32 °C of savage heat and I’m not even in France yet. Accordingly, today’s trip wasn’t done exclusively by bike. I wish so! Instead, I had to spend three hours in the S75 bus from Münster to Bocholt, where they keep the one rack that seems suitable for my bike.
My bike’s a beautiful oldtimer (my other one, too). I remember how Nelson used to refer to his Bergamont as his „daughter“ – which may have led to some questionable conflicts, he also used to claim occasionally, at the end of a rough day, that his saddle had raped him –; my bikes, judging from their age, could be my parents. Most of the time, “old is always better” works pretty well for me, only to repair or expand those things can be a bit of a toil.
A mellifluous stench of sweat greeted me inside the bus, and when I sat down, the cushions seemed conspicuously dank to me. The only worse thing was to leave the bus again, it felt like running against a wall of butter and tasted likewise. Close to the River Aa, the air was more pleasant, if I may be allowed to overlook the flies in my mouth.
Bocholt, like Münster, is a bike city. There are bikes everywhere; of course students are using them, but likewise shoppers, commuters, officials, CEOs, people walking out their dogs … there are bikes everywhere; likewise bike lanes, designated routes, extra space in front of bike-only traffic lights, bike-buses, Radstationen – bike parking decks –, if you throw a stone in any random direction you’ll hit a bike workshop’s window. There are bikes everywhere, and the capital of this country is Biketown.
No, really, that’s the shop’s name. Got my rack, and the special clamps to attach it to my bike, which lacks the crucial screwhole with which to fix the rack usually.
Münster was worse than Bocholt, even though it was already evening when I returned. The dreaded heat didn’t leave me there and didn’t leave me at home either, only now, past midnight, it’s slowly ceding. Right now, 00:45!, it’s precisely 24 hours until my bus to Paris departs. Tomorrow I’ll have to race to the local hardware shop here in Borghorst as soon as they open, the geniuses in Bocholt gave me the wrong clamps, through which the rack screws don’t fit by a fraction of a millimetre. Either the stuff is going to work or I’ll have to make the Spaniards carry all my stuff (including, but not limited to the tent. I hope they’ve found hosts everywhere, until I arrive they would have to sleep under the stars). So far I’m carefully optimistic. I’ll better be, for there will be no deus ex machina: My bike guru, uncle Gerrit, has left for his long-overdue holiday just today – to Bali (he’s not going by bike). I’ll have to do that rack fix and, oh well, pack all my stuff, since it’s still 24-ish hours till departure and packing earlier is – I’ve tried – physically impossible for me. How much I’d like to write that my bags are completely empty so far, alas; that’s not entirely true: They still contain some debris from last year’s trip.