Well here we are in Basel, day 2 of our cycling the line journey across the WW1 trenches. We both had an eventful day yesterday…even before we left the UK. I had an early start, leaving the house at 6.30am, bike fully loaded, paniers on back pack on..lets go! The cycle ride to the train station for me is about 6 miles. In that time I nearly fell off three times – the bike is quite unstable with full paniers on – and the panier rack broke. I mean fell off. So I had to do some emergency repairs by the roadside which didnt really do the job, my panier pack fell off the back every half mile or so…A great start seeing as I had 550 miles in front of me. Getting into london I had to get a cab to St. Pancras because there was no way I was going to ride across london with a broken panier. Black cabs are the best vehicles in the world, swallowing the bike and paniers easily. I did get a few odd looks though: ‘why is that guy with a bike taking a cab?’
Getting to St Pancras I then had to get our tickets, the ticket machine chewed up the tickets which meant a 45 min queue to get them reprinted (nice).
In the meantime, Steve texted me to say he was running late – so $*£*$ had stolen his rucksack off the back of his bike (well he does live in Slough) And gone are is ipod, camera, and other stuff…Needless to say when he didn finally get in the station he was not a happy bunny.
The Eurostar is a fabulous piece of kit..very smooth, it was my first time on it and I was impressed. Getting into Paris Nord bang on time we then set about to find our bikes (they were stored else where on the train). After asking a couple of Frenchies where to go and not understanding a word they said we finally found our bikes, at the other end of the station about 20 mins walk! Carrying paniers this is not funny. Some emergency repairs to my paniers and rack and we were all set to find Gare d’lest. We had a 3 hour wait for a next train so grabbed a bit of lunch 7Euros for a sandwich and beer!! And it wasnt even a pint. Whilst we were sipping, some old French lady came up to us and took all our paper wrapping from the sandwhich and then just walked off. Very random.
The train to Basel was again very cool – a proper train. Fast and comfy, with the coolest reading lights I have every seen! We got into Basel about 9pm found the hotel and also found that we had a double bed. Nice. We are good mates, but not that good! After a quick fight, Steve lost and slept on the floor. He paid be back by snoring like a mo-fo all night though…
So now it is morning, we are off to Fellering today – about 40 miles. We couldn’t get a hotel in Thann which was our intended stop on day one so we are doing a few extra miles…oh joy! My zip on the top panier is completely buggered and is flapping in the breeze…which is nice.
Our hotel tonight is a very small local place, I doubt they will have internet, so if there is no update that is the reason…
Cycling the Line is finally happening….let the pedalling begin!