Just two wheels

Resting and rusting

Nov. 26, 2022

Welcome to our third week in Praias das Marcas. As always when travelling, we had to struggle with one or the other little stone that was thrown in our way. And in good Portuguese fashion, a decent cobblestone pavement is slowly forming from it... We hope that things will improve a little towards Spain. After all, we are here to ride our bikes and not to rest and rust.

Saturday (Nov 19)
With the cold and coughing things slowly got better, but we still spent most of the time in bed between eating, sleeping and drinking.

Sunday (Nov 20)
At the end of the week we slowly pulled ourselves together and diligently started dismantling the old luggage rack and installing the new luggage rack. We also tested whether the quick-release for the bobsled actually fitted into the axle of the rear wheel. And we were lucky! A somewhat tight box, but it fit :-) At least one sense of achievement of the day!

Bild von Bob

Monday (Nov 21)
On Monday Andre came back to Praias das Marcas because the big city was obviously a bit too much for him. In the evening we wanted to improve the seat of the quick-release for the bobsleigh and then unfortunately had to find out after a few tries that the thread was simply worn out after 10 years of good service for Tilman and nothing more could be done. As a result, however, the plan to continue with the bob trailer faltered a bit, because without the right quick-release skewer, there was no way to attach the bob... Unfortunately, it was now so late (in German time) that we at Croozer couldn't reach anyone anymore and so we went to bed a bit flattened.

Tuesday (Nov 22)
Our morning started with an odyssey of phone calls. One after the other, we encountered several problems.
Number 1 was that Croozer has the quick release, but cannot be delivered to Portugal by ordering online. You would have to write them an e-mail, then you get an invoice, then you make a transfer, then it has to be confirmed by the billing department, then the order can be processed, then the package has to be handed over to the shipping department, which then takes care of the shipping takes care of. However, you cannot order with express shipping to Portugal (for reasons). I'm sure you understand that we had less confidence in the plan... Especially since the first steps would have taken a week with German bureaucracy alone, not to mention the shipping itself.
So we thought: ok, there must be a bicycle dealer in Germany who has them. Then we could have someone pick it up locally and have it delivered to us with DHL Express. After what felt like 20 phone calls, however, we had to realize that there is apparently no bicycle dealer who has these quick releases.
Domenico followed our suffering and suggested that we drive to a bicycle mechanic in Sintra. We had nothing left to lose, so we set off and met a very competent bicycle mechanic who also had a few ideas on how we could at least get ahead. We agreed that we would come back with our tandem in a few hours so that he could take a good look at it. So we drove to Sintra on our tandem. And guys - after such a long time of waiting, it felt sooooo good to be back on our tandem and riding and at least getting somewhere! We don't even know if you can imagine it so well if you're not on a bike trip yourself. After Rui (the mechanic) took a close look at the problem, he immediately had a great idea ready: There is another quick release with attachments for a trailer. While not specifically ours, it looked like it could at least work with it and make progress. So we stuck with him ordering it to his workshop (the delivery was within Portugal, so it shouldn't take that long) and then we'll try it. Satisfied and confident, we left the shop and drove back home to Praias das Marcas on our tandem full of joy.

Wednesday (Nov 23)
Since the package was supposed to arrive at the mechanic on Thursday and we had "licked blood" while cycling the day before, our plan was to cycle together with Andre to the palace in Mafra and on the way back Lena (from our Santiago flat share) bag and drive with her to Domenico. So we made our way to Mafra, always with a critical eye on the sky around us. While Andre just enjoyed riding Domenico's mountain bike and always sped past us, we noticed that it's been 2 weeks having a cold and we took a gear or two slower than usual.

