Before taking the train to Hamburg I wanted to repair my poor little Doppler who had broken spokes, slightly loose brakaes and an unhappy luggage rack… The main repair was obviously the spokes and I desperately needed a good bike shop who could either give me a pair of spokes or a new wheel. The first shop I took Doppler to greeted me with strange looks as I wheeled him in. They seemed utterly surprised when I asked if they could help. After telling them what needed to be done they said “Sorry that’s impossible! The standards for your bike are at least 20 years old! Nothing can be done unless we change the whole peddling system! Even then, no.. it’s impossible”. Although I was expecting that answer I was frustrated as I knew very well it was possible and it wasn’t as disastrous as they were acting it out! We didn’t insist and went looking for another shop.
The second shop we found had none of the corporate look the first shop had. It had all kinds of bicycles standing, hanging, old and new – the complet opposite of the overly clean, tidy with a small variety of new and up to the current perfect professional standards bicycles of the first shop. Here, the workspace was the first thing you saw when you walked in. I briefly told the man working there what I needed and after a quick glimpse at Doppler he turned to me and said “That’s fine leave it with me come back tomorrow at 5pm”. I didn’t know what to say so thanked him and was about to leave when the friend who was with me told him about this project – I gave the bicycle doctor a sticker with the address to the website and left.
The next day I arrived slightly late but found Doppler in perfect condition. He’d adjusted the spokes, the brakes, my gears and the luggage rack! When I asked how much I owed him said “Nothing, save it up for your project”. I didn’t know what to say. I asked if he was sure, he didn’t understand the word ‘sure’. He smiled and asked me where was the next stop. After a very brief chat, we left happy and in an amazingly good mood! I promised I’ll write him a postcard and I think you should all do! The shop is called Zweirad Schollmeyer and the address is Am Heiligen Kreuz 17, 29221 Celle, Germany.
And next time you need a bike repair in Celle you know where to go!
The next day, I took the train to Hamburg where I recorded a german singer songwriter (the recordings will be up soon). I stayed two nights then set out for a three day ride to Berlin!
The cycle ride was beautiful, flat and easy! On the first day I followed the Elbe cycling along variably well looked after cycle paths. I overtook and mostly was overtook by other cyclist following the Elberadweg, a route running for nearly 1000km from the start of the Elbe to where it reaches the northern sea. It was fun crossing the Elbe as the divide between East and West Germany used to partly run along it – for two days I freely crossed it on bridges and ferry boats, 20 years ago this would not have been possible and no one would have imagined doing it unless they were some sort of clever spy! Anyways, the first night I spent not far from a beautiful little town called Dömitz on the eastern side of the river. This was my camping spot:
By the end of the second day, I left the Elbe and started to follow an other river for a bit, the Havel. It flows past Berlin, however, following it all the way would have taken me on a long detour. So I decided to swim in it then leave it. I got carried away that day and cycled 40-50 km over the 100km I’d initialy planned to do. I slept next to a field and got to the outskirts of Berlin by 10.30am the next day!
So there you go. I am now in Berlin and already have lots of recordings lined up! First one is tonight! So I’m going to be busy, I also have a last series of recordings from Amsterdam coming up in the next hour! and don’t forget to send a postcard to the bicycle shop man!