Tag Archives: Koge

02 June 2015 – spoke trauma and short leg to Vordingborg

Okay, today was a bit crap, until the evening bit anyway. It started off alright, with no sign of rain, and a successful fix of the puncture in my front tyre, then I headed into town for 09.00 to see about getting my broken spoke fixed; tip of iceberg springs to mind.

Morning at Koge campsite - dry at the moment

Morning at Koge campsite – dry at the moment

Unfortunately I discovered the bike shop I’d pinpointed last night doesn’t open until 10.00, so in a fit efficiency I whizzed back to the campsite and packed up my stuff, so I could get straight on the road after maintenance was completed.

I liked this big Oak Tree

I liked this big Oak Tree

About 6 kilometres later I was back at the bike shop and checked-in Smaug, or at least his wheels, for a bit of TLC. The bike shop owner recommended a local cafe whilst he performed an initial diagnosis, so I headed there for my own bit of maintenance.

Smaug undergoing maintenance, so I thought I would too

Smaug undergoing maintenance, so I thought I would too

The cafe did a very good Danish pastry and hot chocolate, and feeling things were moving in the right direction I ambled back to Garant Cykler to get on the road. It started to rain; not to worry I thought, it’ll only be a shower, the forecast said overcast but dry all afternoon. Hah!

Garant Cykler - great bike shop in Koge

Garant Cykler – great bike shop in Koge

The bike shop didn’t have the greatest news on Smaug’s wellbeing. Unfortunately the spoke issue was not contained to just one spoke. A few days ago the chain had slipped off the top rear cog, and had slid down in between the rear cassette and spokes. I’d extracted it but unbeknownst to me at the time, it had chewed up several of the spokes on the drive side. This meant they were also in danger of snapping and needed replacing. You can’t see this sort of damage unless you remove the rear cassette, which I don’t have the tool for. Thankfully the owner is also a proficient wheel builder, and did a great job of replacing the dodgy spokes and truing the wheel, despite being stacked up with other work. It took him quite a long time and one broken set of clippers to remove the compromised spokes, which due to being chewed up didn’t fit back through the spoke holes very well; tricky. Whilst he was doing this I mended the punctured inner tube I’d kept, for future use.

If you’re familiar with my Bike around Britain tour in 2013 you’ll perhaps know I had a lot of trouble with my back wheel and broken spokes then. It seems to be a feature of cycle touring, with so much weight on the bike, however hand-built wheel help with this, and I’d hoped having 26 inch wheels, which are stronger than their larger counterparts, would also assist in preventing issues. So I had a feeling of ‘oh no, not again’ building, with not a small amount of dread. I was therefore extremely happy when the owner presented me with the fixed wheel to put back on Smaug, and we then adjusted the gears to stop the chain slipping off again; I reckon  the shifters got moved slightly out of alignment during the plane flight to Nordkapp, as I’d noticed a few things knocked out of kilter and tried to move them back into place.

Smaug fixed - thanks Garant Cykler

Smaug fixed – thanks Garant Cykler

I was also going to pick up a couple of new inner tubes, just in case, however it appears Schrader valves are pretty rare in Denmark, where they go for Presta more. I’ll just have to fix any punctures I get before buying some new ones in Germany. I’ve still got one spare, even after another one blew up in the bike shop due to a weak spot. I bought up a couple of new tyre levers after breaking one this morning; getting Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on and off is hard work, and I’m not the best bike mechanic you’ve ever met, very amateur really.

Just realised my pump will fit either Schrader or Presta valves; reversible hose. So I could get Presta valve inner tubes.

If you’re cycle touring and pass through Koge, I’d recommend Garant Cykler if you need anything fixing or tweaking; good skills and really helpful. I really appreciated their assistance, and don’t know what I’d have done if the breakage had happened somewhere more remote; I’d have no doubt coped, and improvised something, but it would have been a much more painful experience.

I eventually got back on the road and started pedalling South, in the rain, at about 12.30, so quite a bit behind schedule for the day but not too worry, these things happen. It was wet and windy all the way to Vordingbord, so not a lot to report other than rain, spray, wind, and crankiness. I did get another puncture in my front tyre, which I fixed, however I’m developing a suspicion that the replacement Schwalbe tubes I’ve got aren’t as tough as the original Continental tourers I had on.

D'oh - yet another puncture

D’oh – yet another puncture

My no puncture stat from the other day definitely jinxed my run good luck on the wheel/tyre front, however hopefully that’ll be the last of them for a while; I don’t know why I say these things!

