When we parked the Hymer on a little side road next to a field at the outskirts of Göttingen, took the bikes off the rear bike rack and went for a ride, I realised that this is not just a road trip. This is going to be our life for the next six months. The calming waves of contentment flooded my brain.
Even though I finished work over a month ago and left Australia almost four weeks ago, it feels like we are really only starting our trip. We are on the road now! We are driving right through the middle of Germany on our way to Northern France and St Quentin! Alberto is set to ride the Paris – Roubaix Challenge this Sunday coming. We have three more days – plenty of time – to get to the start line less than 600km away. The only problem still to solve is the Roubaix bike.
Before we left Göttingen this afternoon, we went for a little walk through the old town centre and checked two bike shops for suitable bikes but second hand road bikes are hard to find in Germany. Like Mario had already explained and the guy in Oelle’s bike shop confirmed today, people keep their bikes and throw them out when they are completely ruined. On rare occasions they get second hand bikes as trade-ins for a new bike but those bikes are usually city cruisers, not road bikes. I keep my fingers crossed that a miracle will happen somehow between now and Sunday morning and a nice steel-framed downtube-shifted Roubaix bike will turn up because racing cobbles on the new Canyon Ultimate will be like “taking the chainsaw to it” (Kai’s words).
So we liked Göttingen, especially cycling around there. Fields dominate the landscape. Spring clean villages, all in Easter attire with colourful eggs hanging from many bushes, sprinkle the valleys between the gently rolling hills. Higher peaks, covered with still winter bare trees, stick out here and there. Right behind the town of Göttingen is the Stadtwald and that’s were Alberto headed with his unfailing seventh sense for climbs. We explored a little of the area but it was past seven in the evening so we had to keep the ride short. With time up our sleeves, we decided to go for another ride in the morning before continuing our trip into the setting sun.