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BICYCLE TOUR: EUROTOUR 2010

FLAVIO BASSI'S ON-BOARD DIARY

DAY 14

DATE: 20:07:2010
START: OTTERSTADT
FINISH: MAINZ
LENGTH: 114 KM
AVERAGE SPPED: 15.7 KM/H
DIFFICULTY GRADE: A1
From below the expressways to over the hills
In the morning as soon as we leave we arrive in Ludwigshafen, an efficient city built to measure of highway. However there are bicycle paths and we proceed with total safety, the only little thing is that from them we do not see the sky... they are below.
While we are in the center a tram driver says something nervously. Well, I still haven't understood what he wanted.

Beyond the Rhine there is Mannheim: on the map it looks like a twin city of Ludwigshafen, with the difference that the center is a unique series of rectangular meshes, each mesh has its name: A1 - A2 - A3 ... then the line after: B1 - B2 - B3... In short, the naval battle. We go to visit for this, but there's really nothing to visit. The meshes are amorphous rectangular sets of anonymous buildings. We go back on the bridge a bit dumbfounded and proceed.

They pass villages and countrysides; they pass the known aromatic zones, with the air perfumed by chemical plants; it passes a nuclear power plant (the number of reactors continues to rise, now here they are four); and we arrive to the hills which preceede Mainz: suddenly it seems to be hurtling in Tuscany.
Due to construction works in progress the Rhein-Radweg is interrupted for a great distance, we are on ordinary roads to the urban periphery. Then they start again the excellent German-style urban cycling lanes.

In town, we assemble the tents in camp and then there is a singularity. Usually at night I used to pitch the bike somewhere close to the tent or to the room, and leave it there until morning; I preferred to go to dinner walking to stretch my legs. But this time the center is distant a couple of kilometres and the closed-kitchen problem reoccurs, so this evening I agree to take the bike as Samuele asked since some time. FORTUNATELY! Just in the center I feel the pedal that makes a strange movement, I stop watching and... I lost a screw in the rear triangle. If it happened on the road, while I was traveling with the luggage, I ended up on the ground; with unimaginable consequences, especially if I was along a downhill. For now I accept it reinserting the joint by hand and checking it every minute, tomorrow I will try to solve.

For dinner it's a must to thank the Italian restaurant 'Al Cortile', which still I retain the business card. Excellent food, abundant, elegant environment, very acceptable prices, friendly staff, and no closed-kitchen problem. Perfect. To remember for the next trans European crossings that will pass across here.

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