We got spoiled in the Netherlands: bike lanes two meters wide, perfectly paved, geography so flat it weirdly feels like downhill. This past week the Real Bike Tour began: ten hour days in the saddle, nights spent camping, sometimes legally. We dirtbag it up, crusty with sweat and sunburnt, perched outside supermarkets while we devour the day’s bread and cheese and whatever bottom shelf booze tickles our fancy. Does this grassy knoll have Wifi?
Places we’ve to or through in the last twenty days: Leiden, Den Haag, Delft, Rotterdam, Breda, Roosendaal, Bergen op Zoom, ‘s-Heer Arendskerke, Middelburg, Vlissingen, Cadzand, Sluis, Damme, Brugge, Moerbrugge, Beernam, Gent, Asse (where you can bet your arse we rested ours), Brussels.
Places we’ve been to or through in the past ten days: Tostedt, Rosenburg, Sottrum, Fischerhude, Bremen, Oldenburg, Rhauderfehn, Weener, Beerta, Groningen, Leeuwarden, Harlingen, Afsluitdijk, Middenmeer, Alkmaar, Wormerveer (where we got trapped in a Fair Wear clothing company’s compound), Amsterdam. We’ve made it to our third big city, our distance traveled just under 1000km.
We stayed in Hamburg for an extra day to scramble for Schengen visas. Very pleased to announce our legality. Turns out procuring a 90-day extension is a shockingly easy thing for American citizens. God bless the USA, huh.
Places we’ve been to or through in the last ten days: Roskilde, Ringsted, Tystrup, Næstved, Stensved, Nyråd, Vordingborg, Sakskobing, Maribo, Rødby, Rødbyhavn, Puttgarden, Burg auf Fehmarn, Heiligenhafen, Oldenburg, Lütjenburg, Schwentinental, Kiel, Preetz, Plön, Glasau, Lübeck, Ahrensburg, Hamburg.
The last days in København zipped past. I found myself a very serviceable blue bike, thanks to Simon Søndergaard of Buddha Bikes, who got it mostly outfitted for the tour and made recommendations for the rest.
Jon departed to continue adventuring in the sun-flooded reaches of Scandinavia. Madison returned to København after a successful workshop in Århus. We biked around the city a bit, enjoyed the company of our Couchsurfing hosts, interviewed random strangers at the Lakes about why they love København, visited Rasmus Grusgaard at Fab Lab Nordvest again, and of course packed our panniers at the last possible minute.
Andrea and I sped west into the blood orange sunset, jagged Alpine peaks clawing the horizon. It took a long time for the sky to lose its visceral glory and a long time for my heart to stop palpitating with the anticipation of once again being surrounded by mountains. I’d arranged this rideshare from Genova to Torino through BlaBlaCar, and when I disembarked his Fiat, Andrea gave me a goose egg from his personal farm, which I later presented to my Couchsurfing host Fabio Manniti like an offering in a fairy tale. If we sat on it all night, maybe a dragon would crack through the shell. We scrambled it with with dinner instead.
MadRim Productions is in Europe! Madison arrived in Copenhagen three weeks ago, and I joined her there a couple days later. Since then, we’ve attended conferences, seen the Dalai Lama and the Crown Prince of Denmark, gone walk-about and work-away, hitchhiked across borders, and made many, many friends.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure we’d pull it off until we were pulling it off.
But it’s happening! It’s happening! It’s happening! What? Oh my goodness, what’s happening? Madulthood is happening! It’s been four months in the making, and we’re in motion, sailing downhill on bikes without brakes. Madison and I pulled it off, and now MadRim Productions has a Kickstarter. A kick-ass Kickstarter to purchase the camera equipment we’ll need to make a documentary about this phenomenal transnational industrial movement.
Madulthood is a state of permanent transition. Everything changes so fast; one minute you have a job in the Rockies and no place to live, the next you’ve agreed to move into a cabin in the woods with no cell reception. The trees outside the giant windows stand ankle-deep in a carpet of white. The wood stove pops, releases smoky cedar flavor. Everything looks so peaceful, but it’s a transitional peace, the calm before the storm. It’s crunch time for MadRim Productions.