April 2005 Volume 2 Issue 8
In trying to decide on the ride Iíd do for this issue, I considered a route from Gunsenhousento Kelheim along the Altmuhltal-Radfernweg. Looking at the route on biking maps and on the Internet, it looked like it followed the river all the way. However, when I input it into my biking program, I was able to see where the route actually ran. From Gunsenhousento Dietfurt it followed no river whatsoever. At Dietfurt it started to parallel the Altmuhl River.
So, whatís the big deal about it being next to a river, you ask. Well, now Iíll ask you a question. Which would you rather ride, uphill or flat and level? If you say uphill, it is likely you are totally out of my league and you would not like waiting around for me. So, go; go on down the road. Not only do I look for level along the river, I look to see which direction the current flows and try my best to arrange my trip where I pedal with the current. That is down gradient. I wouldnít say that Iím lazy; but I do like coasting. Aside from that, you have a very high chance of going in the correct direction if you are following a river.
So, as par for the course, I just had to do a recon. This time I gave my wife, the most giving person I know, a brake. I arranged for a friend of mine to ride the road near the river/bike trail with me; and true to what my printout showed, there was no bike path until we got to Dietfurt.
Once we arrived in Dietfurt, it was time for coffee and cake. I noticed a sign on the side of a building that said ďCity CafťĒ. Arriving in down town Dietfurt, we found the coffee shop/pastry house. Going inside we ordered a small picture of coffee for each of us and my friend just had to talk me into eating a piece of cake. It must have taken him every bit of a full second to accomplish this task; but eventually he did. He is known for his persuasive powers.
I speak enough German to get directions wrong and eat. I eat most anything; so, ordering goes ok. But, my friend speaks the langue and reads it fluently. So, his conversation revealed a lot of interesting things about Dietfurt. We were told that it was one of the oldest populated areas in Germany and that it was known as the region of seven valleys.
As the weekend for the bike ride approached, I became more and more concerned about the time I would have. The trip could be an overnighter; and I didnít want to miss any more church. I then spoke to a friend who had done the initial part of the ride, and he indicated that it was level. More research on the Internet supported his findings. The Internet search also reveled another possible ride that would not be nearly as time consuming; and, I had some familiarity with the area. This research yielded a twenty-mile route around Brombachsee. This is a large lake about two hours from our location.
I spoke with our editor and he was not interested in any such ride. He had too many irons in the fire; or should I say, too many things he wanted to do with Pa País computer. So it was, on the morning of my departure, I gave him one more invite, and he said ok. All right! I found a riding partner. Albeit, that Iíd likely be doing most or all of the pumping.
This time I remembered the camera. I asked Nolan if he wanted to take his trike and he indicated he did. All things loaded, we left the house at about 1030 hours on Saturday April 23, 2005. We followed highway 13 to Ansbach. In Ansbach we started seeing signs to Gunsenhousen. We continued following these signs along # 13 until we reached Gunsenhousen. My friend had told me that the South side of the lake charged for parking. So, while I would have preferred to take a shorter route around to the North side, I found myself traveling in an Eastward direction around the southern part of the lake. At no place along this route is the lake in view but signs and the map I used took me to Allmannsdorf, which is at the Northeast corner of the lake.
Pulling into the parking lot, I immediately saw a lady in a chair selling parking tickets. When she approached me, I asked where the biking trail was. It was readily seen from the parking lot; but I felt I needed to say something to her. I indicated I was just turning around. We exited the parking lot and turned left uphill in the direction we had been traveling. I soon saw a group of cars parked in a roadside parking area. ĎBent Miles was soon a staunch member of the heard.
Unloading both trikes, I told Nolan to check his brakes and to follow behind and to the right of me. He was soon yelling like a banshee following behind me. The plastic wheels on the back of his trike were announcing to the biking word that he was on his way. As he swung wide into the parking lot and came up on my left, I again told him to stay to my right.
Seeing a bike cut across the parking lot, we were soon in hot pursuit. Swinging left, we saw this huge hillóthe landside of the levyóthat we were going to have to negotiate. I told Nolan to go first and get a good run down the hill and keep to the right so I could pull along side and tow him the rest of the way up the hill. He has no gears. Down the hill he went. I followed; Starting up the other side, I soon dropped down to my bottom cog and low on my back. Of course, being the ADHD fellow he is, my little friend stopped right in the middle of the path. After getting him over to the right, I grabbed his handlebars and towed him the rest of the way.
