We left the ship today. It was comfortable on the ship, every night we knew where we going to be, where we were going to sleep. Especially the latter half of the trip, the ride back to Amsterdam. We already had maps of the cities, and knew how to get to a restaurant, et cetera.
The first order of business was to pick up our bicycles. Theoretically we could have left it until tomorrow morning so we wouldn’t have to worry about locking the bicycles up in Amsterdam overnight, but we weren’t quite sure the shop did everything the way we wanted them to, so we wanted some time before we had to leave.
But they seemed to do a pretty good job. They charged us a lot of money; by the time we were done it was almost 500 Euros for both of our bicycles. 320 of that was for labour, the rest was parts. We had given them carte blanche, since they couldn’t phone them for the go ahead. “Imagine you’re going to be bicycling 2000 kilometres over the next month, do what has to be done.” Most of it was my bicycle; Bethany’s only had her rack fixed and a good tune-up, although hers did cost over 100 Euros. Me, I got new brakes, new tires, new tubes, new rim tape, a new cassette, new cables, my bearings packed and a good tune up. We were happy with what they did except for two things: they were unable to get me new clips for my shoes, and I wasn’t happy with the tires they put on my bicycle.
I had ordered Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires for my bicycle, in 20 by 1.75, which is larger than the original tires. They claimed that these are no longer made, and put on the Schwalbe basic line tires. As far as I’m concerned, those tires are for kids: the maximum pressure was 40 psi. WIth 14 kilos of bike, 30 kilos of luggage and 90 kilos of Bryan on the bicycle, I’d pinch flat that very quickly. Plus, the basic line doesn’t have the Kevlar flat protection that the Marathon line has.
The store had a Marathon Slick in stock at 20x1.35. I made them phone around and find me a second tire at a competitor’s, and they found a 20x1.5. Perfect, I put the bigger tire on the back, and the slick on the front. The competitor was also able to get me in another Marathon by noon tomorrow, so I’ll have a spare as well.
That killed our afternoon. After some delicious Indonesian food, Bethany did some laundry and late night shopping while I changed the tires on my bike. That was quite a challenge, those new tires were very stiff. I actually broke two tire levers trying to get the back tire on. But I did it.
For our night’s entertainment we decided to get some night photos of Amsterdam using longer exposures and the monopod. I think we got some good ones. I was kind of getting nervous: even though Bethany was taking crowd and scenery shots, one of the ladies in the window was taking it personally and I was afraid that she’d be sending someone over to make it very clear to us that pictures were not welcome!
Finally, we repacked our bags to get ready to get on the bicycle again. My brand new jeans will be mailed back to Ottawa.