The first mistake

The cycle to Holland was pretty hardcore as Ryan has already explained, and I really enjoyed getting stuck into some big days riding despite the rain. We have had glorious weather recently but I’ve not been able to enjoy them so much as I wrecked my knee already!! I could gloss over all the pants bits of this trip but I’ve decided that if people are bothered to read this blog I should give them the bad along with the good, so here goes…

I fiddled with my bike a lot the weekend we left, i.e. changed the pedals, added toe clips and moved the seat (accidentally). I pedalled for hours every day regardless of the fact that my knees were getting more and more sore due to my poor position on the bike. I was taking nurofen at the time as I had a bit of a chest infection after the first few days of rain, I suspect being exhausted before we even left didn’t help either. Anyway, the pain killers must have masked what was going on a bit (in hindsight I was a total shambles all round!). By the time we reached Holland I couldn’t even sit on the toilet it hurt so much to bend my knee!  I’ve been barely able to cycle all week, but have had to do the miles regardless as poor planning by me (annoyingly) has meant that we made some over stretched commitments to meet people further down the road on certain days.  The combination of the enforced mileage plus bad knees is that I’ve had to get trains for the middle part of each day whilst Ryan has cycled on his own.

The cycling that I have been doing this week has been incredible and definitely the most beautiful cycling so far. The Rhine is designed for cycle touring, and I loved every bit of it. Admittedly this made it even more frustrating having to stop to get the train when I’ve wanted so much to carry on. If I’m honest I’ve had a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball all week. Cycling alone, painful train journeys, hauling my loaded bike about and logistical fuss trying to meet Ryan is not what I signed up for. BUT, no one said it would be easy and I am determined to push through. I’ve since re-adjusted my seat, changed my pedals and ditched even more kit.  The one ray of sunshine in all of this has been Ryan (yes, this surprised me too) who has been encouraging and boosting my morale at the end of his ridiculously long days (yesterday he rode 153km to make it to meet me!).  It’s also nice to know he chose to do this trip with me because I’m me, and not because of my cycling skills.

I do want to learn something from this week, and after having a think this is what I have come up with:

  1. Shockingly, Ryan is fitter than me and can cycle like a machine
  2. 100km per day sounds reasonable from the comfort of home, in reality it’s too far to ride every day with a loaded bike if I actually want to see anything (other than Ryan’s arse)
  3. Despite the disaster that this week has become, I am still looking forward to the rest of the year with abundance and it has no way dampened my spirits – if anything this has just spurred me on even more
  4. Our downfall was making commitments on our most optimistic schedule, which didn’t allow for getting lost, bike failures or injuries.

Anyway, things are already looking better! Dad arrived to meet us and we have a hotel for a few nights which is just what we both need… and I’m so excited about seeing Bex Sheldon tomorrow. We have the whole weekend off, and from then on we can make our own schedule which can allow my duff knee to recover. Ryan will post another update soon about the actual cycling through Germany!

13 Responses to The first mistake

  1. Claire Smoothy says:

    Ah sweetheart so sorry to hear you’ve done your knee in. BUT I am glad Rhino is being a superstar to you. I’m loving the blog updates of you two travelling the world whist I relax in an unemployed limbo, it makes me feel like I’m achieving something by knowing you 2 lol! Miss you both and hope the knee gets better soon. Big hugs from Smooch xxx

  2. Adrian says:

    Rebecca, ouch! I met you mum and Steve on Parker’s Piece at the weekend and they told me of your suffering.

    My tuppence worth is what you’ve already tried, to keep on adjusting your saddle height to get the best angle for you. I find it easier to ride with a surprisingly high saddle – the angles sort of work better for my knees to be more on top of the pedals.

    I do feel for you. If in doubt take a complete break and recover before starting again. You have plenty of time.

    I saw a guy on a bike recently pedaling with his hands … thought you might like to try that …
    All the best Adrian

  3. Lucy Smith says:

    So sorry to hear about your knee Bex, hope the couple of days in a hotel help to get it back on track. You are both doing amazing – cannot believe how far you have got already!!!! Enjoy the weekend with Bex and make sure you post again soon!!!

  4. Rob says:

    Well done Bex – just be patient! You’ve a long way to go!

    Have an amazing time in Munich!!


  5. Colleen says:

    How good to hear your voice in this Rebecca and even if it is a tough time. We want to send you love and energy and a real reassurance that it doesnt all have to be good news – but good for you when it is. I feel lucky to share your adventure from the comfort of my desk seat and wish you so much good luck and healing
    Love to you both from us both here
    Colleen and Julie

  6. Mark says:

    Great to read your words – I found it really uplifting. Not that I wish disasters for you!! Nice to hear that Ryan is being a rock. I’m sure there will be many times when you will need to do that for each other.

    The pix are amazing. What a great experience, and you’ve only just started really.

    Hope the front mech is still working nicely.

    Enjoy Munich 🙂

  7. Ian says:

    Lovely to see you both this week – despite the wrecked knees I thought you looked in great spirits and not that bad shape. Even after his 153k mega cycle Ryan looked amazingly refreshed – astonishing. Or does he hide in the bushes when Bex has to get a train and then catches the next one? After all, he does arrange to meet up at with her stations all the time … hmm.. suspicious. No-one can look that relaxed after 12 hours on a bike – can they?

    Have a great time at the Oktoberfest! Lets hope Bex doesn’t do her elbows in lifting 2 litre steins of Lowenbrau.

  8. Pingback: Crossing Germany « World Cycling Tour

  9. the cambridge gals says:

    Hey bec, we’re so sorry to hear your knee hasn’t recovered. Just remember that the trip is about u and Ryan having an amazing time and not the schedule. You only get one pair of knees and New Zealand ain’t going anywhere. We’re all thinking of you and we know your strong enough to do this but if worst comes to worst you could do it on a moped!! we’re all pigging out at zoeys and miss you loads! x x x x

  10. Nicola says:

    Hi Bex – heard of your knee troubles from your Dad. just read your blog and I am insanely jealous of your travels, from your route map it looks like you will be on a similar path to one I took many years ago down from Kunming in China through Vietnam to Laos and Cambodia. I too had knee trouble in the early days – a result of having the saddle too low and also pushing too high a gear too slowly. I think by now it sounds as if you have sorted out your saddle position, have you also tried cycling in a lower gear and increasing your cadence? feels strange at first but does help the knees! good luck for improved knees!

  11. Barefoot Brian says:

    Interestingly the first day of my London to Paris was 152 km (well I measured it at 95 miles). This included cycling up onto the South Downs nears Maidstone! You DO get used to it fairly quickly and at the end of the day you can still appear fresh, despite your exhaution.

    I also had the pleasure of cycling onto the ferry at Dover and watching the cliffs recede into the distance that day. (see previous post)

  12. Pingback: Go Bicycle Touring!

  13. Giles B says:

    Great reading yoour post

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