Monday 22 September 2008

Prague to Meißen: Conclusion

I re-read my posts, and realized that I ended without much of a conclusion. I suppose one question on people's minds will be, "Well, would you do it again?" I could be seriously tempted to do another cycle tour now that I have finished this one. Some of the people in our group had done similar trips: Prague to Vienna, the Blue Danube, Poland. And not-so-similar trips: Guatemala. I would like to explore more of England. We're already here... And I know some of my friends would enjoy it (hint, hint, SOAS gals!) I might also consider doing a ride for charity. My colleagues at work were not impressed when I came back and told them I hadn't raised a penny. They all thought I was off doing some selfless act; ha! I showed them. The only money raised went to Explore's coffers.

So that's the next question: would I do another Explore tour? I have now done two with S: Jordan & Egypt, and cycling in the Czech Republic & Germany. Overall I am impressed with them. They tend to be well-organized and cover a lot of ground. The itineraries are almost exactly what they advertise, so there are few surprises. My only complaint would be that they often choose hotels in inconvenient parts of town, i.e. out of town! Sometimes it would be nicer to have a base that is closer to the heart of the city. It certainly would have been nice in Melnik.

As for the physical challenge, the cycling was easier than I thought it would be. All my worries were quickly alleviated once we got on the road. I was disappointed that I missed one day of cycling, but what can I say? Some days my body hates me. At least I didn't suffer one of my three-day migraines on the tour. I was happy that I had invested in a few cycle-specific items: padded shorts, baggy shorts to go over the padded shorts, bike gloves. They made a big difference to my overall comfort and ability to ride for hours at a time. I also wore (wear) my helmet with pride. I might look like a dork, but I'm a dork with pedal power.

And perhaps that leads me to my final observation. Those of you who follow me on twitter know that my bike is in the shop, boo hoo. I came home to a flat tire; decided it was worth the extra money to get it properly serviced; and the shop discovered that the back tire is cracked. They are waiting for a new one to come in. Meanwhile, no cycling for me :( I am still curious to see how my bike feels after being on the big touring bike.

So there you have it. A better closure for this episode. I am happy I was able to chronicle so much of the trip on here; the strange thing about this trip was that the photos don't really tell the story. I haven't written so much while traveling in a while, but when the memories start to fade (oh no!) I'll be able to come back here and re-live it. Hurrah!

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