Biking through some storm in Germany

alex hays
7 min readNov 4, 2017

I woke up in Neustadt (north east Germany) to the strangest weather. There would be ferocious winds and rain for about 30 mins and then cut to 30 mins of extremely sunny, calm weather. This happened over and over again to the point of it being predictable.

It was lovely place the day before in the sun.

So I was laying in my tent, wishing the campsites wifi wasn’t super expensive, trying to figure out what to do. Packing up all your gear in the rain isn’t a lot of fun.

I decided to wait for the next bit of calm to happen and jumped into pack-up-super-fast mode. I got everything packed up and hopped on my bike just as rain started belting down, like clockwork.

The wind was behind me and I was flying. For those two hours I felt like Lance Armstrong when he was drugged up to the eyeballs. I thought about stopping to make some sort of sail out of my jacket but decided against it.

At a certain point the road started to turn and the wind was hitting me from the side. I suddenly felt like I was about to get blown into the road by some huge gust. The road I was on was the most highway-ish one I’d had to ride on, and cars were flying by pretty fast. I figured getting run over would have been a bit of a bummer so I found a tree to huddle under and look up hostels in the area.

I found one by the sea and headed towards it. I was met with a head wind that kept getting more angry at me which really hurt my feelings so I was happy when I finally arrived at this hostel.

Unfortunately for me Germany does some thing where primary schools (at the start or end of semesters) spend a couple of days at a Hostel so the kids can bond bond, which meant it was full. The lady at the desk explained this to me as I’d asked why there were a bunch of kids running around everywhere. She was so insanely nice to me and was extremely apologetic about it because I had the facial expression of a cat being made to take a bath.

She gives me a map and circled some hotels on it in a small town nearby. I am like urg I guess I’ll have to spend real money or try and camp in this madness. I get to the town and go by a couple hotels. All the lobby’s are locked up. I go to one thats open but the guy says its full.

I felt really down and like ‘fuck today’ at this point. I’d never really felt negativity like this anywhere else on this trip. It’d just been a long day and I’d made way less progress than I’d wanted. I kept going down this road, away from the town center, and saw some campsite signs which made me feel all ‘hallelujah’.

I get to one who’s front desk had just closed. I knock on the door like ‘yoooooooo’. There is someone inside and they open a window to try and say something to me but then a bunch of rain starts pouring in and they can’t get it closed because its stuck and they start saying angry stuff in German at the window. It would have been funny if I hadn’t caused it to happen so it just added more bad feelings on top of all my other bad feelings.

I could have set up camp and paid in the morning like I had a couple times I’d shown up late but didn’t for whatever reason. I thought she was going to be angry at me based on the way she’d conversed with the window but she was super smiley and nice. I was trying to explain I needed a place to camp (it seemed like more of an RV park) and some guy strolls up and is super cheery and filled with energy and spoke English. They turned my feelings around really quickly with their energy, it was neat.

I paid 4 euro to camp there and they gave me an extra shower token for free because they were like lol you muddy af. I got stuck biking through some hellish muddy terrain right next to the beach trying to find the hostel.

The guy starts drawing up a map of a patch of grass I can put my tent up and I’m like aight sweet and they start talking to each other in Germany and he says ‘actually, we have a old RV you can stay in, you can’t camp in these winds’. I turn it down at first as thats my nature, and I’d forgotten I’d promised myself I’d say yes to everything on this trip if something was offered. He asked again as a gust of wind threw a maelstrom of rain against the window and I quickly said ‘actually, yes absolutely’ and he gave me a key and showed me how to get there. (I‘m 90% sure it was Camping Stieglitz ❤).

I go there and sit in this decked out RV and put on the TV and start watching Bob’s Burger’s in German (the songs are funnier in German imo). I managed to find phone reception if I wedged my phone in this weird spot on the top of a window. I tether my laptop to it and live like a freaking king. My feelings are fully back to good ones. I really can’t express how much I appreciate these folks giving me this RV for the night, it was so insanely nice. It had heated floors for christ sake

Was a neat day!

I get on chat and ask Andrea whats going on with the weather (she lives in Berlin) and she asks where I am. We figure out I’ve been in this crazy red bit on the map all day where there are ‘stay inside, close the windows’ warnings going on.

I woke up the next day to pretty clear sky’s.

I managed to see and thank both the people from the night before, probably said it too many times to the point where it was weird.

I passed a bunch of big tree’s that’d been uprooted by the wind. My appreciation for the RV grew as I saw all the scars left by the storm on the land.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is the best bike-in-a-storm bike music btw.

I set off to Denmark and was hit pretty bad by rain again before I got to the Ferry. This was the only day I actually fell off my bike on some muddy ground. I saw it and thought ‘hmmm looks like that’s going to make my wheels slip out’ and then just biked straight into it. I was laughing as I fell down because it was so incredibly avoidable.

Morning after
Hell yeah

I googled to make sure I was fine with just my passport and got in line for the Ferry. I shoved my bike underneath some stairs when I got on because I had no idea what I was doing.

I’d stopped for coffee earlier in the day and searched for a ferry I could take my bike on and they all said ‘no bikes’ but nobody turned me away so I assume the internet was lying to me, as per usual. It had stressed me out a tiny bit though. I decided to try and bribe a local fisherman to take me across if the ferry’s didn’t work out.

It was pretty rainy in Denmark. The guy at the border didn’t make take the rain jacket off my face which was nice. He just said he could look into my eyes and compared them to my passports eyes. Such a romantic this guy.

I immediately got lost and ended up on an hour long loop that ended up where I’d started, right by where the ferry’s drop off. Good start to this country! Keeping with tradition’s I’d started back in Holland.

Cool bridge on the way to docks / docks.
Cute houses in Denmark
First night Denmark