“Am proceeding on foot, repeat, on foot!”

Finally got a PC net connection so feel I should expand on that previous post a little.

I was about 40km from the border in Czech heading for a german town called called Chemnitz where I had some accomodation booked. I filled up at a servo for the final run to town. It had already been a pretty trying day, what with the 33 degree weather and that whole road closure incident.

So when I walked back to my bike and it wouldn’t start I really didn’t want to believe it was happening. In the back of my mind I recognised that symptom (won’t go into too much technical detail, but the battery had been killed by an overzealous charging circuit) but just pleaded with the gods for it to be something else.

Some other (German) guys riding their way also to the MotoGP turned up at that point and one of them push started the bike for me. It kicked over easy enough so I got back underway pretending that everything was all right.

Half an hour later I get to the border checkpoint and start slowing down as I approach the gantry. The bike stalled when I pull the clutch in and I immediately knew the worst had happened. No chance of restarting it and I coasted to a stop halfway between the Czech and German gantries.

I hopped off and sat down and tried to wake up, which is what I usually do in these situations. Didn’t work unfortunately.

(please excuse me for being so melodramatic here!)

Yeah so I stood there and looked around for a while. Kind of hoping that someone would approach me and ask if I needed help. Or at least demand to see my passport and cuff me for looking so obviously dodgy.

But no-one did for a solid 10 minutes. I pulled out some of my papers and tried to work out who I could call, or more precisely, who I could call who could actually help. I concluded that no-one really could so gave up on that line of thought.

Eventually a couple of old German guys were walking past looking at me in my sorry state and I asked if they spoke any English. One did and quickly understood my predicament. Lot’s of faffing about later the bike was stored there and we were on our way.

As soon as we’re clear of the border patrols, they pull over and the driver gets out and opens the boot. You know, deep south american horror movie style :-) Turns out he was merely fetching a beer for himself, and anyone else who was interested. They had loaded up on cheap Czech Pilz over the border, and god knows how many they’d already been through. I declined as they were far too warm.

So from there we drive another 10 minutes to a local pub, where we go in and have a drink. I was rather keen on getting to my hostel instead of sitting with these guys amongst lots of German and very little English – and besides I didn’t want to risk losing my hostel bed bearing in mind that it is MotoGP weekend here. Wasn’t really sure it was a great idea to convey that sense of urgency to these relaxed and helpful German chaps, though.

Anyway from there it transpired we were heading to the driver’s friend’s bike workshop, though it was 6pm on a Saturday so highly unlikely he’d be around. He wasn’t. Long story short we dropped the other two home and the non-english speaking one gave me a lift to Chemnitz.

The hostel wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for. Largely vacant, it had a couple of groups of people who were also here for the race, but only a couple of German boys who spoke English. They informed me that there is no such thing as general admission tickets here and my only hope (assuming I even found a way to get to the track) would be to buy a ticket from a scalper at around 100 euros. The place is totally deserted now and too far to walk into town again. Early night for me I should think. Nice and clean though and rather pleasant. Should have the room to myself.

So I admitted to myself that it’s generally better on TV anyway and didn’t end up going. Ironically a very similar situation to the Phillip Island GP last year where I was staying in Brenno’s house on the island all set for race day, but ended up staying in and watching it on TV because the weather was so crappy. Ah well live and learn :-)

So the bike is not coming with me and will quite possibly wind up being given away for free. I’ve been trying to avoid working out just how much that cost me, but failed because the numbers are all nice and round and easy to compute. Let’s just say that I could have done these 2000km in a Melbourne taxi for less.

On a train to Berlin tomorrow at midday. Things definitely ought to pick up from there, I hear it’s a fun place to be. Flying from there to London on Saturday night.. be nice to see some familiar faces soon.

So it’s been quite a lesson so far and I very clearly went about this whole thing the wrong way. I can say for certain that I won’t be trying to buy a bike in a another country again!

4 Responses to ““Am proceeding on foot, repeat, on foot!””

  1. Lucas Chan says:

    You poor bastard. =\ Hope you get some half-decent transport sorted out. Sendin’ ya lots of good Melbourne vibes.

  2. Simon says:

    That sucks big time. Ah well, chalk it up as experience and enjoy Berlin.

  3. Kev says:

    Sheez sorry to hear about the bike carking it, Jules. “Oh man, poor Jules” seems to be the mantra of the day here at the office.

  4. Purple Jules says:

    Stop ya Ho Bag whinging or I’ll slap you like the bitch you sound like.
    Get a new Reg and Battery and bolt them on the VFR. Or get the Mafia guys to push start you. Think bush mechanics OK?

    On the beer front, Helen says ‘Staropramen’ is good in Berlin. You must also (apparently) drink a ‘Berliner Weisse’ which sill taste disgustion but let you know what a typical Summer Bev tastes like. Get the ‘Waldmeister’ flavour. The green one.

    By the sounds of the description I just heard “Beer with Cordial” I’d give it a wide bearth until after a few.

    If you want somewhere to stay in Berlin, call Helen Coker’s friend Florien. She assures me that he will pleased to see another Austrlian. He was out here in ‘01 for a year and could show you around.

    2900 4047 or 0179 771 5274