Wednesday, July 12, 2006

bikecam

Today I made special effort to go and see some of the touristy things to see in Linz. After missing out on the world's biggest pipe organ in Passau, I was determined to see the sites in this new town. Places like the Modern Art museum and the technology museum attracted my interest, but in Austria, those kind of places are closed on Tuesdays. Not to let this mishap spoil my day, I initiated Plan B: make a thing that allows me to attach a camera to my bike and pretty much anything else. The actual making part was dead easy, but getting the bits I needed was the adventure.

I dare any of you with limited German language skills to go into a Austrian hardware store (which you have to find in the first place), and try and explain what a clamp is. My drawing and explanation ("you know, the thing you errr.. clamp stuff with", making crab like gestures with my hands), only convinced the attendant I was partially mad. Eventually I told the guy not to worry and trawled the ailes until I found them myself. Next I needed a bolt which the camera screws onto. It seems that the photography community has conspired with the hardware industry to keep the monopoly on the type of bolt thread which fits camera tripod mounts. After about 3 places and realising that all Austrian radio advertising unfortunately sounds like a Hitler speech mixed with a Schwarzenegger movie, I tried a fixtures shop and the guy had a the right sized nut, but no bolt. "Sorry, that's an Italian thread.. You wont find them here in Austria". Not to be deterred, I went to a photography store (the self proclaimed "most professional in town"), and they wanted something close to the GDP of Nigeria for a bolt. So I returned to what I know and went to a bike shop. Within 2 minutes I was out back in the service workshop chatting to the guys about bikes. They gave me the right bolt for nothing and there were smiles all round. The dover-lackie works a treat and I've posted some of the results on Flickr.

I keep being reminded that I am effectively homeless. What I have with me is pretty much all I own and I have no place to really call home. My mail collects at a few different addresses in Australia, I have no job, partner or children to feel responsible for and the closest thing I have to a permanent place of residence is my sister's place in Melbourne and a room in a share house that is now someone else's. In Passau, I saw a shabbily dressed guy silently working away at one of the old bikes by the house I was staying at. It had been there for a while and wasn't in very good condition, but he was still determined to have it. And over the course of about an hour, he fashioned a makeshift key from a small piece of metal and picked the rusted old lock. I hope I didn't look like that to people in Munich while I was foraging for bits for Frankenbike. Today I rode under a bridge and past a little house made of blankets and sticks with a person possessions hanging from the ends. A fear came over me that maybe this was my future. Over the next few hours I got lonely and depressed, missing the easy one liners and knowing looks I can share with close friends. Sure I'm making friends on the road, but it all feels rather rushed and nothing can be worked on or developed. I must find some direction or goal to travel towards or something that is a constant that isn't myself. This wandering is fun, but not in my current head space. Maybe I need a travel buddy for a month or two. I'm heading through Czech, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Scandinavia and then heading to Turkey (maybe not to Turkey by bike), when it gets a bit cooler.

Applications can be left in the comments section.

2 comments:

Etayne said...

What a different way to travel. I urge you to try "Linzer Torte" before you move on. It's a delight. (Even better when made with a shot of Schnaps in the jelly filling, like my Grandma used to make.)

kt said...

Hey Dan, try the travellers connected website. you might find some fellow travellers there. i have a friend who has just headed over to europe right now, a guy called brett - you can get in touch with him via http://babso.livejournal.com/ or brett [at] breesestreet.org