Day one of the trip, having warmed up with 50 km into Dresden and back yesterday. The devastation from the floods in June just 3 months ago is ubiquitous. 90 % of all shops at ground level in Pirna are gutted and being dried out prior to a complete refurbishment! It seems to me that the flood waters must have risen more than an extra 30 metres. Seems impossible!
All the towns along the Elbe are undergoing an amazing redevelopment. Most of the businesses are continuing in caravans and demountables even shipping containers. This must be providing an enormous stimulus to the German economy. To paraphrase the recent global upheavals this is a rerun of the GFC … The German Flood Crisis.
There is one immutable fact that guides me like the great Redeemer to Prague – the Elbe river and as long as I cycle in a direction against the current, I will inevitably reach my destination. It’s even better in terms of navigation – vital as you are all aware for my sanity let alone survival. For it is impossible to stray. Should I turn right, I end up in the river, whilst a left turn may land me in the living room of a riverside German house. So I have no alternative other than to “go straight”.
There are a few issues with the bike and panniers, specifically how one mounts and dismounts with a modicum of decorum. It requires a deft swinging of a leg over the saddle with a wide throw to clear the bags and yet maintain balance. This is a rather masculine manouvre, akin to a male dog cocking a leg. It’s all rather foreign to me, I am more of a squatting person. The reverse, dismounting is even more problematic indeed difficult.the back wheel has an extra 15 kg and if one does not pack the panniers fairly equally, an ignominious fall is inevitable, this is definitely the advantage of being able to swing both ways – but surprisingly I know of few men in my circle who do.
This bike even with panniers is so
much more zippy and dare I say it lighter than the Spanish trail bike with the front wheel on backwards!