'Bent Miles, An Online Bike Touring Magazine
Volume I Issue VII February 2004
I didn't think I'd ever get around to doing a ride for this issue. You know by now that my biking bud is not always up for a ride, especially at this time of year when the weather may be a little chilled or wet. But, last week I had him committed to a ride; weather permitting. If you have ever lived in Germany, you know that many Americans have adopted the adage, "If you wait till the weather is right, you'll never do anything." Well, it is not necessarily all that bad; but just like anywhere else, we could use the weather as an excuse to not get off our duffs and get some exercise. We certainly got plenty of that on this trip. And as always, we saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. If you have never biked in Germany, I won't say you've never biked; but, I will say that you have missed some of the best trails in all the world.
I had made tentative arrangements with my biking bud, Michael Ricci, to meet for our planned trip to Aaschffenburg at 0900 hours Saturday morning. My grandson, Nolan, woke me at about 0700; and I arose and took a bath while he went downstairs and watched cartoons. After bathing and dressing, I met Dolores downstairs in the kitchen, where she commenced to tempt me by baking biscuits, and cooking bacon and eggs for breakfast. I told her I was sorely tempted but I'd just have to stick with my morning cereal. So, while she and Nolan chowed down on the fats, I had my humble bowl of cornflakes with banana and apple.
By 0900 we were at Michel's front door loading his bike in the back of the Dakota with Tweety Bird. By 1030 Dolores had literally dumped us at the ferry crossing in Mondfeld. I had wanted to put in just past Collenberg where I had ridden on my previous excursion. But, when she indicated she didn't want to have to cross the river then cross again, I conceded and Michael and I dismounted our steel steeds and made one last equipment check. Once the truck had left, I remembered I had forgotten to get the flag for my trike. Mike remembered he had no water. When I got on the trike the temperature seemed to drop 10 degrees and I remembered I had once again forgotten my gloves. The new pair were still the same place they were the last time I forgot them, near my bed so I wouldn't forget them. The older pair were still in my other jacket. The pair that Michael had loaned me on the trail the last ride? Well, they were still, lost?
Oh well, it was around the corner, down a slight decline and the ferry was just spitting out its only car, as if to make room just for us. I was disappointed that my friend, the normal ferry operator was not on duty.
Once across the river, it was gearing down, attacking the upgrade of the boat ramp, left on the riverbank and plenty of daylight and trail ahead. This was virgin territory for Michael; but, I had visited this section of the trail only last issue. It would be a few more miles before we would get to Collenberg where I turned around last trip. We passed familiar buildings and landmarks until we got to within sight of the guesthouse that had been lighted up the last trip. Of course, on that trip it had been a Monday and by the time I had reached Collenberg, I was fatigued, hungry, cold, and sleepy. I wanted momma. This time my knees were not hurting and since it was early in the day, the guesthouse was still closed. We passed the underpass that I had taken on the previous trip; now, I was in virgin territory.
Michael and I would take turns in the lead. He was a much better pace man than I. When I'd get in the lead, I often settled down into a very comfortable non-taxing pace and we would just mosey along at 8 or nine miles per hour. When he would get in the lead, we would move out at a clip of 10-12 mph.. Nearing Miltonberg brought us to a bridge for yet another crossing of the Main River. Michael asked, "Do you want to stop for a coffee?" We agreed that would be in order and almost immediately spotted a guesthouse with its door open on the other side of the street. Noting the steep incline, I hard pedaled for more speed; as I hit the incline, I started shifting down. The cobble stones were no problem for Tweety's three wheels and we were soon parked and searching for our security cables. After chaining our bikes to the iron bars of the basement windows, we went inside and ordered two pots of coffee. However, as most always, the first order of business while the coffee was being prepared was a restroom break. It is amazing how small the bladder seems to get when it is cold out.
We determined that in a city the size of Miltenberg, there must be a shopping market. Well, there very well may have been. However, it was not visible near our biking route. We rode to the end of the city, turned right and coasted down to the bike path near the river where we turned left heading for Grossheubach. We rode the four km to Grossheubach all the while inquiring were a shopping center was. Lunch time found us grazing the isles of a Lidel, pronounced Leetle, supermarket. Of course the first place we went was into the bakery to the right of where my trike is parked above. It was here where I purposed in my heart to have a vegetable meat sandwich. Then all of a sudden, I was seized by sanity and departed into the main store where I bought two apples and a container of orange juice to go with my multi grain rolls I had bought at a local bakery near my home.
Are you going to ask how my biking bud faired? Well, I'd never be one to put the mouth on him; but, since you did inquire, he bought a whole--large package of very fat luncheon meat, a package of snickers candy bars, and orange juice. We devoured this great meal between ladies coming by and wanting to know about my trike. Ok! Ok! just one lady and a man. Gee, you'd think I was trying to stretch the truth here or something. Anyway, one candy bar did find its way into my mouth and all the way down into my digestive system, were it did feel ever so yummy. However, I can proudly report that not one slice of that high cholesterol, high fat, animal protein passed my lips.
