Day 87 - Poznan to somewhere in a forest: Making fun of Poland again - No More Taxi Drivers - CycleBlaze

April 12, 2015

Day 87 - Poznan to somewhere in a forest: Making fun of Poland again

On my way out of Poznan, which took forever because I couldn't find a way back to the main road after getting trapped on a bike route/obstacle course (see photo), I regretted not taking a rest day so I could participate in the full, authentic Poznan Saturday night experience. First was the carpet of broken glass I wove through as I made my way out of the old town while churchbells demanded repentance from the very people who were now sleeping it off. It was astounding, at least a kilometre of glass. Second was the beefy guy in a baseball cap and a gold foil cape, waiting for a tram--possibly still holding a beer. If that had been it, I could have just dismissed Poznan as a typical party town. But there was more: a police car sped by, all lights and sirens, and five minutes later I biked past a church where a little old lady was being escorted to the police car by two officers. I was impressed. Poznan is a serious party town if the old ladies are getting arrested in church on Sunday mornings.

And the roads. The terrible roads. I am in awe at what Poland has accomplished here, with every variety of terrible road imaginable. Just when I think I've seen it all, they come up with another surface I can't ride on. And the sand roads continued in earnest today. The worst part was possibly that these ones were well-used by walkers and cyclists, none of them struggling as much as I was, and all of them potential witnesses to a potential fall. I can think of two reasons why the roads are made of sand, both of which have equal merit (at least until some fact checking likely discredits the first one). First, Poland used to be a desert. Second, well, I can best explain this one through another imaginary conversation that happened more than 20 years ago...

Gullible post-communist Polish leader who inexplicably still thinks the rest of the world has Poland's best interests at heart: We're in a bit of a bind here, you see, we have this new government, and we're now responsible for infrastructure, but none of us know how to build a road. How do you do it?

EU joker: Sand. Sand is the best road surface. And it's free; just truck it in from the coast. People like to go for long walks on sandy beaches, so of course they'll love it for the roads they travel every day. You will even attract tourists who will flock to your famous inland beaches.

Polish leader: Oh, thank you! How about repairing roads? More sand?

EU joker: That's where you can get creative. First, consider not repairing the roads at all. The rough texture provides extra traction as well as being full of character. If you really think repairs are necessary, dirt roads can be repaired with random piles of loose ashphalt, sand roads with a truckload of sharp rocks just dumped on the road, asphalt can be patched several times over--lumpier is always better, and cobbles should simply be left to shift and become as uneven as possible. Rocks from the riverbed make ideal bridge decks. And always, always wait at least one year before filling in large potholes, as they need plenty of time to settle.

Polish leader: Okay, I think I've got it all down. We have so much to learn.

EU joker: Remember also that smooth new roads are to be used sparingly. They make movement entirely too easy, and I don't think you're quite ready to let people have that kind of freedom.

Okay, I'm finished with imaginary conversations for a while, I promise.

Now that I have learned some wild boar awareness, I'm seeing signs of them everywhere; it's like Poland is overrun by these very destructive beasts, digging everywhere. I'm beginning to suspect they are partially responsible for the state of the roads. It makes me a bit nervous because they're not as afraid of people as they used to be and so the chances of them shredding my tent are higher than I would like. And I will be camping because I'm trying to avoid busy roads, which typically means avoiding towns with accommodation options.

Boars on my mind, I passed up on an area that looked fantastic for camping because I had another sandy track to negotiate and decided to get it over with. After that, I took a wrong turn and left the forest, meaning I had to traverse yet another sandy track to get back into the woods to find a place to camp. It wasn't a total slog; while scouting a site that turned out to be too close to houses, I saw a herd of deer all leaping through a field. I finally found a place that had only minimal signs of wild boar, set up my tent, and waited. As before, the bird calls faded, the night took over, and all was quiet. At some point, that soft silence became an ominous silence because it was soon shattered by a screaming boar running down the hill. I heard some more distant noises, and then was left to sleep peacefully for four hours. Then the wind started.

That's right, that's the bike route leading up that big flight of stairs, and no other way back to the main road
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Sand! Again!
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 92 km (57 miles)
Total: 4,195 km (2,605 miles)

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