She may have had enough riding for a while, but I had not. I needed some parts to repair my Brompton’s transport case: one of the small wheels on the base had come loose, with a crack in the case. Since there was no hardware shop in town, I had to ride to Haderslev and back.
The sun may have shone on my departure, and I took my time, savouring the quiet of the fields. By the time I left the shop and mounted the bicycle for my return, the clouds were heavy and dark and the wind was up. I raced the edge of the blackest cloud, with a line of rain just on my back. They caught up with me as I turned the last corner in Christiansfeld, but I was quick enough to fold the bicycle and step inside before the downpour began.
The first day was what they call a ‘positioning ride’. She needed a maintenance check on her new bicycle (a Dutch Batavus) at the bicycle shop in the town of Haderslev, since the village of Christianfeld does not have such a shop. Spare tubes, a pump and some chain oil would also come in handy.
I needed to make sure that the seat on my fold-up Brompton was in the best position and that the machine in general was running well.
That evening, we decided what to take with us and what not. We would leave our laptops behind, for it was to be a month without work. This caused somewhat more separation anxiety for her rather than me.
We were certainly not the conventional tourers, for we did not have matching panniers and outfits. She began with an old bag strapped to the back and a granny basket in front (rear panniers were bought on the ride). I had my special Brompton front bag and a small makeshift one with the heavy material strapped the to the rack on the bag. My ride last year along the ‘Mittelland Route’ through the middle of Germany had taught me what I did and did not need. Less of the former and more of the latter.