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Germany Gave Me Back Bike Mojo

For the first two weeks of the trip, riding with bags hanging off both sides of the rear rack on my bicycle made me feel I was riding a Mack truck rather than a bike.

Travel is about discovery and I discovered I don't like riding a 60-pound bike.  In the process of discovering what I don't like gave me clarity about what I do like about riding.

The toughest day on the trip was riding from Bratislava, Slovakia, to the border of the Czech Republic. I started at 3 p.m. thinking I could easily ride 60 miles to Brno in the Czech Republic. Sundown was 9:30 p.m. The weather was clear. The wind, sadly, was 15-20 mph in my face, but I only had to average 10 mph to make by dark.

Four hours later, I had covered 34 miles. I stopped a mile up the road, got dinner and started riding the next day.

Yesterday, I rode to Wiesbaden from where I am staying in Darmstadt, Germany. When I got back from the 65-mile ride, I rode up to Frankenstein's Castle. The steep 1.5 mile climb made me happy. Without the bags, it was tough, but I was not crawling. And on the way down, I was flying through three switchbacks and a dozen sweeping turns.

Today I spent the day on a trip to a museum in a car, but when I got back, I went up and down both roads to Frankenstein, then did the steep road again.  For the rest of the trip, I will be riding without the bags.  I like that much better.

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