Another hot day, but I did follow through and rode my bike to Hamm. Only from there, after 80 km in the sweltering heat with a couple of steep hills, did I give in and caught a train the rest of the way. Traveling with regional trains inside the German Bundesländer is, to me, surprisingly cheap. I paid 17,50€ to get myself, my bike and the trailer to Köln. The bike compartment was, however, an experience it its own right. Apparantly, for the obvious reason being the low cost involved, taking the train to start your bike tour in a nice location is quite popular. There were 9 bikes on the train before I got in, and more came on on the way. It was an open compartment, with most of the bikes piled up along one side, some people standing up in the middle and some sitting on fold-up chairs on the other side. But luckily it was smiles all round and everyone helped each other with getting the bikes out of the train at the right station.
Leaving Bielefeld I rode through the center of town and had a look around, and then tried to get to the shorter route west towards Gütersloh. I failed miserably, though, instead getting lost in suburbia and then in the immediate countryside. In the end I didn't gain anything, but rather lost some time before finding the B61 west again. Before Gütersloh it was pretty nice, with a bunch of roadies out on sunday rides. West of G-town the road turned into a straight line, except near Beckum where there were as many hills as there were bends.
Getting off the train here in Köln and seeing the Dom with my own eyes was great. Riding north to find my CS host for the night was easy, with a couple of friendly locals pointing me to the right street as I got closer. Eva lives in a house owned by a college fraternity, so it's a big place shared by a bunch of students. After I had showered and washed most of my cycling clothes, we got in the car together with one of the guys who live here and went to a lake just north of town. Eva and G went swimming as I tried to get some sun on the whiter parts of my torso. On the way back we picked up a beer each, and at the house E and G whipped together a delicious dinner. A couple of other friends stopped by while we were eating, so the conversation around the table was lively.
Tomorrow I'm meeting Sergej in front of the Dom at around 10 in the morning. From there we'll head up the Rhein to Koblenz, and then on Tuesday to Bad Kreuznach.
Today: 85,13 km, 4h22m18s, 19,47 kmh avg, 38,3 kmh max.
Tour total: 565,73 km.