P.J.'s bicycle tour in Scotland

Sunday, June 16, 1996

From Johnstone to Germany

no miles cycled

As you can see by the missing miles, the day turned out to go a quite other way than I had supposed it to do. It all went very well in the morning, the breakfast was great, then I packed my panniers and took them down to the bicycle. I had planned to be at the airport at 10 o'clock, that would leave me enough time for checking in and all that stuff.

When I started to push my bicycle out of the house I suddenly heard an unusual noise. When I looked down, I saw that the back wheel had gone flat. At that moment I regretted that I hadn't mended the tube two days ago in Dalmellington, because I had to do that now as I had no spare tube which was alright. The tube that had just gone flat was so bad now, that I couldn't mend it any more. Well, I should say it was routine work and after that I went back into the house to wash my hands. I just came out of the toilet when Mrs. Thom said to me 'Your back wheel has gone flat.'.

I said to her 'no, it was flat', and then she said, 'no, it just burst with a loud bang!'. I went out and saw that the last tube which I had just mended, was broken again, this time with a hole about four inches long, so there was nothing to do about it. And there I was standing on a Sunday morning with a flat bike and no more spare tubes and the shops closed. And not to mention, I still had to go to the airport and catch my plane.

I was just thinking about getting into the house again and call me a taxi, when Mr. Thom came out and said 'If you dismount the wheels, we can pack the bicycle in my car and I'll give you a ride to the airport.'. The car he was talking about was a pretty new Mercedes E-class (they are built in the town where I was living at that time). I don't know a single guy in Germany who would pack my dirty bike and all my stuff into his big Mercedes and give me a ride to the airport.

But that's what we did, and so I arrived in time at the airport without having to cycle any more. While waiting for my flight I met a couple of Germans who were flying back with their bicycles after being on the road for two weeks. The flights to London and then on to Frankfurt were quite uneventful and even my brother in law managed to pick me up at the airport although he was one hour late.