Epilogue: What have I learned?

After 22 days in the saddle, 3 countries (Germany, Poland and Czech Republic) and 2,451 kilometers on the road, I arrived back at home last Saturday.

Here is a glimpse of what I have learned on this tour.

General Insights

  • It is amazing what everyone can achieve when you set yourself a goal and put some discipline and hard work behind it.
  • We take stability, peace and prosperity way too much for granted. It is only a bit over 30 years ago that we were on the edge of nuclear warfare.
  • The end of the separation of Germany and Europe in 1989 without major violence or warfare was one of the biggest humanitarian achievements in modern history.
  • Germany is has very different regions and landscapes but it is really beautiful everywhere.
  • There is something like structural poverty in some remote parts of Eastern Germany which is shocking for me
  • The further you go East, the more infrastructure becomes an issue (availability ot jobs, state of roads, availability of shops, look and feel of villages)
  • Cyclists everywhere should all make an effort to connect, help and support each other more.

Bike setup

  • The Böttcher Randonneur (www.boettcher-fahrraeder.de) is a really nice and reliable bike with a good geometry for long distances. It also is very beautiful, I find.
  • There are a couple of weak spots however:
    • The mechanic disc braking system is too weak for the system weight. Probably, larger rotators would be needed to achieve more leverage.  I had some really critical situations because the brakes would not work effectively enough. Also, I needed to adjust the position of the brake shoes in hilly terrain multiple times per day to ensure effective enough braking.
    • Probably because of the long wheelbase, the entire bike goes into an oscilation alongside the longitudinal axis starting at 30 km/h when fully packed. This gets really disturbing at higher speeds. I had not observed that behavior when preparing for the tour with full gear but less load before. Maybe it has also to do with weight distribution left vs. right and front vs. rear.
    • The fact that the screws of the saddle post broke away and that the chain was ruptured has more to do with components than with the actual bike.

Bike Equipment

  • Bags
    • Handlebar: Ortlieb Ultimate Six Classic 5
      Perfect to keep all your valuables close to you.
    • Front: Ortlieb Front-Roller Classic 12.5 l
      Very good bags. One did get a puncture though.
    • Toptube: Apidura Expedition 0.5 l
      Love it. Perfect space for my battery packs.
    • Inframe: Apidura Expedition Frame Pack
      2 separate bags one for tools, one for rain gear. Perfect.
    • Rear:  Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic 25 l
      Very good bags. Especially I like the organizer bags that you can order with your paniers.
  • Water supply:
    • Adventure Hydration CrankTank4
      Love it. Holds 4 l of water. It took a while to attach it in a way so that the chain
      does not interfere with the tank.
  •  Tools
    • Bike Multi-Tool: BBB Cycling PrimeFold Extra-Large
    • Next to “Panzer-Tape” and cable ties of course …

Trekking Equipment

  • Tent: Outdoorer Trek It Easy 2
    Very nice tent for summer trecking. Great interior space. Would not recommend it for cold seasons since not enough protection from wind.
  • Matrace: Thermarest Prolite
    Love it. Just perfect for me and really comfy.
  • Sleeping bag: Deuter Exosphere -6° L
    Highly recommended. Perfect for the cause.
  • Outdoor stove: Primus Essential Stove Set 1300ml 2018
    Was even a bit over engineered. Does the job perfectly.
  • Seat: Uquip Three Sixty Three leged stool
    Love it. Just perfect.
  • Table: Uquip Folding Table Liberty
    It was defenitely worth the extra weight.

Tour details

Based on this tour, I can confirm that 120 km per day are doable for me with this setup.
However, a second break day would probably have been better.

Date   Distance Elevation
  Sum 2451 16258
  Avg 111 739
10.07.2020 1 124 1669
11.07.2020 2 130 1376
12.07.2020 3 80 822
13.07.2020 4 141 861
14.07.2020 5 116 581
15.07.2020 6 132 1040
16.07.2020 7 122 406
17.07.2020 8 119 264
18.07.2020 9 147 191
19.07.2020 10 132 425
20.07.2020 11 83 315
22.07.2020 12 114 485
23.07.2020 13 100 608
24.07.2020 14 138 282
25.07.2020 15 109 618
26.07.2020 16 47 127
27.07.2020 17 135 677
28.07.2020 18 118 996
29.07.2020 19 111 1085
30.07.2020 20 103 1535
31.07.2020 21 81 966
01.08.2020 22 69 929

One thought on “Epilogue: What have I learned?

  1. Welcome back, Karsten! I missed your touch down as I was on vacation as well.I hope you have relaxed your body and brain meanwhile a little.
    I enjoyed reading your blog and once again learned: you don’t have to travel far to find your adventure and stranger places.

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