Twenty-six: Esbjerg to Sondervig. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2013

Twenty-six: Esbjerg to Sondervig.

The solo-cycle-tourer works hard on the days off the bike. They are one person and can only be in one place at a time. A couple or group cycle-touring on the other hand can split up and go off and do the different chores usually undertaken on days-off the bike, leaving, the Crazy Guy to devout most of their time to updating the journal because shopping, laundry, bike-maintenance and even cooking may be done collectively by other cycling colleagues on behalf of the group. The solo-rider journal-writer must do it all and therefore has a hectic few days of it while off the bike.

The campsite in Esbjerg was six kilometres to the north of the centre and was fair value for money, having well-kept greens for the tent, landscaped with hedges and trees: there was a kitchen, a laundry and a couple of living rooms, one of which I took over as an office. The warm weather meant there was nobody else indoors until Euro Sports' coverage of the Tour de France came on in the afternoon. Then a few would come in and on would go the TV. But it was a welcome distraction from the computer.

The cameras today do a magnificent job of showing the steepness of the climb and the riders slowing as the gradient shows on the legs. Then the velocity of the descending riders and the risky nature of the bends they must negotiate. After the racing had finish on Sunday it was good to see Bjorn Rijse, now a Director de Sport of a Danish team being interviewed on his fellow Dane's performance. Then Sean Kelly speak on the stage winner.

An upside-down bike in Esbjerg not going anywhere; while, I check the gears are changing in sync after fitting a new cable.
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I wish I'd have held on to the city-plan instead of throwing it in the rubbish. It may show me the way out of the city, Is thinking as I rode out of the campsite. I knew that by turning right at the end of the drive, the road would lead to the coast. A few minutes later I could see the sea ahead, like the sky today, a deep blue. Then at the end of the road I saw the road sign for route 12 north.

There was a cycle-path most of the way and Is still wearing my tracksuit bottoms, which I like as an all purpose, both off the bike and on the bike travelling bottoms, easily washed and fast drying. Practical. For me it's too cold before nine o'clock for shorts, but today I stopped to change into shorts not long after eight.

I was quite a bit out of the city before I saw a blue "Cycle Route 1" sign which I had been hoping to see. I followed and the signs led to places well to the west, eventually after many kilometres, Is approaching the outermost tip of a peninsular where the coast curved round to the west of Esbjerg. And there was only one way back, riding back the way I had come. A feeling of deja vous and a morning partly wasted. I had originally thought of making good progress far to the north today, but it wasn't looking like it now.

While stopped at a rest-place, I wrote: I am on my way back towards Oskbol which I passed earlier, hoping to find my way from there. What a start to a day!

Consulting carefully with my map at the next few road-junctions, I avoided all turnings which led one way back upon the peninsular, or one way to the coast, and eventually found a blue "Route 1" sign for a place well to the north. The blue signs also had "Vestkyst Stien" (The West Coast Path) as well as number 1 in a red box. At the start, it led along little used roads across open heather moor, then passed fields where horses played while cows lay enjoying the sun and fields where hay was being made. Then there was a turn off along a narrower road which soon turned to unpaved track which passed through woodland.

Newly laid cycle-path; part of Route 1.
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Horse-play.
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Before long I wished I'd stocked up on supplies. It being a warm day I was soon extremely thirsty and the only shop I came to since leaving the city was at a campsite. I bought a two litre bottle of water and a can of Carlsberg therein costing about thirty Danish Crowns, or three pounds which is a lot. It had long passed noon then and I was still waiting to see some place I could buy lunch whilst riding on. I was passing through a small place where there was an expensive grocery shop adjoining a petrol-station; then, a Spar shop with a bakery next door. The shoppers were slow putting things in their basket, taking a lot of time browsing before going along with only two or three items to the check-out. I as well was careful to buy only what I needed. Afterwards, in the bakery I had two Danish pastries and a coffee. Then sat resting at the outside table awhile before going further.

Passing through the sand-dunes.
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Which way now, I wondered. Then I saw the faded arrow.
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The way onwards was along a narrow split of sand, forty kilometres long, where the path was compressed sand in among the sand dunes; a place with lots of holiday homes and car parks full of campervans, their occupants off over the dunes to the beach. There were also lots on bicycles. Riding on a loose surface of sand is like riding on thin freshly fallen snow, the wheels skid around a lot, keeping me on my toes; it's fun riding: the Dawes really handled well, steering carefully around the other path users.

I reached Hvidesand at five and on riding out the other side of town I saw an Aldi supermarket. It didn't take much convincing to stop. Inside, the aisles were crowded with exited holidaymakers, putting in their baskets whatever they needed; and a long queue at the one check-out.

Expenditure: DKR213.

Today's ride: 104 km (65 miles)
Total: 2,277 km (1,414 miles)

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