After a few days at Susi in Switzerland, I continued my bike ride on July 30. I was now approaching the most dreaded part of my trip: the Central Massif in France. During a distance of 233 km I would bike just over 3500 height meters. Google maps continued to show me challenging roads and I had no idea what the terrain and ground would be like and I had thoughts in mind that I might not be able to ride over the top of the mountain with my bike trailer.

My bike is gone!

On August 1, in La Grand-Croix between Lyon and Saint-Étienne, the thing that wasn’t supposed to happen happened. While I was taking a break at McDonald’s, my bike was stolen. I was quite shocked and I remember that I hardly got angry before my brain started working on possible solutions. After the police arrived and I submitted my report they drove me to a hotel where I spent two nights.

An hour after the bike was stolen, my friend Petra in Bremen had set up a crowdfunding campaign. For 24 hours, friends I know and people I never met contributed with almost 1000 Euros. When we closed the campaign a week later, I had collected just over 1200 Euro. The support I received during this time was extremely important and I got new energy to continue my trip. I’m so tremendously grateful for the willingness of people to give out of a desire of being in service. Even if the source wasn’t a joyful moment, it certainly was one of the most memorable events during my trip.

The next day I got help from a couple from the hotel. Although their car was broken and in need of immediate service, they drove me to the police station so I could make a police report. The main challenge after the bike was stolen was now to find a bracket between the bike trailer and the bike. According to a website, there would be parts in a bike shop in Saint-Étienne. From the police station I walked (and got a short lift) the distance to the bike shop. They had no parts, however, but the bike dealer could speak English and promised to help me when I called around and asked other bike shops. In the end, I got a hold of a bike repairman who had the right part in Lyon.

I got on the train, found the bracket and went to the closest bike shop and bought the first best bike I could find. It took a couple of hours to bike back to the hotel and after a last night at the hotel I was on the road again, heading south.

Conclusions

When I think about this event now, almost six months afterwards, I am a little fascinated. After the initial shock that lasted a few minutes, I became very goal oriented. I can’t remember spending many seconds feeling sorry for myself, but instead I did what needed to be done. I think there were mainly three ingredients that helped me in this:

 

  1. Meditation and conscious presence. Meditating helps me not identifying myself with my emotions, but instead being focused on the present moment.
  2. NVC. Being in touch with my needs helps me to orient myself. I was focused on my needs connected to my big goal which supported me into taking necessary actions.
  3. Support and connection. When Petra started the crowdfunding I experienced enormous encouragement from people around the world. Even though I was alone out on the road, I’m part of something greater than myself, a part of a bigger whole.