A bit of routine maintenance was planned whilst passing through Latvia's capital city. It seemed a good place to replace the tyres which had become worn treadless and were perhaps becoming liable to cuts / splits. It would be a real nuisance to write off a tyre far from a major town, and once into Finland am not expecting to find many of those...
Local windsurfers Christian and Maris had also independently been in touch offering support. Thanks Christian and Dana for delicious food, first real bed since Greece, first shower since Poland, use of automatic washing machine (better than barrel), and - above all - great company.
Next day after a haircut I linked up with Maris at a bike shop to change the freewheel that has been clicking for the last week or so. Genesis Bikes UK had kindly and unquestionably sent the replacement part to Maris. Bike is now back to stealthy silent. What could have been a problem turned into a really pleasant experience of how customer service should happen. Big thank you Genesis!
Maris also explained that Latvia have a national pick up trash day, which really helps to ensure that properly disposing of trash is the societal norm. Why don't all countries do that?! Whilst writing this from a service station cafe in a small town, with a 180º view outside, the number of pieces of trash I see are zero. My mind drifts to Brexit and the "prizes" that await should it be forced through: reversal or at best stagnation of improvements in environmental regulation and food standards, a continuation rather than erosion of schemes that help the super-rich obscure wealth and avoid taxation, nothing truly settled, years more of misplaced focus... UK, it isn't too late. Europe is not laughing at you and never was, though you struggle to believe this. Nobody outside your own Isles is treating you with contempt.
I've been trying to deepen my link to stuff that grows and stuff we eat. Keeping a stock of apples (the trees are really laden) to munch and share, and being curious when seeing local people gathering. Cranberry juice has been on the menu (a quick boil to pop the berries, strain, and add sugar to taste...); and blueberries too.
The EV13 route on the this stretch does its best to avoid the major coastal road, but takes in some sandy tracks that are slow going. Despite that, it seems probable that I will reach Estonia later today.