I saw a lot of these, and rode into the wind all day
Today was not a good day of riding, although it ended pretty well. I've just finished eating supper at the Hotel Victoria in Lubowo, a small town about 10 km west of Gniezno. Supper was good and my room is very nice and reasonably priced. If I had stopped for the night in Gniezno I would have had to pay more than twice as much for a room that wasn't as nice. Been there, done that, three years ago. Gniezno is a neat, and very historic, town but, after fighting headwinds and head-cross-winds all day, I didn't feel like doing much but getting a good meal, time to create this web page, and a good nights sleep. I'm glad I found this place which will provide the things I need. It is also just before the roundabout where I plan to head toward Wroclaw on small roads tomorrow.
Torun as seen from the bridge over the Wisla
That is the railroad bridge at the right side of the image
Torun, like Gniezno, is a historically important Polish town with a neat old city. It is also one of the better medieval cities in Europe. It is fun to be there and, even though it does have a "medieval shopping mall" side, it is also just a nice place to hang out. I look forward to coming back to Torun next year to visit my new friends there.
This was my second ride from Torun to Gniezno. Three years ago, I wanted to visit a small town called Zamosc so, after going south from Torun on 15, I travelled east on 10 and then south on 5. This year I travelled south on 15 and east on 25. The wind was stronger and much more of a problem this year, but even without the wind, I think going on 10 and then 5 is a better route for a bicycle. 15 is not as god a road as 5 and, when 15 joins with 25 for 13 km or so, the traffic is very heavy and much of the road is not in very good shape. Riding in heavy traffic on a narrow, hilly and bumpy road with no shoulders and a strong head-cross wind is not fun! Moreover, that section and a construction section near Gniezno beat me up badly. Just about every part of my body is sore tonight,
15 started like this and then got so so narrow that a big truck filled the lane.
It never had paved shoulders, but sometimes had rideable unpaved shoulders.
My LHT, taking a break on 15
Note that the truck in the image fills the lane and there are no shoulders
Riding south on 15 wasn't bad or dangerous despite what I just said. Well trained divers with a cooperative rather than competitive attitude can make riding under conditions that would be suicidal in some parts of the US, safe. The head-cross wind on 15 was coming from my side of the road, and the vehicle speeds were usually pretty low, so I wasn't getting strong wind blasts. If I hadn't had to work so hard just to cruise at 10 mph, I would have been happy.
Near Gniezno on 15, under construction
I wanted to stop for lunch in Inowroclaw, but all I could find there was McDs and a fake cafe at a service station, so I rode on. In the next town, Tupadly, I checked out a bar and a small pizza place - both open with no one there - before stopping at a down home place where there was a small cafe and a small store. As I expected, the cafe served only drinks, so I went to the store and bought bread, yogurt, and beer. Then I sat in front of the cafe at a picnic table and ate bread and yogurt and drank beer. It wasn't great, but it beat McDs.
The fellow I visited with at lunch
The yogurt was just a 500 gram container of plain yogurt, which I 'ate' by pouring it from the cup like container into my mouth. in the process, I got some yogurt on the tip of my nose. A fellow who was hanging out at the cafe came over to tell me I needed to wipe it off. We had no common language except a few words in English and a few in German, so it took a while for me figure out what he was saying. Then we started talking about my bicycling and about his brother who had been an important Polish soccer player until he was badly injured playing soccer. He now drives a TIR truck between England and Germany. We both enjoyed the visiting and the challenge of trying to communicate with little common language.
There were two events today that got my adrenaline flowing. The first was on the combined 15 - 25 when a big truck coming up behind me didn't slow down even though another big truck was coming towards us. My brain did a quick calculation that told me both the trucks and my bicycle would soon be sharing a road that was barely wide enough for the two trucks. There was no shoulder but there was hard packed dirt so my tires didn't dig in when I got off the road at speed - and, of course my speed was only about 10 mph. The truck coming from behind me still moved over as it passed me and then swerved to avoid hitting the other truck. It tires went off the road on my side as it tried to straighten out after the swerve. I don't know that it would have hit me if I stayed on the road, but it would have been a close call at best.
15 goes east after the combined section, and, on that section, the wind was sometimes a dangerous head-cross wind coming across the road. The wind blasts from big trucks coming the other way felt like I'd been hit by something a lot more solid than air, and when big trucks passed me, my bike would be pushed and pulled by the wind from the trucks. The wind blast from a truck coming toward me hit after that truck had passed me while the wind buffeting from a truck coming from behind me happened as the truck was passing me.
The second incident also involved big two trucks, one coming from each direction. I was hit by a hard wind blast from the first truck and immediately passed, very closely, by the second truck. There was probably less than a foot between my bags and that truck and the combined wind bast and wind pushing and pulling made it hard for me to keep my line while he passed. I held my line.
Leaving, bypassing really, Gniezno
I had planned to stop in or before Gniezno. There was a nice looking hotel 20 km before Gniezno, but that was too soon to stop. Then there was 8 km or so of construction - with no place to stop - and an expressway till 15 joined 5 just before Gniezno. At that point I was back where I had been three years ago - going through Gniezno on 5 - so I knew what my options were. I chose to keep riding and hope for a better option on down the road. That worked out well.