Today was a very different riding day than yesterday. It was mostly just a get on down the road day where I took it easy on mostly good roads. I started about 9 AM and quit riding about 4:30 PM. I could have continued on the bug city - Kedzierzyn-Kosle - another 25 km away, but it was better to stop here at a 'hostel' - 20 E with breakfast - and get a chance to walk around town and get a great pizza - 4 E plus 1.25 E for beer (all paid in PL, but I've converted to E to make it easier to see how cheap touring is here) - for supper before having to get to work on this ride report / web page. I feel like I should be doing at least 100 km a day, especially on days like this, but I'm no longer willing/able to push that hard when I don't need to. I actually covered the same distance, about 80 km, today as I did yesterday. However yesterdays ride was much harder and about 2.5 hours longer than today's ride. Both were good days of riding but yesterday was special and today was mundane ;-}.
I started out today by riding to the center of Paczkow to check out some of the stuff there. In particular, I wanted to see the town tower built around 1520. To put that in American perspective, Christopher Columbus was still alive. There are many older things in this part of the world, but a lot of the have 'been restored' while that tower has not. Also, at that time the Polish empire was going strong and what is now a pretty mono-culture Poland was then a very diverse collection of cultures all living in what is now Poland.
After riding around Paczkow a bit, I headed for highway 41 and got lost. I kept turning the wrong way when using my GPS display set on north at the top. I've been using it, and its Garmin predecessor that way for several years, but not in midieval towns. This morning it just wasn't working for me, so I switched to display oriented in the direction you are heading. That, combines with my compass, made it much more straight forward to find the best way to 41 and get on down the, excellent, shoulders on that two lane expressway. 41, and 41a and 40, were the roads I used all day today. Most of the tme they were easy riding with good shoulders and moderate slopes. Sometimes the sholders went away, the lanes narrowed, and the pavement was not great. Riding was still OK, even with moderate traffic, but most of time, riding conditions were near ideal. Yes, sometime they were so ideal as to become boring..
The first section of todays ride was to Nysa. I knew I'd been there before but it wasn't till about ten km down the road from Paczkow that I experienced dejavu. I was passing a big lake and, as I took a picture of it, I remembered taking a similar picture when I was riding in the opposite direction. Thinking about it, I realized I had ridden 41 from Nysa, past Paczkow last year. On that ride, I didn't go into Paczkow, but now I do remember riding past it on 41. Strangely, I don't remember the 8% hill, but that day had a lot of big steep hills and I may have turned off 42 before those hills.
I was still having trouble that kept me from using my 11 tooth cog. That trouble started after my bike fell over in the park yesterday, so I thought it just knocked things a little out of adjustment. Today, I tried adjusting the rear derailleur limits screws and that didn't help. Then I realized that something must be getting the the chain path. I was riding in light rain at that time, so I pulled over into a tree covered area to look for what was in the chain path.
Deja vu image
Nysa in the rain
Then I remembered that I had pulled into that same area last year to take a break after Nysa. Nysa had been traumatic to ride through and the big hill climbing out didn't help. I quickly found the problem - the hook from the bungie cord I use to support my Townie pannier had moved down to where the chain was hitting it when it was in the 11 cog - and fixed it by moving that hook back up to where it couldn't cause the problem. Tonight, I bent the hook to keep it permanently out of the chains path.
When I left that place, I was quickly on the long, steep, downhill into Nysa. After that downhill I spotted an Aldi store and, since today is a Sunday and not much is open, I stopped to get supplies. Then I remembered that I'd stopped at that same Aldi store on the way out of Nysa. When I got into to Nysa, I was careful to stay on route using my GPS. That wasn't easy since it was raining and a bridge I needed to use was now one way the wrong way because of construction. I went across the bridge riding very slowly behind people walking across it on the sidewalk, and put my GPS in my handlebar bag where it was protected from the rain but quickly accessible when I found a place sheltered from the rain. I had a much less traumatic trip though Nysa this year and left it on 41 which was much easier riding than the route I got to Nysa on last year.
Bike at rest stop after Nysa
I looked, in Nysa, for a place to eat, but found none. Last year I ended up eating food at a service station there after to failing to find anything better on a weekday. This year, with my supplies enhanced by my stop at Aldi, I stopped under a tree out in the country, and ate an apple with nutella, a banana, and some bread with cheese. 25 km later, I left 41 to go into a town and have another service station meal/snack. They had a good coffee machine and prepacked small subs, so it wasn't a bad light lunch. It was 22 km from there to here,so I didn't need to snack again.
New road, very nice Just after my lunch stop
That last 22 km was, in several ways, the best riding of the day. Most of it was on good quality pavement with light traffic and the later parts of it were curvier and hillier than most of today's ride. The scenery was good on most of the ride today, but scenery works better with hills. Riding on the flats is easier, but boring, so riding on gently rolling to moderate hills is, for me, more fun and not a lot more work.
Hot air, hotter pavement
Nice riding near Glogowek
At several points on my ride today I was within a few km of Czech. At one point I was with a few hundred meters. If I still has some Czech currency - changed it all from Zlotys ay the PL border - I would have been tempted to go into Czech just to get some better beer. Polish beer is good, but not as good as CZ beer, and it costs more than CZ beer. Oh well, it is still better than non-craft US beers and cheaper.
Tomorrow I may stop in the big city and look into the possibility of getting on a train to south eastern Poland. The riding here is fine and people are great, but I've been here and donne that before, so I'd like to get nearer. or even into Ukraine for some riding where I haven't been before. I don't know how practical getting a train will be unless I luck out by getting some English speaking help. Maybe I'll luck out tomorrow.
My, most excellent, host last night and this morning (good breakfast!) speaks Polish, English and Italian. He went to university in Krakow and he, obviously, is good at langages. He is also a really good guy and a bicyclist so, if you are in Paczkow - there is excellent bicycling near there in both Poland and Czech - I highly recommen the Korona Hotel. It is only a one star hotel, but the service was four star and breakfast was three star.
My host tonight, at the Fantazja hostel and restaurant, has only a bit of German, but his daughter lives in Chicago - lots of Poles live in Chicago an Milwaukee - so he is fond of the US. This isn't a fancy place, but, when I requested breakfast at 7:30, he suggested 7:45 so he could get fresh bread for my breakfast. I take that as a good sign...