Day 110 - Riga to somewhere along the coast: Life's a beach - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

May 5, 2015

Day 110 - Riga to somewhere along the coast: Life's a beach

Getting out of Riga was as easy as getting in, though slower. I was impressed; there was even a bike path for a fair distance. What struck me was that everyone was speaking in Russian. I stopped at a small supermarket, and even though everything was written in Latvian, the cashier spoke to me in Russian.

I was slightly ahead of my tight schedule and the weather was nice, so I could take my time today. Eventually I came upon Eurovelo 13 and followed that when it suited me. It kept returning to the main road, the A1, but that was okay until the turnoff for Tums, when the shoulder all but disappeared.

So I went to Tuja, back toward the coast and EV13, which quickly turned to sand. I knew there were some campgrounds in the area and figured I'd stop at the first open one. They were all closed. Every last one.

And then something horrible happened. There was a sign indicating the (sand) road ended in 2.3 km and cyclists would have to go along the seashore for 1 km before the road resumed. The long way around added another 8 km of sand. Had the road been paved, I would've opted for the long way. But it wasn't paved, and I somehow forgot that the answer to "how bad can it be?" is almost always "worse than you think."

When the road ended at private property, there was a cheerful sign directing hikers and cyclists down to the beach, with a few choice words scrawled over it in black marker. One glance at the steep, long flight of steps down to the water, and I had to agree with the graffiti. There was no possible way to get down the steps without unloading the bike.

Once on the beach, it got worse. To put it nicely, the beach was exceptionally rugged. It was soft sand alternating with uneven piles of rock. That's okay for a hiker, but not for someone in cycling shoes, which are very slippery on rock and offer no ankle support. I couldn't even drag my bike, I had to carry it almost the entire way. I had to make three trips to get everything across, and then I was faced with another steep flight of stairs.

The whole ordeal took a very long time and was exhausting. I could barely drag my bike up the steps at the end because I had worn myself out carrying everything across the difficult terrain. I couldn't believe I had to portage my bike like that. The only upside was that I figured it would be interesting material for the journal.

With the latitude and the time of year, I had thought my daylight issues were well behind me, but here it was, 21:00 and nowhere to stay. At the last deserted campground, I asked a couple who were walking nearby if they knew of a place. They replied that they knew the people who lived next door and brought me over. They said I could camp behind the house, which was great because all the forested areas I passed looked really wet and boggy, totally unsuitable for a tent.

It was a pretty good spot: I could hear the highway noise not too far off, but I could also hear the waves only 100 m away.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Watching the water in style
Heart 0 Comment 0
Eurovelo 13: it exists!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
This guy didn't even flinch when I very nearly ran over it, but take one photo without asking permission and suddenly it's hissing like crazy.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Even worse than they look
Heart 0 Comment 0
This was the nicest part of the beach bypass route. The rest was beyond brutal.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 97 km (60 miles)
Total: 5,911 km (3,671 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0