Day 22 Tuesday 14th June 2016 – Hirten to Hallein 79km (2094km in total)
Knowing I’d still be tired after yesturdays excursions, I decided to have a lie in. It was very kind of Markus, especially as he left fow work at 7.30. He told me to lock the door behind me and it would all be good. A very trusting host! But then, it wasn’t like I could strap a TV to my bike!
As I looked on the map, the route to Salzburg was longer than I was hoping for, but I had all day as I was meeting and staying with my sisters friend, Nora at 8pm. Salzburg would be my first and very needed rest day before the alps.
My clothes had dried out and I was fully fed by the breakfast Markus kindly left me. I felt very comfortable in their house and it was a great Warmshowers experience. Elizabeth, his partner was in Vienna, so I didn’t see her but had a quick chat on Skype yesterday! A musician and ukalalie teacher.
However, as it was getting on to 12, I knew I would have to leave soon. I packed up, and after briefly meeting Elizabeth’s mother who lived next door, I locked the house and got going. My latest start so far!
Yesterday I had noticed a bump in the tyre when I was riding, but thought the inner tube must be slightly squashed so didn’t bother checking. However today, on closer inspection I saw that the tire was completely worn and one area looked like it was about to burst. The rubber was very smooth and could almost see the inner tube in some places. Salzburg was still 60km away but knew it had lasted for 160km yesterday so should be fine for today.
Within 2km, I heard a small explosion and the I had a flat tyre. This was my very first puncture this trip, and it wasn’t even from a thorn or spike.
Getting off all the paniers I swapped the inner tube over and put a puncture repair patch on the tyre itself, in hope it would prolong the time until it went again.
The road started to rise, just as Markus had warned, but once over the views of Austria came. They were stunning, some of the best so far. These are the first mountains I’ve really seen recently. Norway and Sweden obviously have some but as I was in the south, flatter coast, meaning I missed most of them.
It was only another 6 km before the tyre bust again. I knew it was pointles just continously replacing the inner tube as I only had two spares and there was now a hole in the tyre so they would bust very quickly. I got slightly desperate at this point as I had no idea how on earth I’d reach Salzburg with a airless tyre!
In my desperate state, I remembered seeing a GCN YouTube video on filling the tyre with grass as a last resort. This was definitely as last resort! I set about filling the tyre with grass, getting a few very odd looks from passing drivers. It partially worked but I couldn’t fill it anywhere near enough to be able to ride it. Giving up, I decided pretend nothing was a problem and had lunch!
After a few more failed attempts, inside the tyre, I put a plastic bag, a cloth rag and several puncture repair patches to cover hole in the worn tyre. It looked fairly promising and I was back on the road, having done 10km in two and a half hours.
This seemed to do the trick but as there were so many items in the tyre, it bumped every turn of the wheel. I cycled at snail pace the rest of the day, very aware that the tyre could burst again at any moment.
The crossing from Germany to Austria was very easy (a small unmanned bridge over the river!) and the path along side to the river went all the way directly to Salzburg.
Although the sun was out in the morning, as I entered Salzburg, it disappeared behind the dark rain clouds. It was around 6.30pm and I was ment to meet Nora at a student party at 7.30. Just enough time to write up the blog!
However, the rain suddenly poured down, with the heaviest rain I’ve seen in along time. There was a bridge with plenty of space to huddle under, and it seemed half of Salzburg had the same idea!
Assuming the rain would soon stop, like all the rest of the rain showers I’ve had, I stayed under the bridge for a good hour. However it kept on raining, even getting heavier. Knowing I’d have to cycle to their house there’d kindly let me stay in, about an hour out of Salzburg, I decided to miss the party and head straight to the house. Taking the train just because it was raining would have been cheating!
To cheer me up from the rain, I put some music on from my waterproof handlebar bag to keep me going. Drivers must have thought I was very odd, smiling and singing as I went along!
The house was full of people and it was great to be around so many friendly faces after an eventful day! Nora was a great host, making a meal to fill me up. Nice to be able to stay in a warm house, with a bed and wonderful people, instead of sleeping in my tent in the rain, eating couscous!