After buying a couple more multi grain rolls, we commenced to retrace our tracks to the bike trail. Michael being the adventurous one suggested that we not retrace our trial all the way, but instead, cross the highway to a bike train in plain view. Ever being the one to do as others tell me, I hard pedaled across the street only to find a deep ditch on the other side. Not quite what I had had in mind. Oh well, it was shifting up and speeding down the highway to the first flat spot were I could cross over the the bike trail that Michael had already pushed his bike across. Uh Ohoo, I knew this was not the same trail we had been on, but I didn't know that it was going to run out on us.
Finally, we found our way to the biking trail and the river. The weather was still a bit chilled; but, with the steady pumping we were doing, I was working up a bit of moisture.
While biking through the little village of Niedernberg, we just had to stop at Mike's Schnitzel Farm. Not for the food, though I'm sure that was good; but, the attractions out front just screamed, "Stop; come see us; get a closer look." So, we did.
A few miles out of Aschaffenburg, Michael stopped at a park table and asked if I wanted to sit on a bench for a while. I must have had an amused look on my face because, without me saying a word, he remarked, "But then, you've been sitting on one for the past hour. I rode the trike up forward, turned around, rode back, and turned around again, just to further demonstrate that my seat was just fine. At one point that day we had passed a man and a woman resting off their bikes. The woman was quite overweight and was bouncing her butt up and down and patting it as if to get the feeling back or make it go away. I laughed and pointed to my recumbent seat and said, "Nicht here."
While at the park table, we broke out the remaining orange juice and multi grain rolls and had a bit of a snack. After about a 30 minute rest, it was back in the saddle. Eventually we got to the part of road I had noticed on a previous auto trip that was under construction and the bike trail went into the toilet. This, however, was soon remedied by auto traffic being routed into another lane and what had been a highway, was now quite an acceptable bike trail. This lasted for about two miles and it was back toward the river where we biked by a soccer game about to start. This held my attention just long enough for them to laugh at my trike and for me to notice this just up and across the trail from them. At which time, they were not even a memory.
After spending forty-five or so minutes watching these guys, it was back into the saddle an onward to Aschaffenburg. It was getting late and according to some locals we asked, we were only about three km from Aschaffenburg. I got instructions to cross over on the second bridge. Spotting a road off the the left, hard pedaled and starting dropping gears. Michael was ahead; I shifted up instead of down; "Ohoo! that's great. Get it right Tucker", I thought as I started shifting down. Because I had shifted up while trying to negotiate the hill, I almost busted a gut trying to get the pedals turned so I could drop gears. By the time I came out to the sidewalk, Michael was nowhere to be seen. As I rounded the corner and toped the hill, I saw that he had slowed waiting for me.
As we dropped off on the city side of the bridge, I was in the lead and Michael hollered that we should drop off on to the bike trial below. Circling around and crossing a street, we engaged the bike trail along the river. A few questions revealed that we had to make a right up the trail a few hundred yards; and, it was all uphill after that. Once we came out to the main street, I made a right, and Michael called and pointed to a large sign across the street that said the bahnhof.
We had agreed that we would wait till we got home to get supper. Entering the bahnhof, we were third in line; but, for a change, the line went fast. The ticket agent spoke fluent English, and we got or ticket cheaper because we were traveling together. When I read the ticket, it indicated that it was good for five people. If some of you had been wanting to ride in this February weather, you could have gotten, a good ride, good company, and a very cheap ticket. You would also have found that there were no other bikers on the train. All in all, we felt good about our day. We had ridden just over forty miles and were looking forward to a nice comfortable warm ride home.
A train was waiting to depart on the same rail that ours was going to arrive and depart on. We looked at the door to the bike compartment. It sure looked mighty narrow for my trike. However, from other rides, I knew that if I turned the trike on edge, I could get it onboard. We had about an hour wait. I was starting to feel weak and rundown. My lungs were hurting because that awful bronchitis was starting to poke up its ugly head again. It hadn't gotten to the point of coughing, thank, God. But it was bothering me. I sat down on my trike and waited. Michael and I had some good conversation, and before we knew it, our ride was ready to pick us up at our doorstep, so to speak.
Dolores called me while we were on the train, and got an estimated time of arrival; she was there with my little friend to pick us up when we came out of the train station. After letting Michael off, it was back home to a sinful dinner. Dolores and Nolan had enough chili left over from their dinner for me to have two chilidogs, which I ravishly devoured along with a handful of Fritos.
Here is wishing all our readers a great ride; and, we hope to see you on the trails here in Germany. If you are ever in our area and want to do a ride, just write us a message. We may be able to assist you in booking hotels and laying out a ride for you. Until next time, God bless and keep you.
Archie L. Tucker
Archie L. Tucker
Publisher & Editor
'Bent Miles Bike Touring Magazine