the one above. They probably buy them in bulk. German efficiency, you see.

At 18 miles, we decided a small town looked a likely place for a tea-stop, but random cycling didn't work so I accosted a woman on a bicycle. She spoke no English, and my 600 words of German seemed to have reduced itself to around six through disuse, but understanding about one word in ten seemed to work out ok as we were able to follow her directions to a bar.

My German was by this time pretty fluent. 'Svei tee, bitte."

Nutrition is obviously pretty important when cycling reasonable distances, and I was being careful to get my five a day. I'd had an orange for breakfast (in marmalade form) and accompanied my tea with a banana while Eric had a kiwi fruit.

It was actually yoghurt pretending to be ice-cream, something I'd managed to avoid trying so far, but it was pretty tasty.

Then back onto the road. German cycle paths are not in the same league as Dutch ones. Some of them are slightly wider than average pavements, shared with pedestrians but with a decent surface.

Others are, well, pavements - and with a horrible brick surface. Eric found these ok with his single-track vehicle, but they vibrated my trike to death so I opted for the road for those stretches.

I think technically you're supposed to use cycle paths where provided, but my trike is sufficiently ambiguous that generally I don't get told off.

A sign warned of a poor road surface ahead. It was indeed so badly broken up in places that I started to feel a little home-sick.

One stretch of road was being repaired. There was a dusting of fine grit, which combined with the cross-wind to blow it over my arms and t-shirt. There was much brushing off of grit. I think Eric thought I was trying to flap my arms hard enough to take off.

We had a mix of winds. A little headwind, mostly crosswind and some tailwind. One section of tailwind coincided with a smooth surface and we were effortlessly breezing along at 18mph.

Things continued getting greener.

As it was a relatively easy day, I suggested to Eric that we simply find somewhere to pull over to picnic on our rolls rather than stop somewhere for lunch. He agreed, and a suitable layby appeared. It looked like it would have picnic benches, but didn't. I'd brought along a comfy chair, Eric had to stand.

Thoiugh Eric got the last laugh when my chair didn't want to pull away afterwards and required ADAC assistance from him. He naturally got the camera out before providing said assistance.

The GPS routes are sometimes good, sometimes bad and have occasional flashes of genius. This one was of the latter. The blurriness is from the 17mph we were able to maintain down here.

My cleats were squeaking on the pedals, so I wanted to find a cycle shop to get some lube. We spotted one, bought a very portable bottle of lube and borrowed a track-pump to top up our tyres. I almost made it out of the shop having spent only €4.

Almost. There on the counter was a display model of the next generation of rear dynamo light to the one I have. This one is a combined rear light and brake-light. There are sensors inside it to detect when you are braking, and it lights automatically.

Now, I rarely use my dynamo lights. They are really there as backup, just in case I run out of battery power for my Dinottes. But this is a gadget. So ...

More greenery followed.

And scenic villages.

The rain had been lurking behind us for much of the day, and finally caught up with us (it was probably the fitting of the brake-light that gave it the chance). But as rain goes, it was very friendly: a pretty light shower in the last 5-6 miles with a tailwind helping us along.

And pretty soon we were at the hotel, where a very friendly receptionist welcomed us, said it was ok to lock the bikes under cover directly outside reception and told us there was a place to eat on the corner.

We again decided to check what time it closed. We cycled back to the corner, I nipped in and asked the woman behind the counter what time they closed. It's possible that my fluent German may have involved a certain amount of mime.

We ate schnitzels at the corner cafe, then found a hotel for the following night. Amazingly, after our previous experience of getting a lot of Neins due to the holiday weekend, the first place I tried had two rooms.

So that left us with half the journey completed, and a roof over our heads the following night. Life was good.

On to day 7