Day 6-2. Meldorf to Tönning contd.
Slowly but surely we started moving ever so slightly inland. Ahead we could now see signs of a town which we presumed had to be Büsum. To the left, far out on the mudflats we spotted a couple taking their dog for a walk. I guess it made a change from throwing tennis balls around a crowded park.
At a quarter to ten we saw the first signs of civilisation in the form of a cafe/restaurant and a flock of those cute beach shelters. Ten minutes later we saw some large industrial units and seconds later we officially arrived in Büsum. I'm sure Büsum is a lovely place but we passed straight through not even stopping to take photos. We then spent an hour cycling north for the most part behind a dyke, the path occasionally rising up which allowed us to take in the view. At one point we saw the ultimate in family cycling. A small wheeled tandem, with a kiddy seat on the rear rack, towing a kiddy trailer. We wondered if that would be our mode of transport in a few years time.
Looking out to sea at this point it looked like the mudflats had recently received some periodic maintenance. Deep channels collected water and the mudflats had been partitioned. Some of the partitions were covered in grass others just bare mud. A quarter of an hour later we climbed up to the top of the dyke again for a moment, before we descended again. However, a few minutes later we were back at the top of the dyke and heading for a large expanse of asphalt and concrete. We'd arrived at the Eidersperrewerk that closes off the mouth of the Eider. It was rather like a small version of the Deltawerken in Zeeland.
We cycled across the concrete structure past huge hinges and across the estuary. It took us a few minutes to cross the dam and all the sluice gates before we dropped down back down to the behind the dyke once more. Damae stopped a few times and then reported that there was something wrong with her bike. I was in must-push-on mode but Damae sounded rather more insistent than usual. We checked that map and found that Tönning was well endowed with bike shops. The decision had been made to take the alternative route and we doubled back on ourselves at a big junction. We cycled up behind the dyke along the north shore of the Eider and made our way towards the centre of town.
We stopped in the centre of Tönning to do some groceries, I was full on for pushing on whilst Damae was more and more sure that there was something wrong with her back wheel. This was a bit surprise as we'd only done around five thousand kilometres on the bikes and something wrong with the wheel was not good. After Damae came out of the supermarket we found a quite area with picnic benches and trees and sat there eating our sandwiches. I checked Damae's rear rim and discovered a rather worrying bulge. It wasn't that the rim was bent as on the other side the rim should have gone in a bit. But it was completely straight.
I realised that this was not something we could work around, not even in the flatness of the NSCR in Germany. I resigned myself to a rest day or two in Tönning and we wandered off to the tourist information to find a better map. Once we had found the bike shop that was open during summer, Zweiradtechnik Kraus, we cycled slowly to the shop to find it opened at two in the afternoon. As it was now one, and we had plenty of time, I took off the back wheel, and then the inner and outer tube and inspected in inside of the rim. There I found a crack along the rim about three centimetres long, at the corner between the brake face and the middle of the rim. This was definitely a terminal failure and the only solution would be a new rim and spokes. I also discovered, much to our surprise that Damae's 17 tooth rear cog now only had 16 teeth.