Band-aids will always save you

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Jihočeský Kraj,
Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 18, Monday July 12

As I eat breakfast the lady who was also staying in the same room of the hostel as me finally shows up. She says she stayed with a relative last night as she packs her bags and leaves. I do the same a few minutes later. The bicycle trail starts right from Old Square which is only a few hundred meters away. It follows the Vltava River out of town before turning away through a few small villages.

Coming into Cesky Krumlov the sign says the trail continues on around the town, which is up hill. My legs are tired and it is so hot that I can’t drink water fast enough to keep hydrated. I give the trail a go for maybe a hundred meters before turning back to take the main road, downhill, all the way to the centre.

I walk around town, which is almost entirely a castle, to get some rest. The pedestrian bridge across the river has copper railings and they burn my arm. After a couple hours walking around and a long semi nap under the fountain on the square I decide that it’s time to move on whether my legs have any more energy or not. I stop to buy food for dinner at a store on the way out. When the clerk rings it up what he says sounds a lot like 200 in polish, an extreme amount for two bottles of water and a bag of fresh peas. Turns out it was only 20 and I get a big pile of change back.

There’s a family touring on bicycles stopped at a grocery store next to a big intersection where I don’t know which way to go. I stop to ask them if they know. It turns out that they are from Poland, Jelenia Góra to be exact, and they’re headed to Venice. They’ll be stopping tonight at Rozmberk nad Vltavou, where I also figure I might end up tonight if my legs can get me that far. They head off on the main road though and I in search of my bicycle trail.

It immediately starts a very steep climb up a hill out of town. This is certainly much more difficult than the road the polish family are taking, which follows the river valley the whole way. The effort is worth it though as there is an excellent view over Cesky Krumlov.

Not much later my rear tire goes flat on a downhill. The tire has a small slit in it from one of the previous times which makes the tube vulnerable. I should replace the tire when I find a town big enough for a bicycle store. I put one of the spare tubes in and manage to reach the top of the next hill where the tire goes flat again. This time the hole is on the inside of the tube, it must have gotten pinched or there was some foreign object in the tire that I couldn’t find. No worries, I have a second spare tube.

This time as I head off there is a whiff whiff whiff pfffft sound. Only10 m later I have a flat again! I inspect the tire, or what remains of it. All these flats have caused the bead of the tire to separate and let the tube bulge out and rub against the brakes. This is a problem a simple tube patch won’t solve. I’m in the middle of the woods and it is presumably 10-15 km either way to the next town.

I take a quick mental inventory of what I might have that could hold the tire together. Maybe some medical tape could do the trick. Well I’m in the middle of nowhere so there is nothing to lose in trying. I put a few base layers over the hole before making a wrap inside and out. As I’m pumping it up to pressure the tape is still holding and even down the hill to the next village. The map shows I’m only 7 km away from Rozmberk, where the closest campsite is. On the plus side it is on the river so it should be downhill most of the way.

There are still a of couple hill climbs along the way. The deer flies keep me going as fast as I can despite it being already late in the evening. The campground is packed full of kayakers when I get there, and even more come in during the night. The Vltava River is a very popular route, but I don’t think I would enjoy going down such a crowded river.

There’s no sign of the polish family on bicycles I met earlier, but the campground is very large so I’m sure they made it. No doubt their trip to Rozmberk wasn’t as challenging as mine.
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