Bild von Der Weg nach Mafra

In between, Tilman gave me a real fright when he said "Ida, your seat has cracks!" - and indeed, we could see small cracks where the bracket was screwed into the seat. This was probably our mistake of 3 weeks when we had to correct the front seat rods. We probably didn't pay enough attention to the fact that the plate is attached exactly vertically to the back of the seat. For now it will hold and at home we would come up with a solution. So we first enjoyed our new, little "micro freedom" on the bike and continued uphill, only interrupted by a small break in the rain, which we converted into a smaller snack break. Arrived in Mafra in front of the palace, we were initially overwhelmed by the dimensions of the whole thing. At second glance, we unfortunately had to realize that nobody really cares about the facade, cleaning it or renewing the paint on the shutters. The palace would probably be able to unfold its effect even more in full splendor!

Bild von Der Palast von Mafra
Bild von Mafra

After the extensive admiration, we got up again and enjoyed the downhill ride to Lena. We enjoyed her so much that we drove right past her. But that wasn't a problem, because she had a bicycle and was able to catch up with us again. Our gang of 4 drove back to Domenico through the increasingly darkening landscape. Since he wasn't home yet, we took Lena to the nearby farm where she would work for the next month. After that we went back, took a shower and then off to a boozy pizza meal with (almost) everyone involved!

Bild von Pizza

Thursday (Nov 24)
We were already very busy in the morning and tinkered with the bike to solve our seat tear problem, while Daniel enjoyed the romantic atmosphere in the garage and took a nap on a few pallets.

Bild von Teile des kaputten Gepäckträgers absägen
Bild von Wo schläft Daniel?

Even the loud clatter of tools couldn't wake him from this nap. When there was really nothing left to do on the bike, we went to the beach and admired the waves. Today in Nazare (about 100km north of here) very high and strong waves were announced. And indeed, it was the only way to go on the coast! We can't even capture the force of the water in pictures, but Tilman at least tried.

Bild von Schaum und Sand
Bild von Wellen 2
Bild von Wellen 4
Bild von Wellen 5
Bild von Wellen 6
Bild von Wellen 7
Bild von Fotoshooting

After that we chilled out for a cup of coffee, because Tilman and I were still hoping for the call from the workshop that our part had arrived. Unfortunately, that shouldn't happen today and at least my mood was a bit clouded. I hope you can forgive me after all the waiting and unexpected surprises of the last week(s)! A little wine and pasta at our evening (garage) party at Domenico's and the good company helped a lot to get over the frustration!

Friday (Nov 25)

Bild von Sonne

Finally sunshine again! We've missed him the last few days! That's how the last day of the week can start - with new hope for an early progress. Tilman spent most of the morning playing chess with Daniel. Andre headed into the Sierra on his mountain bike to try out some off-road trails. In the meantime, I sat on hot coals and eagerly awaited the call from the workshop. Instead, we had a "nice" conversation with our bike insurance company, who didn't think they wanted to pay for the broken luggage rack.... After Tilman found out the unwritten conditions of the insurance company in a persistent chat, what they pay and what they don't, Can we list the highlights for you:

  • they would tow us a few hundred km to the nearest bike repair shop in northern Norway so that our inner tube could be changed there, for example, but they would not pay for the material costs of the inner tube if we changed it ourselves
  • Instead of ordering a roll of chain and only charging the insurance company the percentage we need, they'd rather buy 5 separate chains (which of course is a lot more expensive) and then leave it to the mechanic to build in.

    You can get this and many other bad services from andsafe bike insurance!

    Since we couldn't do anything but wait anyway, we walked a bit to the beach to admire the foam and the waves.
Bild von Ida und Schaum

And indeed, after a short time, the good news came: Our spare part has arrived at the workshop :-)

Bild von Schnelllosung

and after a quick check it arrived our bike was also quickly determined: It fits! woohooo! That means for us that we can finally move on! A big thank you to Flow in Sintra! Before we continue, we wanted to spend our weekend in Lisbon and so Domenico took us by car because he still wanted to go there anyway. With a warm shower we organized accommodation with great public transport connections! And so we arrived in Lisbon in the evening after a nerve-wracking week. With the good feeling of being able to continue driving next Monday.

See you next week!