Day 35, Lubartow to Siemiatycze, PL

A village on the plains
Today sometimes felt like I was riding in western Kansas

It was another interesting riding day in eastern Poland. The highlights: Part of my riding day felt like I was riding on small roads even though I was still riding 19, the same big road I've been riding since Rzeszow, almost all of it was peaceful because I was riding on Sunday, I had my first, potentially serious, mechanical problem with my LTH, and I met and visited with a Polish tourist

A beautiful day for riding

After a good breakfast, which I ate watching a lovely Mass, on TV, I packed up and rode off on into one of the nicest riding days of this tour. The west wind was still blowing, although not as hard as it blew yesterday, but the sky was cloudless and the roads were almost empty.

After about 30 km of easy riding, I stopped at a service station to get snack food for the day; four candy bars and a bag of bread sticks. Two of the candy bars were double sized energy bars and I ate one as my first snack. Riding on Sunday in rural Poland reminded me of riding on Sunday in Montana. The only things open were bars and service stations.

After another 25 km, I stopped for lunch at a restaurant at a service station. I actually rode on without stopping, found myself in a road section under construction, and road back to get lunch. I'm very glad I did because lunch was good and it was a long way to the next place to eat!

Construction right after lunch

Fancy expressway with no traffic

There were only a few km of construction and that was followed by a few km of a fancy expressway which was easy riding, but boring. There was almost no traffic on that section. In the middle of it, where there was an entrance road, I rode up behind two cars that were stopped, one in the road and the other on the shoulder. As I rode up, the driver of the car stopped in the road flagged down another car and said something to the driver. Then they both drove on. When I passed the car on the shoulder I noticed that its driver appeared to be unconscious, or dead. I didn't stop.

8 km of messed up road, but light traffic made it easier to ride

Really nice riding after the expressway and before Losice

After Losice the traffic was heavier but there was no shoulder

The expressway ended as the road went to old Polish road in bad condition. That section lasted 8 km, but really wasn't bad riding when there was no other traffic because I could avoid the bad parts. I think it would have been unpleasant riding on any day but Sunday.

After the bad pavement section , the road was excellent, but with no shoulders. This was the part that reminded me of Kansas, although the wind, still from the west, would have been much stronger in Kansas ;-}. After riding this section fro 10 km or so, it occurred to me that there were not going to be any services until the nature of the road changed. I stopped to check my map and saw that I might have another 30 to 40 km before I'd find any services. That was no big deal since I had plenty of food and water and the riding was easy.

About 20 km later I came upon a fancy service station / bar / restaurant which everybody on the road seemed to stop at, so I stopped. I had a beer and ate some of the bread sticks - yummy - while watching all the action. When I rode on, I discovered that the service station wasn't far south of Locise and traffic on the shoulderless road was a lot heavier north of Losice. It wasn't a big deal, but it would have been nice to have a little more time for my body to process the beer before I had to deal with traffic on a shoulderless road with narrow lanes. Beer does work fro me as a energy source, but it also makes me a little woozy for half an hour or so. Oh, and it tastes really good.

After Losice, I came to a sign warning of a 10% grade down hill. That didn't surprise me since I had been climbing gently for quite a while. The grade wasn't 10% - I'd say 6% - and the hill wasn't very long. As I was coasting down it at 25 mph, I decided to pedal to get some more speed. As soon as I started to pedal, my freehub locked up. The freehub, which is the part the rear cassette mounts on, allows the crank not to turn when coasting. With a locked up freehub, my crank was turning pretty fast and I couldn't stop it. I held my legs out to clear the cranks and coasted on down the hill. at the bottom of the hill I braked to a stop and tried to free up the freehub. When it stayed locked, I rode on figuring I didn't have that far to go and I could pedal all the way.

Even with the locked freehub, I could, and did, shift to a lower gear and, when I started shifting, the freehub unlocked. It made a funny noise and I felt a new vibration when freewheeling, so I pedalled most if the time. The noise and the vibration went away after a while and now, the freehub feels normal. I think some foreign material jammed it and then was ground up. While this doesn't bode well for freehub longevity, I'm going to hope it will not be a problem on the rest of this tour. Since this is a new XT hub, it has a large hollow axle and won't take a standard Shimano freehub ;-{.

The Polish tourist

19 went back to having wide pavement with good shoulders a few miles before Siemiatycze. About 1 km before Siemiatycze, I saw a tourist coming down the other shoulder. Traffic was light, so I crossed over to meet him.

Gregory - the anglicised version of his Polish name - lives in southern Poland near the Czech-Slovak border. He is riding from northern Poland back to his home, doing 200 km days on a fully loaded road bike. We had a really enjoyable visit, talking about routes, the west wind, the rain, and touring in Poland and Slovakia. Gregory told me there was good place to stay and to eat just up the road, so I wasn't concerned with the time, but he had a ways to go so, after talking for half an hour, he headed south and I headed north.

I found the place Gregory told me about, but they were having some kind of party and had no rooms. I rode on into Siemiatycze, looking for place to stay. In the middle of town, there was a sign for "Pensjonat Cezar" 1.2 km off of 19. I followed the signs and found a good place to stay. It is the most expensive place I've stayed n Poland on this trip, but the room is nice and it has an ethernet port. The restaurant is also more expensive, but very good. I am taking a, much needed, rest day here where I can use the internet to work out times and places for meeting friends and my daughter on the rest of this tour. It now looks like I will ride - possibly using the train for part - to Wroclaw and then to Hamburg where I will leave my bike with friends. From Hamburg, I'll take the train down to Tubingen.

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