Break from the rain en-route to Vordingborg

Break from the rain en-route to Vordingborg

For a while my morale really dipped on the ride down to Vordingbord. It was only 60km, but the incessant rain, coupled with the driving wind, really grinds you down after a while.  After a break I enforced a change of mental state on myself, accepting the weather, putting a big smile on my face, and belting out a few songs; American Pie always a favourite. It always seems to work, you can either gradually spiral down to a meltdown, or pick yourself up and think positive. The weather certainly hadn’t got any better but my morale suddenly improved, although I probably confused a few people in the towns I passed through by smiling at waving at them.

Vordingbord achieved I decided that was far enough for the day, and checked-in to the Ore Strand campsite, still smiling; insanity can’t be ruled out.

Arrived at campsite in Vordingborg - still smiling

Arrived at campsite in Vordingborg – still smiling

It’s a great little campsite, right next to the beach, with a good kitchen area I could sit in to get out of the wind; thankfully the rain had stopped. I nipped to Lidyl once I was set up, to resupply, then settled in for the evening, munching my way through a lot of pasta, salad, and snacks, as well as a glass of wine or two for medicinal purposes.

Haribo heaven - visit to Lidyl

Haribo heaven – visit to Lidyl

I took a wander down to the beach, just to stretch my muscles after the short but arduous ride; bit damp but would be nice when the sun shines.

There was meeting of the Ore Strand beach committee in the kitchen building that evening, which I kinda inadvertently gate-crashed by being there at the same time. I chatted to several of the locals, and got given a Danish pastry to top up my energy reserves; a good result. Really lovely people, interested in what I was doing, and they recommended I take the island hopping route rather that getting the ferry straight over to Germany, so I think I’ll do that.

Link to today’s route and stats, shortest leg for a while at 58km in about 3.5 hours:

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/792180933

The weather forecast doesn’t look great for tomorrow. It’s supposed to improve later in the week, so finger’s crossed. However, if one more person in Scandinavia shrugs and says ‘that’s Danish weather for you’, or insert Sweden or Norway to that statement, there may be violence. I’ve heard that in every country I’ve been through, including the UK, in response to changing weather and it not matching the forecast!

News just in; I’m in Svendborg tonight typing this up, and the campsite owner just told me there’s been 2m of snow in parts of Norway, which is really unusual for this time of year. The bad weather is supposed to continue for the next few days, so I’m glad I’m not there now, and hope no other cycle tourers are stuck in it.

01 June 2015 – København, Koge, and things that pop and ping

To say it rained a bit last night would perhaps be regarded as an understatement. I awoke in the early hours of the morning to the thunderous roar of rain hitting my tent, and was somewhat alarmed I’d spring a leak, or get washed into the Oresund, however I’m happy to report I remained dry; another win for the Hilleberg Akto, now 3 years old but still going strong.

Smaug looks damp after torrential rain overnight

Smaug looks damp after torrential rain overnight

After the overnight rain at least there was sunshine in morning to dry off everything off, including a rather despondent looking Smaug. And for a change I didn’t have to pack my tent up  wet! Today was also a new map day, always exciting; time to explore Denmark. I’m still wondering if I can get to Tarifa by 05 July, my birthday. It seems a bit of a stretch and might mean rushing things too much, but would be nice to celebrate my fortieth at the Southernmost point of Europe, or thereabouts.

New map day, always exciting

New map day, always exciting

Got on the road about 09.30, pedalling out of the campsite past the small tent of the cycle tourer I met last night; no sign of life, I hope she didn’t drown. The tiredness I first felt wore off quickly as I rode towards Copenhagen (Kobenhavn – havn means port, but can see where the word haven comes from) in the sunshine. Even the wind seemed to die down a bit as I approached Denmark’s capital, on the island of Zealand.

Road to Copenhagen - sun's out

Road to Copenhagen – sun’s out

I made it into the city centre after riding along lovely quiet cycle paths, to suddenly find myself immersed in masses of traffic and pedestrians, a bit of a shock to the system. Copenhagen also turned out to be somewhat of a building site, with development going on all over the place, including a new subway station right in the centre.

Copenhagen centre, flash hotel

Copenhagen centre, flash hotel

I overheard a tour guide talking about the hotel in the above pic; I think she said One Direction stayed there recently, woohoo. Of more interest was the story about a Danish hero who attempted to assassinate Himmler when he was travelling back from Norway to Berlin during the Second World War; Denmark was occupied at the time. Unfortunately Himmler bypassed Copenhagen in the end, otherwise certain historical events might have turned out quite differently. I think tagging on to, or drifting between guided tours, might become a new hobby.

