Countries: Sweden, Latvia & Estonia
Jen Distance: 233.9km / 145.3mi
Elevation: 807m / 2,648ft
Dan Distance: 193.9km / 120.5mi
Elevation: 747m / 2,451ft
Hitchhiked: 40km / 24.9mi
Towards the end of each week, we rack our brains, trying to remember stuff that's happened (weeks and days blur together), which I then write about on the blog. This week was no different, except that I turned to Dan and said, ‘we’ve had a pretty uneventful week, this week’. Never will I ever say those words out loud again, as on Sunday, Dan’s wheel rim literally exploded. And to think the main disaster prior to this, was getting a mosquito bite on my bum crease.
Before Dan’s bike was rendered useless, we were having a pretty smooth week. We caught an overnight ferry from Stockholm, Sweden to Riga, Latvia. Spent a day wandering around Riga – it’s a beautiful city, particularly the Old Town, if you can look past the stag and hen dos. And then we followed the coast up from Latvia to Estonia. Disaster struck just 30km over the border.
See, a pretty uneventful week, right? Now for the disaster. The noise was deafening. Neither of us knew quite what had happened at first. Thankfully the rim and inner tube blew on a quiet road and we were going at a snail’s pace, otherwise it could have been a different story. And I still don’t understand how there was no damage whatsoever to the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyre - they’re invincible.
Off course, the first thing we did was take pictures and videos. Once the important stuff was out of the way, we then hatched a plan. Luckily, the next big town, 40km away, had not just one bike shop, but four! We decided to hitch a ride there. It didn’t take long before a lovely Dutch family stopped in their classic VW camper van. They were happy to take the bike, but there was only room for one. That left me and Boris to cycle the 40km to Pärnu. Dan definitely drew the short straw.
Now’s probably a good time to introduce my bike, Boris, which Dan aptly named after a certain Foreign Secretary. Reasons being it’s blue - not my first choice of colour, I might add - and I often yell about stupid things it does. I’ve learned to love one Boris; it’s not the blonde one.
We’ve contacted Cloud 9 Cycles (the guys who built our wheels and bikes), who have contacted Halo (the wheel rim manufacturers) on our behalf, and we’re going to speak to bike shops today, to see about a temporary fix. Hopefully we'll get Dan's bike rolling again soon - the Estonia islands are calling!
Now we play the waiting game, which so far has involved beers, burgers, and several World Cup matches. We’ve also just learned that Pärnu is famous for its spas... maybe the wheel can wait a little longer.