The bike told me to slow down


I arrived Prague in the late afternoon, say around 18.00 or so. I chose an hotel in the city since I was really looking forward to explore the city. I had plenty of time, well, two days was plenty of time considering my otherwise tight travelling schedule. The hotel was nice but the room was small. Putting in my panniers and bags was pretty much what the room could handle. The bed was fairly big though taking up most of the space so I realised I would need to be cuddling my luggage but that was alright.
I had a shower, walked down to the reception and got hold of a city map and started walking. There is no doubt, Prague is truly a lovely place. A relatively big city but at the same time rather cosy. I found a square surrounded by old building packed with restaurants and walked into the nearest bar. It was full of people half my age. I suppose I looked like a dad keeping an eye out for his kids. I did not belong, that’s for sure. Before I realised the demographics of the place I had already ordered a beer and now I did not really know what to do. Should I stay and finish my beer or taking into account the fact that the beer actually was relatively cheap, just leave. Being of Swedish origin where we love consensus and compromise I went for something in the middle, to finish half the beer, get some value for my money, but do it relatively quickly and then just leave the place to the people who belonged there. A bit sad since I did like the loud music but there are limitations where I do feel embarrassed. Back out on to the square which was now packed with youngsters drinking, I seriously needed to leave and eventually found a side street with an Irish style sports pub. Now, I don’t particularly like these kinds of places but I do know that to youngsters its definitely very uncool which meant it was safe for an oldtimer.
I sat down at a table and ordered some food. I was starving. Some ribs if Im not mistaken which definitely wont go down in history. My company was music aimed at my age category, meaning it was utterly pathetic. I think it means that we at some age suddenly stop being contemporary and start becoming all nostalgic. I read a study which showed that when it comes to music we will more or less stop following whats new after the age of 25. The stuff we really enjoy at the age of 25 will remain our favourites for the rest of our lives. Considering the amazing development we have in healthcare having average age in the western world go from 35 to more than double it is truly appalling that we cant manage to keep our senses open for more than 25 years. Anyway, I guess the bar was OK. I also watched a bit of football on a TV hanging on the wall. There was no sound but it really didn’t matter, in all honesty I had no idea which teams were playing anyway. Beer was good though and the service excellent and I therefore decided to finish the evening just there. I finished my meal, had a cup of coffee and then another beer and I was done. It was time for some sleep, I had a long day of exploration ahead of me.
I woke up around 08.00, which was late considering when I usually got up on my trip, put some clothes on and went out for breakfast. I found a coffee shop, ordered a cappuccino on skim milk and a croissant. I like that kit even though it doesn’t make much sense at all. A croissant full of butter, at least if it’s a good one, and then skim milk in the cappuccino. Who am I fooling? Anyways, I suppose we don’t have to be so bloody logical all the time do we.
Anyway, while sitting there and thinking about how to best plan my day of site seeing in Prague, that feeling of uneasiness started coming over me, like a slowly built up rash. I knew far to well what it meant and I knew there was only one way to solve it. I had to get back on the bike. It didn’t really make sense, I had the time to stay. I had been looking forward a lot to Prague but I knew if I stayed the rash would only get worse and cause me nothing but stress. I think I was now so close to my goal that I could smell it. Not that I was tired of being out, on the contrary, I loved every moment of it but of course there is also this feeling of reaching the goal, to make it and I was so close. There was only one prescription to the itch that had sat in and that was to get back in the saddle. After having finished my breakfast and gone for a walk I checked out of the hotel, put my panniers and bags back on the bike and headed out. I didn’t get too far. In spite of the GPS showing excellent instructions on where to ride the heavy trafficked freeways around the city with its many turnoffs got me seriously confused. Whilst being on the bike, keeping one eye on the heavy traffic and one on the GPS I realised I had gone a bit too far and needed to do a change in the settings of the GPS. In order to do so I had to take my glove off which isn’t to easy whilst driving and trying to keep an eye on the traffic. Well sometimes we really work hard on following through with stupid ideas. I did get the glove off but not only the glove, off came also a ring my wife had made for me before I went on trip. After more than two months on the road my fat fingers had lost a bit of lard and the rings had become quit loose. When the glove came off I saw the ring coming after, flying through the air. My precious.
I drove to the side of the road as quickly as I could and flew off the bike. I had to get it back. She would kill me, I would kill me. Im not going to loose it. I started walking back but it was impossible to see the ring. There were two lanes of fast but heavy traffic. Damn. My precious. Eventually I see a car leaving something shining flying through the air after having ran over it. I now see the ring but how the hell do I get to it? All I can do is wait. Other vehicles create the same effect when running over the ring and I really have to focus every time in order to track its new location. After five or ten minutes there is a small opening in the traffic and I manage to quickly run into the street and get it, whats left of it. What once was a very nice ring is now a flat piece of metal. I was disappointed but happy at the same time, at least I had it. My precious. She wouldn’t kill me, punch me in the nose probably but kill me, no.

I went back on the bike and rode off towards Germany. I didn’t get very far though. After approximately an hour the bike started acting up. I was back with 7 gears of more or less neutral. Not great. There was a gas station nearby and I could literally roll into their parking lot on the last breath of traction. That bike was going to go nowhere without help and repair. There was after all a limit to the work of the Wizard of Kazakhsthan. I called the insurance company and described the bikes issues. They were extremely helpful. I told them my exact location and they responded they would investigate and call me back shortly. An hour or so later they did, they had arranged a tow truck to take me and my bike to Dresden where there was an authorised Triumph repairshop. The tow truck took another 2 hours to arrive and then we were on our way to Dresden. The ride was about an hour and a half. We spent roughly 1 hour in their office filling out paper work and then I went to the hotel the insurance company had booked for me conveniently located approximately 200 meters from the Triumph repair shop.

It was Saturday, so no repair until Monday. The tow truck promised to take the bike there Monday morning. In the meantime I was to remain in the hotel. Excellent service from the insurance company really. Reality was however not amazing. No repair until Monday and probably longer since they will likely need to order Parts which meant I was going to be stuck in Dresden until at least Tuesday, Wednesday. Schedulewise it was OK, I had the extra time but in all honesty Dresden is not a cool city and the hotel, even though being decent, was utterly boring. On the other hand, this was far better than being stranded in a super hot Kazakh desert for sure. I just needed to figure out how to spend my time. Maybe this was also a way of fate telling me that I needed to cool down a bit.

I decided, since the trip was almost over to simply go back to work. I had my laptop with me and I just needed to open up the job email and start getting in touch and I would be back in business in no time. Monday came and I contacted the garage around noontime. They had just received the bike and was going to see what the problem was. At three they called and said they needed to replace the clutch discs and that they had ordered some which they thought would be there in the morning. I was definitely done with Dresden and the hotel so pushed them with as much curtesy as I could to finish it as early as possible. At three in the afternoon on Tuesday they called and said the bike was ready. I went over, paid (a lot), drove the bike to the hotel and put all my luggage back on, checked out and by 16.00 I started leaving Dresden. I decided to try to reach Sweden……………..