Friday, 16 March 2012

Directions (and mechanics) from Heaven

My friend said to me before I left on this crazy adventure that I should "expect the unexpected." I don't think unexpected quite covers the events of the last few weeks. When I wrote last I had had some quite hard days, I had little idea before I left quite how lonely and stressful travelling alone can be. The past few days have been much better though, and really quite amasing at times. Before i left the guys in Hulshout I had managed to find places to stay for two nights so I set off on Tuesday morning towards Maaisk at the eastern edge of Belgium, there I stayed with a Dutch family. I actually slept in the wendy house in their back garden which was bezar but strangly cool. Everyday I am astounded by people's kindness and the provision of God - This was one of those moments... Jos, (the maker of the wendy house,)was planning a cycling trip to Berlin in four weeks time and had just that morning received in the post a detailed cycling map from Arnhiem to Berlin. I had been told about this map by lots of other cyclists on my route but had no idea how to get hold of it, and here it was! Jos let me buy it off him and so now I can follow small country roads and get off the big ones, I can't tell you how good that feels. Jos travelled with me for a while the next morning and sent me on my way to Wesel. I crossed from Belgium into Holland and then into Germany! There I stayed with another family in their beautiful home which was full of paintings and murals by paule who is an amasing artist. The next day on a beautiful days ride along the canal I was in high spirits, I was in awe of the way God had looked after me and lead me to amasing people but as I was riding I said to him "ok, I know you provide for me but I want to know you better not just for your provision..." and I think I even said something along the lines of "I don't care about provision anymore..." I carried on for the rest of the day enjoying the ride and the sunshine and looking forward to meeting my next host and then I took a sharp turn to fast and my back wheel literally folded underneath me. "shit!" I think was probably my first thought but remarkably it was only momanrty cursing. I was quickly laughing at myself thinking so ok maybe I shouldn't have said "I don't care about provision." I picked myself and my bike up and after asking for directions I wobbled my way to the nearest town to find a bike shop. Had this happened two days before I think I would have just burst into tears and given up but in my heart I new it would be fine, crazy I knew and I looked quite an odd side merrily wandering through town with my two wheeled trike. I managed to find a bike shop and the guy that ran it turned out to be a total legend. He couln't fix it that day as it was nearly 6 already. It he sent me on my way with fine German beer from his fridge. I left the bike with him and headed down to the canal to find a quiet spot to camp. And there I sat drinking good cold beer and eating German and honey, just me and Jesus! I was almost glad my wheel had broken although I think "surely there was a cheaper way of arranging this?" I woke up in the morning to find a policeman outside my tent, which was a bit of a shock but he was quite understanding when I explained what had happened. So now my trike has shiny new (and much stronger) back wheels and it turns out the funny noises I'd been hearing the past few days were my spokes slowly giving way. and it was a good job they broke when they did and not on the main road or in the middle of nowhere. So now I am staying in Hamm with a guy called Ossi who is an artist as well. He tried to feed me a whole chicken and we've had a great evening sharing stories and watching a film with his friends. Tomorrow I go on to join up with the route from my map for the last stretch of the journey.


  1. Well done Josh!! and glad you have the stronger wheels now...when I was riding with you last week,I wasn't too sure the bike would last till Berlin...but now you should be OK.
    Nice to read you find a lot of people ready to help you out.

  2. Glad you're having a much better time, enjoy the last leg of your journey.

  3. Way to go buddy! I'm kinda stuck in Poland, busy building bikes, but if you're nearby or/and need to use a workshop and an advice from a fellow easy rider, you just pop in, you're always welcome.