Narva, riding in the rain
Today I must have followed a rain cloud into Narva. However, not long after I’ve arrived the cloud moved on and it is sunny with few clouds. The day started out a little slow, since I wanted to check into these cracks developing in the front wheel. As you can see from the photo, it doesn’t look like much, but enough to make me nervous longer term. I left the hostel and wandered through town, stopping at 8am when supermarket opened to get breakfast.
Next to HAWAII EXPRESS bicycle shop. Their sign said they opened at 9am, but I tried the door and found someone at 8:30am. They had a nice deep wheel double wall rim. We replaced my current front rim with a new one. I also refreshed the brake pads in front. It all went fairly quickly and smoothly and didn’t take long before I was ready to roll again. The new rim rides well, though I notice it needs to be trued a little more for up/down bounce. Owners were helpful, even answering my questions of why “Hawaii” when that was exactly 12 time zones away.
Next, I found my way to the newspaper office and got a copy of todays Rakevere Newspaper, that had my article (see below). After all that, was finally ready to leave town. I missed the turn, but eventually found my way out of town.
Skies were overcast and on the verge of drizzle as I cycled out of town.Â They became wetter after that.Â Fortunately, the road was smooth and I had a tailwind.Â At 30km, I changed my water-repellent windbreaker for my rain jacket.Â Now it was raining more steadily, so it just became a “heads down keep riding steadily” exercise without much stopping.Â What I did see of the area was mostly open fields with a few slight hills of glacial deposits.
At 68km, I passed Jarve, and stopped at gas station for lunch.Â My top had been keeping warm under the rain jacket, but my legs now also got a chance to warm up.Â I could put on thermal underwear but found in the ride from Kaliningrad that this would mean two layers to get wet.Â After a warming lunch, it took some willpower to get back on the bike and into the rain.Â However, I wanted to try getting to Narva since that would give me some more options in following days and I wasn’t certain what weather might do.Â The roads were a little rougher near Jarve but then became better as I passed Johvi near 80km.Â At 96km was Sillamae which seemed to have a major sea terminal and many businesses.Â The truck traffic became lighter as I climbed over what much be one of few hills at 102km into Sinimae.
The rain let up some as I got close to Narva, though the roads were wet enough that passing traffic still gave a spray.Â Saw the turn off that split between border crossing and center of town.Â Found a hotel not far from here.Â I’ve definitely passed into a town where Russian is the preferred second language and English isn’t as common.Â I’ve now got four days to ride from here to St Petersburg.Â I’ll try picking the best day weather wise to get to Gatchina and then ride from there into the city on the last day.
Google maps are back to showing high resolution photos, so I can pinpoint the building for the hotel.Â You can also see the tendency to have large concrete apartment blocks in these cities.
121km today 2323km across Europe 3961 km total.
Aarne Mae of the Rakvere paper was so kind to send me an English translation of the article. I present it here for the benefit of those who can not read Estonian:
BY BICYCLE FROM THE NETHERLANDS TO VLADIVOSTOK
(Virumaa Teataja, April 18, 2007)
Mike Vermeulen (43) arrived yesterday in Rakvere. He is on his way from Amsterdam to Vladivostok. The from origin Dutch biker started in Amsterdam on March 26 and his goal is to finish at the end of September after 13500 kilometers.
Mike said that until now he had quite a smooth and troublefree trip. He had some problems at the border of Russia near Kalingrad. With the help of a local microbus driver he was able to get by bike over the Russian border. The Russian border guards
didn’t believe that one person would have such a crazy plan to travel!
Mike first visited the historical castle in Rakvere. After staying overnight he continued his journey to Narva. He said: ‘I will go to St. Petersburg and plan to study Russian for a good continuation of my travel in Russia”. Answering to the question of Virumaa Teataja “Are you afraid of Russia” Mike said “Should I?”.
Mike has experience from several bike trips. He has traveled in Hungary and Ukraine last year and five years ago made a trip all around Australia (8 months and 19000 kilometers)
Why do it? Mike says: “This is my way to relax. By bicycle I will see people and things in another way”. He is manager at a computer company. “My job enables me to have a long vacation for this trip”, says Mike.
Mike pedals 100 km’s a day and will lose 20 kg’s of weight per 10000 km’s.
story by: Aarne Mae
managed to grab a few minutes on a friends computer here in Panama City and took a quick look at your travels. Perhaps after our North American trip we will follow in your pedals and try that part of the world – who knows.
Keep up the good work and travel safe.
Andrew & Joanne