Cycling towards Siberia vol. 3/3 (with no intention to reach there)

Třetí a finální díl o Paulieho dlouhatánské cestě na kole směr sever. Dojel? Nedojel? To se dozvíte v následujících řádcích.
Third and final part of Paulie's long long way by bike direction Siberia. Did he finish? Did he die? This and more is explained in the following lines.
"It was Friday around 4 pm when another spoke in the back wheel snapped. It didn't take long before a local cyclist told me about the closest bicycle shop, 40 kilometers away."

První Poulieho příběh o vykopání se z Prahy naleznete zde a druhé dobrodružství při cestě skrz Litvu tady.
First part of Paulie's adventure can be found here and the second story of his journey through Lithuania here.

With a headwind and heavily laden bicycle, I had just enough time to make it before it closed at 6 pm. I had to leave the coast and EuroVelo 10 and steer inland. I covered probably just 10 kilometers when I heard another loud crack from the back wheel, missing two spokes then. The wheel was hardly making it through the frame. Despite the initial bad luck, I was lucky to find the shop just before 6 o'clock. Friendly staff, understanding my situation, didn't hesitate and started fixing the wheel. Half an hour later I expressed my deep gratitude and steered towards the coast, cycling as hard as I could to reach the coast before dusk. I was happy once again and felt confident, that the wheel would hold for some time. Soon after though I heard a familiar noise again. I got off the bike to discover a third spoke giving up in a single day. I was shattered. I thought of Rob Lilwall's quote: “I have had enough of this stupid bike ride. I'm fed up with being tired, hungry, dirty, afraid and alone”. That evening I didn't make it to the coast, instead I hid myself under a huge windmill inland. I couldn't find anything better before the dusk fell. I didn't enjoy the night with the thundering mill just above me and the cars coming to the mill during the night. I was rolling from side to side the whole night impatiently awaiting the dawn to come. I set off early that morning, with the temperature low, the sky gray and the wind blowing from the southeast. My spirit was low indeed. I wanted to reach Narva, a gateway town to Russia. I no longer paid attention to the wobbly wheel, I had enough just worrying about my condition. After six hours of full effort cycling I arrived to Narva – on the Estonian side, but with lots of Russian features already. At least there was still an information office and well stocked food stores.
Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole rozbite kolo

It was raining hard, and I didn't hesitate and checked-in to the cheapest so called hostel and rested. I was lost in thought, and I was unsure about my attempt to cycle the whole distance of 160 kilometers to the heart of Saint Petersburg in one go the next day. I was worn out and tired from the last days, and I had a broken wheel and the wind blowing against me. If the wind continued blowing from the same direction with the same force, there wasn't even the slightest hope, even  if the wheel and me would last. I eventually calmed down and I tried to use common sense. First I found a bicycle shop in a big shopping mall, to find out the mechanic was gone for the day, but he would be present the next day at 10 o'clock. That was a positive even though I wasn't sure whether I could wait that long. I checked the weather forecast -  heavy rain, around 8 degrees Celsius, the wind increasing its force. Miraculously enough the wind was also supposed to change the direction overnight from southeast to southwest. It seemed there was a justice on this Planet after all! I slowly but surely made up my mind, I wanted to give it a go, I wanted to have it done. Who cares about rainy weather when there is a hot shower waiting at the finish line? If the wheel holds I would make it, I felt it. The Day D was tomorrow...

Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole mesto Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole Saint Petersburg
I woke up early and ate a big bowl of oat porridge. I hesitated but I waited impatiently in front of the store to fix the wheel. Together with a guy of my age we carefully changed the broken spoke and centered the wheel. I was anxious hearing the squeaking spokes getting it into place. I scanned the whole wheel and pressed every single spoke to make sure there wasn't too much tension in any of them. The guy refused payment, but I put all of my Euro coins into his pocket as I walked out of the store, and he wished me good luck. It started to rain. I spent about thirty minutes getting over the border, this time I was due to take a pedestrian lane. Unnecessarily I had to squeeze in many doors, ascent and descent some stairs, but one had to obey the authorities. I had to sign on a piece of paper to prove it was me on the passport and I got a lesson from another officer to push the bike, rather than ride it through no man's land. The rain intensified but the wind was blowing from the southwest as predicted. I pedaled hard and counted down the kilometers. I was so close in terms of the entire trip, but still so far when compared with my daily mileage. Every hour or so I stopped at a sheltered bus stop to eat. As I neared Kingisepp the tarmac deteriorated dramatically. The potholes and diagonal cracks were sometimes so big, that even trucks were driving at very low speed. I was worried, as I wouldn't make it at this pace before the next morning and I might not make it at all if the back wheel collapsed. I was extremely cautious, but there was nothing more I could do, there was only hope and the road ahead. Luckily, the road improved again after twenty kilometers and my pace increased. Closer to the final destination, there was more traffic and more wind pushing me towards the goal. I was soaking wet, but I didn't care, I didn't feel cold after all. I was so busy thinking how close I was, and there were many emotions coming in. I was almost crying thinking about all the people who stood behind me, all I have been through, and all those I could potentially help. I eventually fully burst into tears when I reached a Saint Petersburg sign. It was overwhelming to set a challenging goal, work on it and reach it. I was wet, tired and dirty, but I screamed aloud and celebrated, just me and the sign, a quiet companion but one I longed to see for weeks! After a while I resumed cycling. I felt that I crossed the finish line already, but I was still 40 kilometers away from the center and it was getting late.
Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole - city Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole fousac

The traffic became very dense and I was getting constantly lost. I even happened to enter a five-lane ring road, it must have been comical to see a cyclist there zipping between the lanes. At that time my front tire was softening and few minutes later went totally flat. I changed the tube and discovered a tiny piece of glass in the tire, it was the first puncture on the whole trip and thus deserved too. At some point the traffic eased, it stopped raining and the setting sun lit the whole city, a spectacular sight. I passed some old bridges and beautiful buildings and ended up on a monumental square. I didn't know any of it's names, but I asked a young couple to take a final picture on the huge square, and when they asked me the “where you heading” question, I politely answered: “I'm going nowhere, this was my final destination!”

Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole - přivítáni na letišti Pavel Drastik smer Sibir na kole - zpátky doma
If you want something, reach out and grab it
 
The only failure in life is not trying
 
 
Pavel spent 5 weeks on the road, visiting 7 countries and covering approximately 2500 km. He cycled on a borrowed bicycle and slept in a borrowed tent, some of the other pieces of equipment were as well borrowed. Most of his meals he prepared on a little gas stove he was carrying, his bathroom was Baltic sea. Apart from Pavel's personal goals, his intention was to raise money for Olga Havlova Foundation, Olga Havlova was a wife of the first president of the Czech Republic - Vaclav Havel. Pavel chose to help to a young person, who ended up on a wheel chair, after an unfortunate accident.
 
So far the expedition has raised 13 566 CZK.
Please feel free to help with Pavel! You can directly transfer your donation to the account of Olga Havlova Nadation:  
 
Account number: 625625625/0300
 
For international donations please use a money transfer to:
 
IBAN CZ72 0300 0000 0004 7843 7033 BIC/SWIFT Code CEKOCZPP Bank Account Number 478437033 Beneficiary Bank Name ČSOB, a.s.  
 
In both cases please state “Siberia” in the field for notes or message to receiver.
 
Your help will be immensely appreciated!