There was a guesthouse to the right along with a make-believe ship and playground. Need I say which way we went and where our first stop was? After spending a few moments in the playground we were on our way. It was soon established that Nolanís no gear trike and gravel paths did not mix. We locked his trike and he climbed aboard behind me. NOW, this was biking.
Iím sure Iíll have many fond memories of the years of my little friend and all the times he swatted my head, pulled off my cap, and pulled my hair, with me trying to swat back and above my head with no contact. This is truly living. Pedaling along the see revealed sailboats by the score as well as the large ferry making varied stops along the shore.
Then it was into the forest and back out into the sun, bikes passing and meeting us. It wasnít long before we passed a place that advertised worst and sauerkraut for lunch. About this time two ladies, one with a baby and trailer, passed us. I tied into their slipstream and off we went. I shifted through the gears to high on my back cog then, from second to high on my front. I never touched my cassette. At Nolanís urging, we were soon riding their back fenders. I had been craving sauerkraut for a month. I couldnít get that sign out of my mind. We had gotten onto the trail at 1300 and I had eaten no lunch. Nolanís Ritalin was still tiding him overóit kills his appetite. We passed a couple more eating establishments. I was getting hunger with each that we passed.
Soon we arrived at another playground. I want to make sure that Nolan has a positive riding experience so I try to make time for such things in our rides. So, off we came and up he went and soon had two very dear friends, even though he speaks no German. My attention continued to wander up the trail back to the guesthouse that was just a few yards away. I once again asked Nolan if he was hungry. Of course, he was not.
Finally, I gave in. I told Nolan that I was going to get something to eat and would be right back. I was hoping that I would not have to ride all the way back to where I had seen the sign for sauerkraut. And, sure enough, I spotted a sign that advertised they did indeed serve sauerkraut. But, donít you just love it when you are presented with such hard decisions? When I arrived into the eating establishment, I read where a good schnitzel cost only cents more than a worst and sauerkraut. What was a man to do? ďOh! I know; Iíll just have bothĒ, I thought. ďNo, Iím getting carried away. So, what is it to be? Well, Iíve been craving sauerkraut for weeks; and, that is what I came in here to get. So, sauerkraut it is.Ē
Cutting off a bite of worst, I dipped it into the side order of mustard. Its flavor burst into my mouth like liquor from rum filled chocolates; mixed with the taste of the sauerkraut and steadied with a bite of bread this meal was just out of this world. Oooh, Iím getting hungry all over again. I set facing the playground and kept close tag on Nolan. The fellow with his back to me got up and sat next to his wife facing who was wearing sunglasses and facing me. He then put his arm around her and gave her a kiss full on the mouth. This caused me to wonder who he may have thought she was looking at from behind her sunglasses. After, lunch I returned to the playground and was soon reminded that I had failed to get a cup of that great German coffee. It was back to the guesthouse for a large cup of coffee.
This time I took up a seat with my back to the man and his wife. She looked back at me as I approached my table; I focused on my coffee. She then got up and walked past me. I kept my mind and eyes on the playground. Nolan was still keeping company with the same two boys. By the time I returned to the playground it was 1430 and I told Nolan it was time to ride. We went just a short way down the path and he started complaining that the bike bags were hurting his legs. After shooting a few more pictures, I straightened the bags and told him that he had to keep the pillow between him and the boards that supported the bags.
He soon was asking for ice cream. I reminded him that he had not yet had lunch. Then I told him that since this was a special dayóPa Pa and Nolanís day outóthat we could make an exception. He indicated that he had seen a sign for ice cream at the same guesthouse where I had eaten lunch. We soon were enjoying chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bars at the same guesthouse. The odd couple was gone.
This trip was not one with a lot of miles. But, it was one that, hopefully, Nolan will remember with fond memories all his life. And, that is what it is all about.
Hope to see you on the trails. If you see the Dakota with ĎBent Miles in the rear window and Tweety hanging from the mirror, just beep and wave. If you see us on the trail, stop and talk with us.