Copenhagen- canals

Copenhagen- canals

It was tricky to do much sightseeing with all the crowds and traffic, whilst laden with a heavy bike, so I didn’t end up delaying long in the city, instead pedalling slowly South West and stopping occasionally. I could have detoured to see the Little Mermaid statue, and Tivoli Gardens, however it would have been awkward and I wasn’t really in a sightseeing mood.

Copenhagen - bikes in abundance, bit of a building site though

Copenhagen – bikes in abundance, bit of a building site though

True to what I’d read Copenhagen really is full of bicycles, they’re everywhere. It will be interesting to see how Amsterdam compares if I go that way (still not decided).

Copenhagen - cool cafe

Copenhagen – cool cafe

Before I knew it I was out of Copenhagen, which I guess isn’t that large in comparison to other European capitals, and pedalling through suburbia. There’s not a lot to report from the ride down to Koge, it was fairly flat, straight, and boring. I did keep having to stop for traffic lights which was a bit tedious, and interrupts your rhythm. The cycle paths are good but I’m really noticing the increase in cars compared with Sweden.

I arrived in Koge after having to stop to pump up my rear tyre several times. After recording in my last blog post a puncture total of zero, I fear the tables have turned, and perhaps I have attracted the attention of Loki again. Luckily it was only a slow puncture so I was able to get to Koge campsite, book in, and get set up before addressing the issue.

Bike repairs - 1st puncture of tour

Bike repairs – 1st puncture of tour

I mended the puncture successful, thankful of the dry weather, but noticed a more nefarious problem during my endeavours.

Found a bigger problem - broken spoke

Found a bigger problem – broken spoke

Unfortunately a spoke had broken somewhere along the way; I thought I’d heard a distinctive ping earlier. It was on the rear drive side too, which I can’t fix as I don’t have a cassette removal device; maybe I should have bought a hyper cracker . Thankfully there are loads of bike shops in Koge, and the guy at reception recommended a couple for me to try in the morning, so I’d be able to get it sorted. There was no point in just suring up the surrounding spokes and carrying on, as it’d just get worse, more spokes would break, and I’d find myself really in the lurch.

Koge - nice house

Koge – nice house

One good thing; as I was fixing a puncture I changed my front and back tyres around, thus prolonging their lives with any luck. I felt quite chuffed to be following sage cycle touring advice successfully, however those Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres aren’t half stiff to get on and off.

Koge central square

Koge central square

Bike maintenance partially completed I paused to chat to a couple of German cycle tourers who turned up towing trailers, on their way to Finland. They don’t like their trailers, and recounted how unstable they make the bike, meaning you can’t really stand up on the pedals or go fast down hills. I’ve often wondered about one myself but am quite glad now I didn’t go that direction, and will stick with my panniers.

After a shower, but still with slightly blackened hands (impossible to get them completely clean after maintenance session) I headed into town to grab some food, and ended up succumbing to temptation and eating out at the Cafe Vivaldi, in the town square.

Dinner at Cafe Vivaldi - Burrito boost

Dinner at Cafe Vivaldi – Burrito boost

It was truly awesome burrito, with a nice beer on the side; portion size worthy of any cycle tourer, and with a salad too, so health bit covered. Post dinner and after a quick walk about I headed back to the campsite.

Cafe Vivaldi, Koge

Cafe Vivaldi, Koge

Koge square - pretty flowers

Koge square – pretty flowers

Nice house again

Nice house again

Streets of Koge

Streets of Koge

On the way back I noticed my front tyre going flat, so I’d either pinched the inner tube when changing the tyres round earlier, or picked up new puncture somewhere; it turned out to be a small metal staple, but I didn’t fix it until the morning.

Here’s a link to today’s ride – route and stats, a slow 75km, taking 5 hours, best speed up soon;

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/791586108

Not sure on route for next few days. Could go direct to Germany by ferry from Rodby, or round the islands; will depend on the weather and if I want to get serious on challenge of getting to Tarifia for my birthday. I think I’d prefer the island route, as it’ll be nice to see a bit more of Denmark. I did try to work out the number of miles to Tarifa; think I’ve got about 2,000 left, or 4,500 to get to Istanbul, or 6,500 to get all the way round and back home. Should be doable in the 5 months I’ve got left, considering I’m already over 1,700 miles in under 1 month. I guess it also depends on any problems I have with the bike, which as I’d discover tomorrow should never be underestimated.