Monday 25 May 2020

Man falls asleep on recumbent bicycle, wakes up in Bulgaria

Leipzig, Plovdiv (dpo) - This morning, a cyclist from the eastern German city of Leipzig was in for a rude awakening: on an outing on his recumbent bike, the 43-year-old man had fallen asleep and only when he awoke did he realise that he was actually in Bulgaria.

Now, waiting for his flight back home from Plovdiv, Rainer Thiesen is starting to see the funny side of his adventure. “I was really utterly perplexed when I woke up to suddenly find myself in the Balkans”, he reports. “The last thing I remember was cycling a few miles south-east of the city, enjoying the beautiful evening sun. After that, I must have fallen asleep. Just why does this damn recumbent bike have to be so comfortable?!”
While sleeping, the father of three subsequently cycled just over 1,000 miles (approx. 1,700 km) across the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Serbia until he reached Bulgaria, where he awoke again on Ruski Boulevard in Plovdiv during morning rush hour.
“Firstly, I pulled over, rubbed my eyes and then went on to ask a passer-by where the hell I was”, Thiesen recounts. “I was completely gobsmacked when he answered: ‘Глупав въпрос! Вие сте в Пловдив.’”
Plovdiv – not so bad after all
After he had come to terms with the initial shock, Thiesen contacted his family, who were incredibly worried about him, had a substantial breakfast, visited some sights and then proceeded to the airport to plan his homeward journey.
Astonishingly, his overnight journey seems not to have taken too great a toll on the amateur cyclist. “Apart from sore muscles in my calves, I feel very well rested. No wonder, though. After all, I have slept for at least 9 hours straight. Oh, and a bird crapped on my stomach.”
Thiesen is not surprised that he made it as far as Bulgaria: “I seem to remember that I was in top gear before I fell asleep.” Since the incident, it has also become clear why the 43-year-old was not stopped even once while crossing several borders. A Serbian border guard remembers, “I heard this snoring noise getting gradually louder and louder but before I had sussed out where it was coming from, the guy had already cycled under the tollgate and was miles away.”
Thiesen’s ‘little spin’ does not much surprise sports scientist Markus Zeil, “This sort of thing doesn’t tend to happen on traditional bicycles, since the upright body position automatically forces you to stay awake.” He therefore advises users of recumbent bicycles to drink plenty of coffee, listen to loud music, take breaks and stretch their legs during journeys, or, as a last resort, to set an alarm clock.
ssi, dan; picture above: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock; first published 2017-12-12
Read the German version HERE.
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