Today we had planned a shorter route, expecting heat and hills – both of which we got. In all, we did 47 km from Cheb to Aš.
We planned an early start at around 8 am, which didn’t happen when I took my bike out of the lock up and discovered a flat back tyre! This ended up delaying us until around 10.30, while we mucked around with the tire. First we took the tube out and couldn’t find a leak, so put it back on, pumped it up and left. By the time we were at the other end of the town it was flat again, so we took the tube out again, found the leak, but couldn’t find anything causing it on the tire. Kris used the expensive Swab inner tube we bought the day before and it immediately seated in the tire perfectly, with no bulges like the other tube. We decided to go and buy another two of these tubes before leaving – which involved finding the bicycle shop again. Bicycle maintenance is one of the the more frustrating aspects of bike touring.
The paths today were very varied. We had a lovely forest ride just out of Cheb, then a ride alongside a road with cars, past lots of wheat fields, then another forest ride to the border. I almost missed the border it was so obscure but Kris pointed the sign out to me. There was a German policeman sitting in a car on the other side with a dog. He seemed to be looking for something specific – anyway he was friendly enough.
We were following the Grunes Dach Radweg, but the first part after the border was actually also called the Eger Radweg, as it followed the Eger river. Some parts were directly on the river and others took us away through forests or green wheat fields – with quite a bit of climbing to and from the river (which is also the German-Czech border). At one point we started following a track on the wrong side of the Egar river – it became a real walking track – Kris checked his phone and we doubled back to cross at a wooden bike/pedestrian bridge.
It was also very hot – we took four bottles of water with us and stopped twice to ask for top ups from householders who were outside (one working in the garage). So in all we drank 8 bottles of water during our ride.
After Silberbach there were very long straight dirt roads – they did not follow the contour but went straight up and down – really cool going down but hot riding or pushing the bike up.
We crossed the border into Czech again on an forest path with a very small sign. We rode through the town of Aš before reaching our accommodation. It is a typical border town, a little seedy with crumbling buildings, lots of glass on the ground. It also has very steep streets – going down was ok but walking up the other side was taxing at the end of the ride.
We are staying in a Casino around 2 km out of town, basically on the border. We have stayed in all types of accommodation on our tours before, but never in a Casino. It is really reasonable – actually costs less than a youth hostel I looked at in Germany. Our room is big with a huge bath. You have to walk through the casino gaming area to get to it. It is “all inclusive” – which means that we can help ourselves to a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And beer is included. We enjoyed sitting in the quiet dining area alongside the gaming floor and ate well (including lots of fruit). This would be one of our cheapest days food and accommodation.