Route details: Tubingen – Ulm – Munich
Distance: 237km (by bike 85km)
Duration: 5 days (actual riding: 1 day)
Accommodation: Warmshower hosts/friends (3 nights); camping (1 night)
Expenditure: €228 including the new bike and bus ticket
Everything happens for a reason. When I was younger, I did not think it is true, and always tried to reverse some of the destiny I did not want to face. However, most of the time, it leads to worst scenarios like the movie “Butterfly Effect”.
On the way from Tubingen to Ulm, the back wheel axle of my bike was worn out, making the back wheel started to wobble and kept hitting the frame creating terrible sound especially making every climbing up a painful push. During my lunch break, it took me around an hour to try fixing the axle, it had problems before but I managed to fix it quite a number of times to make it stable, but this time it was not working well. Without better options, I got to find a bike shop to repair it. Therefore I rode 10 more kilometers to Laichingen where there is a bike shop (I use the apps Maps.me to locate it, very useful apps for touring cyclist). That shop is not professional at all, they just changed another axle and asked me to pay 15 euros. I trusted them that it was fixed, and carried on. It was fine when I rode on flat ground, but again the problem revealed once I started ascending a slope. It was only 2km away Laichingen and I decided to head back to the bike shop. Probably I was extremely exhausted among all the frustration, when I was going down gentle slope looking at my cellphone, trying to figure out the directions, BANG!! I HIT A CAR! It was not a huge impact, I did fall down and scratch my elbow, and my brain was SHOCKED for sure. I checked my bike, there was more things going wrong that it was difficult to steer the wheel. Walked back to the bike shop, the staffs pointed out the front fork was bent, and suggested me to buy another bike because a bending fork cannot be fixed, plus all the problem of the back wheel, I should consider replacing my bike. However, I could not afford those 1000€ new bikes, so I had to find another second hand one to carry on my journey.
Thanks to one of the staff who drove me and my bike to Ulm where I would have a better chance to find a second hand bike. Once I arrived Ulm, it was getting dark. My extremely exhausted body and mind really wanted to rest and left everything for tomorrow. I am sure things will show its way after all the turmoil.
The next day, I searched a few bike shops in Ulm, but I had no luck finding a suitable one. There were no much choice left, I bought a bus ticket and went to Munich where I could have more options.
Upon arrival in Munich, I found a shop called “Second Hand Sport”, the mechanic Alex from Romania helped me pulling the fork back to its place which he said it should work. It was amazing to see how 2 persons pulling from opposite directions from the bike can bend the fork back! Unfortunately they had to close the shop because their Germans boss did not like to work extra hours, he asked me to come back next Monday.
On Saturday my Warmshowers host Daniel and I cycled in the city visiting the English garden and Nymphenburg castle, the whole day we covered more than 30km and my bike was fine, of course the rubbing sounds still existed whenever I climb a little slope. We had amazing time chatting and exchanging touring stories, his South America bike trip really blew me away, hopefully one day I will land on that joyful continent and mingle with the Latino locals.
On Sunday I rode to Dachau to visit the Concentration Camp Memorial Site, a nice 25km ride from Munich. It was really heartbreaking to visit the actual site of that brutal history, I could hardly digest all the facts that the Nazi had done to the others, sending people to undergo medical experiment?? Are you serious? Shame to Josef Mengele’s inhuman “medical test”, he should not be called Doctor! People named him “Angel of Death”, in my opinion calling him “Angel” was a bit too kind to him!
Not to say the forcing people to “Gas chamber” was unimaginable, people that were forced to end their lives like that must be desperate and hopeless… The whole exhibition was full of people , hopefully we could all learn from this history and will never do the similar massacre nor declare any wars again. However, throughout the last few decades, it seemed human beings still revealed their cruel sides, look at Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; Tribal Massacre in Rwanda; and now the civil war in Syria…when are we going to stop killing each others?
On the way back to Munich those sad images were still in my head, I rode just a little bit outside Dachau, a CRACK sound came out from my bike and I could not pedal forwards. I thought it was the axle again, but this time the frame connecting the pedal and the cassette was totally broken!!! Well, there is no more hope to get it repaired. I need to replace this bike in order to continue my journey!!
All the accidents were signs to tell me it is time to replace this bike with a better one. And I was glad that it happened before I go back to the bike shop on Monday; I was glad that I did not fall down; I was glad that I am very hopeful of getting a new bike soon!!
I was not sad, I felt relieved. It is like BREAKING up with my partner that I tried every way to fix the problems but when it got to a point that nothing could be fixed, it is time to say farewell.
Goodbye Ronald (I once named it), I will carry some of your pieces to my next bike and carry on the journey…..
There were no other options than taking a train from Dachau to Munich and walking a few kilometers back to Daniel’s place. After a resting night, my only hope was to seek help from “Second Hands Sport” and see what they could do for me.
The repairing workshop is opened even though the main shop is closed on Monday. I was so lucky that Alex really tried his best to help me sort out a good frame and all the possible best gears found at his place, and did not charge me anything for putting them together! Alex and his colleagues are very professional and patient, it took them around 5 hours to give birth to my NEW BIKE Drogo, which means Love in Romanian, as later I found out that it means The Way in Polish language! Wonderful!
Despite all that happened in the last few days, I was very grateful of all the people that helped me going through the hard times, your kindness will always be reminded!
Bike broken was not a good sign, but it was a marking for me to start a NEW chapter of my epic journey. I wish Drogo and I will go all the way back to Hongkong, but God knows what is going to happen ahead of us, we just enjoy every single day that we have such opportunity to travel the world!
The next month will be a hectic month cycling through a few Central European countries!!