So today I rode in rain, through a massive wine region, had a motorcycle version of a minor fender bender and am now staying at a hotel that has parking…. just not for motorbikes! Its been an interesting day.
The rain that only barely showed its face yesterday showed up this morning just as I was finishing breakfast. It was the kind of constant rain that looks like it is going to go on all day so after packing up the bike and standing around for a bit after checking out I figured it was time to just get on the bike and go. It sucks because the roads around Nurburg are amazing and the little towns are fun to ride through and I was hoping that that would continue. When it rains my focus tends to be just on the riding and keeping warm and that is it. Luckily I moved away from the rain by the time I made it to Cochem and the Moselle River. The first goal of today was to ride along the river to Bernkastel-Kues. In Lonely Planet they talked this up as a very cool road and it didn’t disappoint. The entire area is all little towns and wineries / vineyards bordered by some amazingly steep cliffs. Its one downfall is that it is also the destination of piles of tour buses.
From Bernkastel-Kues it was on to Strasburg. There isn’t much to say about this ride other than I have now passed into my third country and am now in France for just one night at this point. As I got closer to Strasburg the traffic began to get worse which isn’t that surprising. I had been on the road for a while and just wanted to get to the hotel as it was looking like it was going to rain again so I pulled out onto the painted lines and went for it. It’s amazing! If we could do this in Canada there would be so many more bikes on the road. People expect it, even pull over in the lane to give you more space as you come up behind them. When you get to a red light you simply pull in front of the first car or stay beside them and drag off in front as the light turns.
That’s all great until it goes a little south! I made it to the hotel just as a downpour began. Not seeing any place to park and go in to check in I figured I could be European and just pull onto the sidewalk. Trying to be considerate as possible I rode as close to the wall and scraped my side bags on the wall, a sign of things to come. As I checked in I was told that there was parking for the hotel but it was public parking and they don’t usually allow motorbikes but I could try. I was kinda annoyed because I pick these places so that I can park and I think that that was flagrant misrepresentation, but what to do as I had already paid and was here. My instructions were to go around the block and park in the middle of the road with all of the other bicycles and one motorbike, apparently lots of others have done this before with no problems. So I went around the block, tried the parking garage and was of course turned away and so went to the middle median and drove up onto the curb to find a space. I felt a little strange about doing this and so when I saw a space that was closer to the front of the hotel I figured I would ride down to it and park there. Unfortunately I got my first ever real lesson that my side hard cases are wider than my handle bars and when they hit on a street sign I was pitched back onto the road up against a car waiting for the lights. The surprised woman at the wheel didn’t know what to do and quickly I yanked the bike upright. We both quickly surveyed the damage to the car which looked mostly like scuffs and she just seemed to say it was all good and went off.
So that is it, just parked the bike for the night, got a lock from the local sports store just in case and went off to wander Strasburg and get some food. Back to Germany tomorrow, I think I had better luck there.