Crossed the Elbe river on the Glückstadt ferry and continued into the night until about 10pm. Feet sore, butt sore, and the trike is probably sore too from the pounding it took from several really bad cycle paths. Otherwise nothing exciting happened.
April 22, 2008 - stage 3. Woke up at 5am, packed up my sleeping things (tent cover, sleeping pad and sleeping bag) and hit the road. Stopped for a leisurely breakfast and was on the road again around 6:30 for the quick (6 hours) ride to Tuesdays stop in my old hometown of Oldenburg.
On the last hour of the run, cruising down a country side road at just over 25 km/h, I saw the road swerve off in a different direction, yet the cycle road continue ahead in the direction I was headed. Normally I try to stick to the better of the two (usually the car road, as it is smoother and therefore faster, which is why velomobiles tend to prefer them over cycle paths), but decided to take the more direct route and the quality of the cycle road looked good.
And then the fun began.
I made a quick, and often practiced, drifting zig-zag that would normally have me changing roads without losing much (if any) speed. As I made the transition from car road to cycle road I noticed (too late) that the two roads were at different heights, the cycle road being a good 8-10 centimeters lower and connected to the car road by a sloping path.
Into the air I went, albeit briefly, landing on two wheels. I reached for the brakes but it was too late. My angle was too steep and I knew I was going over onto my side. I tried steer the trike towards a nearby tree, hoping to bounce off of it and remain upright. I over-shot the tree, fell over, then rolled over one-and-a-half times down the enbankment and into the canal three meters below. Thankfully the water broke my fall. :p
I quickly climbed out of the cockpit as the trike began to sink. Standing up, I grabbed the trike to keep it from falling over, only to find myself sinking into the soft mud on the bottom of the canal. When I stopped sinking at around thigh-height, I began to search around in the water for things that had fallen out of the trikes cargo spaces - not too easy when you need to keep one hand on a 40kg vehicle that is also taking on water.
I heard the deep growl of a diesel engine and shortly the top half of a school bus came into view, going the other way. All I could do was look helplessly, smile, and wave at the few gaping mouths that looked my way. I didn't expect any help there.
Shortly after the bus left, I heard a voice off to my right call out 'You ok? Do you need help?' I replied, 'yes please' and she promised to get someone down to me. About two minutes later, some neighbors from the other direction of the voice appeared on the enbankment and helped out by dragging up anything I tossed out. A man came with a rope and with the aid of another, pulled the trike out, then myself. Almost lost my sweatpants *and* my shoes when they tried to pull me out too quickly from the canal mud!
A little pull here and there, and the trike was rideable again - aside from the extra 3 kilos of mud and water. The neighbors pushed the trike to their driveway as I collected everything I salvaged. With their help, the trike was washed off, and I was able to strip down and wash off the mud before changing into some dry clothing that was packed into the upper side of the trike.
Aside from a missing front wind-screen, a cracked side wind-screen, a broken nose-fairing mount, and some cracks in the fiberglass, the trike held up rather well. I, too, came out lucky with only a scratch on the forehead and a bruise on my left arm.
After some laughing and sighs of relief over a cup of coffee, the neighbors tossed the trike up onto a trailer and drove me the rest of the way to my stopping point in Oldenburg. After a good night's rest I'll tackle the repairs needed, and hopefully be on the road again by Wednesday afternoon.
If I am feeling well rested, I will try a bit longer ride each night to make up for lost time, but I do not expect to get to the Exhibition hall before Saturday. I'm certainly not going to push myself after such an eventful afternoon!