Day 2. Højer to Ribe.
Distance 61.4km. Average before broken wheel 19.5km/h, for day 16.9km/h.
We woke refreshed and did the breakfast thing, with the sun was shining again our spirits were restored. As we were eating and packing up a minibus pulled up, and the camp official pointed out politely to the group that had bothered us the night before that they had to pack up and leave within a half hour. A half hour later the minibus returned and shortly afterwards the group left. All very businesslike.
A little later we put the bags on the bikes and wheeled them to the toilet block to do some morning ablutions. Then back out of the campsite via the reception to pick up our camping card and back to the NSCR.
The first section after a short bit of tarmac was gravel. We discovered that Danish gravel roads were quite different to the Norwegian ones we had encountered last year. Whereas the Norwegian ones tended to be well packed and a mix of sand and gravel the Danish ones generally were made of pebbles and not very well packed.
At least we had the wind with us and the weather was if anything too hot. Occasional traffic meant we had to move off the hardest bits and try and find a solid surface at the very edge of the track. We were fortunate not to have fallen off at any point.
We then hit a tarmac section behind a tall dyke and with the tail wind were able to hit thirty kilometres an hour on number of occasions. The only impediments to faster progress were the gates that appeared across the road at infuriating regularity (rather like the sea dyke routes in the Netherlands). The large gates were locked but a double set of gates for bikes was next to them. Routine: stop, get off bike, open gate one, wheel into space between, open gate two, and wheel bike out. Then back on the bikes and back up to thirty kilometres an hour. A couple of times it was possible to cycle round all of the gates which we did.
We made the comment at one stop looking out over the mudflats on the seeward side of the dyke and the polders on the other side that we'd paid all this money to get here and we were still cycling in Holland. Adding to this feeling was the melody of the song 'Amsterdamse Grachten' wizzing though our heads (as it was to at other times in the trip an excellent tune). Still trying to look on the bright side, the Danish polder landscape landscape was a little bigger and rougher round the edges than the Dutch variety.
Further up we were about to follow the route onto a rough off road section. We then saw a sign that meant we had to follow a diversion (also for 2007). Thus we were spared a section of the route in the dunes due to repair works to dykes in the area. It took a little while to find the proper diversion but once found we headed off in good spirits at a good pace.