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Today has been the first day when I have had any kind of worries about the bike. It started this morning when I came out of the hotel and found that it had a flat tyre. I couldn't find any cause of it, or even find a hole in the inner tube so I don't know where all the air went. I'm beginning to think that some people will steal anything which isn't screwed down.
A few hours later, while riding along, I suddenly started to worry that I had forgotten to bring the nut which is needed to removing the cassette of gears from the rear wheel. This turned out to be true. It's a problem for two reasons. On is that I have been using the current chain and cassette for nearly a year now and would like to change it within the next week. The other, more serious problem is that if any spokes break like they did last year, I will need to get the cassette off to change them. The absence of the nut also means that the huge adjustable plumber's wrench and another equally large tool which I have brought along are completely pointless. I decided that when I saw a bike shop, I should try to buy the necessary nut.
Just before crossing the motorway a few miles from Leipzig, I happened across a large retail and leisure complex, which included this grey-and-yellow shop which, if I understood the sign correctly, seemed to be claiming to be the biggest bike shop in Germany. It was closed.
A little way further down the road, I found another large bike shop, which was open and where I caused quite a lot of confusion. One problem was explaining that I wanted to have the capability to change the cassette but didn't want to actually do it at the moment. Another was that I tried to take the wheel off the bike in the car park to show it to one of the assistants and then found that it was locked and the key was in my bag at the other end of the shop. However, the main cause of confusion was that the spare cassette which I have been carrying turned out to be of a type which they had never seen before and which was completely incompatible with my bike. The bag of tools which I have brought on this trip is starting to resemble my caving kit, in that it consists of a lot of heavy metal items which look like they could plausibly be related to the sport but which can't actually be identified.
In the end, we found the correct tool and the correct type of cassette but then I wasn't able to pay for the cassette because the shop didn't take credit cards and the only cash machine which I've seen in Germany out on the street where I could reach it easily had rejected my card too.
I think I'm in a better situation now than I was. I can replace spoked now if necessary and just don't have a replacement cassette.
UTC Time: 16:02, Thursday 03 June 2010
Local Time: 18:02, Thursday 03 June 2010
Estimate of longitude: 12° 10' 32.95" E = 12.175820°
Estimate of latitude: 51° 20' 44.20" N = 51.345610°
Possible error on position estimate: 100 metres