Cycling is fun, a world trip by bike is perhaps the best thing there is, although there are times when it is not fun at all. Of course, there are challenges, heavy climbing, cold nights in the tent and eating pasta every day when cycling. We enjoy such challenges and we generate energy from it, but there are certain factors that make us lose our energy every now and then. These are our ten irritations on the bike.
10. A material breakdown day
We are happy to say they rarely exist, but it make us tear and fear when the day has arrived. An everything goes wrong day. Just one big error. A 'Hmmm', become a 'aghr' and those changes soon in a 'aaahhh what again?!'. Squeaky bike, rattling tires, fenders with cures, Loosing screws, blowouts, screaming cars, rain, no bread to find, and ultimately a grumpy Olivier or Zoë. Actually is it all do with it, to that day that everything comes together.
9. (Nocturnal) visit of animals
The dog that pulls up his leg next to the bags, the cat that puts his nails in the tent, the mice that stole the food unexpectedly in the morning, a highway of ants through the stuff, the sheep that stumbles over the tent pegs or the wild boar that is curious to put his head in the tent. In the end, we can usually laugh about it.
8. The wet tent
The good old wet tent is a real classic. Those who love camping just take it, but fun is different. In the morning after an enchanting night under the starry sky at a dream location, we are brought back to reality. On the knees dry the tent while the dew drops fall on our nose. It is a real killer, but fortunately there are worse things. With our Hilleberg Tent we even have more problems with condensation because it's a four season tent, but that gives us warm nights in the winter!
7. Agressive dogs
South-central America and Asia have to many stray dogs. Out of fear or out of territorial behavior they react aggressively to passing cyclists. We are not afraid of chasing dogs and they are also easy to stop by cycling. Nevertheless, we get tired of it now and then. Every day we pass a dog or fifty, so count it if at least half of them come after us. Above all, you have to be careful all the time. Hopefully our unique tip against aggressive dogs works for you.
We don't have to plow with the bike through sticky mud plowing often, but when it suddenly comes our way, it is a very bad surprise. Suddenly the dry road has been transformed into a large mud pool. We reluctantly put our first foot in the thick mud, when it sinks completely and we drag the bikes behind us, the thrift is gone. Wet socks and a caked loam layer under the mudguards is the result. Then you have to stop every hundred meters to remove the mud layer, and continue the same ritual as long as the mud road continues.
5. Patagonian headwind and rain
The wind always comes from the wrong side, isn't it? Especially those days on the plains where the wind has a free game. We can have a bit of wind, but after we have had a few hours of 'challenge', it has been good for us. We change positions many times, the odometer keeps an eye on us and we eagerly look forward to the one corner where the wind mights turn a little bit more in favour. It are those moments that you can not get ahead. And without progress, that's the frustrating thing. When the rain comes with the wind, it is completely horrible! Because rain the day turns grey, mountains aren't visible anymore and it gets cold. But, there exists clothing against the rain, but unfortunately not against the wind.
4. Exhaust gases and dust
You see him coming, the old bus with its thick black cloud. A cloud of pure CO2 and NO gasses. We gasp for breath, but just as the bus passes, the driver has to gear up another time. The smell simply beeps into the nostrils and gives a stifling urge for fresh air. No less serious is the passing traffic on unpaved roads. A large dust cloud leaves a trace of a few meters behind. Flying sand dazzles our eyes instantly. With pinched eyes and bated breath we let ourselves roll forward, hoping we do not end up in the gutter. Exhaust fumes and stagnant sand are the most horrible in the middle of a steep climb up, where we already need fresh air.
3. Washboard and sand roads
Although the underground is part of the adventure, the washboard roads and the loose sand are not reserved for our bikes. We find them very unpleasant and secretly annoying. Though it is doubtful what a mountain biker thinks of miles vibrating over 'cow ribs'. We are looking for a way out in the roadside, but we do not always get away with it. Belly shaking or pushing the bikes is the result, until a blessing occurs.
2. Irresponsible drivers
Reckless cutting us off the road, disrespectfully they honk us into the roadside and irresponsibly take us over. Dutch sometimes complain about the driving style of Belgians and the Belgians about that of the Dutch, but it is notting compared to the violent, unprecedented driving behaviour of the Brazilians, Peruvians and most probably other nationalities in South America. Our safety is regularly in their hands. It is scary and sad at the same time how the cyclist is inferior to motor traffic. It is not for nothing that avoiding two-lane roads is one of our five-gold cycling rules.
1. Biting flies
Biting fly is the name we give to a small fruit fly-like creature that bites to provide food. It is not a jab like a mosquito, but a bite from the skin, which then starts to itch heavily. The flies come to us in large swarms and can not be turned away from us. As a piece of fruit we are eaten and chased. The beasts are stuck to our bodies with hundreds. We scream madly around us and we beat ourselves a hundred times. Those moments we wish we were somewhere else, and an office doesn't sound bad then. In Argentina we meet the animals for the first time as we climb a painfully long and steep hill. Stopping is not an option. We arrive a the top with tears in our eyes and trembling with hunger. While mosquitoes are particularly annoying in the morning and in the evening, there is no escape from the biting flies during the day. This makes cycling really a horror.
What is your greatest irritation on the bicycle?