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Day 7 .......Oestrich-Winkel to Mainz......25 km (total 357 km)

The plan today was an easy one. For me. As a team we would ride the 25 km upstream to the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers. Here I would seek refuge in a hotel whilst the rest of the team rode the additional 30 km into Frankfurt to return their hire bikes and then make their way back to Mainz for the celebratory-gala -black tie-end of ride- dinner and awards evening. Why not all ride and stay in Frankfurt as that is where they’re flying out of tomorrow? Simple. Lack of reasonably priced accommodation. Frankfurt is a major hub for industry fairs and expos and continuously hosts major such events thus driving accommodation demand through the roof and with it prices. This week is one such occasion. The solution was to stay a mere 15-20 mins by fast train out Frankfurt at the delightful city of Mainz which for all intents and purposes should just be renamed West Frankfurt. Tomorrow the gang from the first section of my ride breaks up and they return home to their respective cities. Meanwhile I will ride like a man possessed to get to Hannover (some 410 km away) by Sunday midday to meet up with Gareth.W and his mate Tim who I will then ride to Prague with. Clear as mud?

Left to right

Eddie.B - Hails from San Francisco but returning to life in Valencia 

Lynn - Returing to Juno, Alaska Via a sojourn in Paris and a side step to Sydney

Thelaeman - going straight to Hannover

Todd - Back to South Dakota and trying to decide where to live next

Russ.K - flying home to San Francisco before keenly planning another adventure of some sort that will involve planes, bikes , or hikes. 

I thought, and typed, that yesterday’s boat ride would be our first and last of this trip. It wasn’t . A relook at the route to Mainz and it was decided to cross back over to the other side of the river where there was a proliferation of bike tracks, devoid of traffic,  that all led into Mainz. Oestrich-Winkel is not famous for much of anything. However it does mark the widest point of the Rhine river at any point of its 1,200 km journey from the Alps to the North Sea. Now you know.  

A short 15 min cruise on the “Michael” being the perfect way to start the day under cloudless spring skies. 

As I have discovered on my many rides, 9 times out of 10 when you front up as a cyclist at a hotel your room will almost always be at the back of the hotel overlooking the air conditioning units . Rarely with a view . The accommodation 2 nights ago at the Rheinlust an obvious exception. This room at the Schofften Hotel not. 

Mainz main cathedral. Impressive most days. More so today given the weather. 

Ol Johannes Gutenberg. A very clever blacksmith who revolutionised the world of print when he invented mechanical moveable type. If you were to believe the hype on Wikipedia you’d think he went and did something extraordinary. Which I guess he did . Oh, he gets a mention here because Mainz was his home town and still is home to the oldest printing machine in the world . 

A year ago, almost to the day, as I cycled from Spain to Norway I found myself in the outdoor camping shop called Sine, here in Mainz. On that day as I was been sold a tent and sleeping bag and gas cooker by a very good salesman called Giesler (pictured below) a lady walked into the shop and said something to him in German that made him smile. When I asked what it was she had said he replied that he had sold her a pair of boots a year prior and she was popping into to let him know how thankful she was as she was loving the boots. “That has made my day “ he said at the time . “Clearly you left an impression” I replied. Very impressed that someone would be moved to come back so long after purchasing something and thanking the sales person.  He was clearly a good salesman and moved me enough to take a photo that day with him and my bag of goodies. 

My ride north to Norway last year  involved a lot of sleeping bag and tent accommodation once I left Mainz. Both tent and sleeping bag we’re my saviour on many occasions . A year on and finding myself in Mainz once again I purposely sought out Giesler to thank him for his recommendations . So I walked the 20 mins to his shop, showed him the photo from this week a year ago, recounted the boot story to him and told him his tent and sleeping bag recommendations were equally as good as his boots suggestion which is why I had sought him out and to thank him. “This has made my day” he said as he hooted with laughter and joy. 

A year and 4 days on. Thank you Giesler. 

Housing similar to what I see often in Sydney. #sarcasm

.....and more 

Asparagus season in Germany commences mid April and ends June 24 on St Johns Day. “When cherries are red , spargel is dead “ according to German farming folklore. In the interim and during those 9 weeks, Germans consume just over 70,000 tons of asparagus . White asparagus the favoured choice. Not thin either. 

Even public housing in Mainz has a certain flair and penache to it.

Back home it’s called a Laundromat. 6 days on the road and it’s time to visit the German version. 

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