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May 2008 Volume 6 Issue 8
May 3, 2008
Nolanís and My Bike Trip From Burgebrach to Bamberg:
Dolores had planned to go to our new house as soon as I could get away from the track meet. It was the last meet of Wuerzburg High School before it was to shut down after over fifty years of service to our American Military families assigned to the greater Wuerzburg area. At the last minute she changed her mind. So, after making sure everything was going well at the meet, I came home to a breakfast of fried eggs, multigrain toast, bacon, and coffee.
Following breakfast, we loaded Nolanís and my bikes onto the Dakota and headed for highway 22. We wanted to get to Burgbrach before our favorite imbiss closed so we could pick up a couple of schnitzel sandwiches. However, we got started too late and had to settle for beerwurst and multigrain bread.
The trail I was considering was the new stretch of ďrails to trailsĒ however, once we started scouting, it was established they were way too short. Getting off the main highway to use the restroom, we happened upon a construction site where new houses were being built. Having a play ground nearby, of course, Nolan wanted to stop. After having some grapes that Dolores had bought at the store, I approached a couple who told me how to get to the bike trail.
Nolan and I entered the bike trail at about 1440. I continually kicked myself for forgetting the camera. The weather could not be beat. The terrain was mostly flat. However, there were a few hills. Most of those hills were negotiated with great ease for me because I was on a sweet machine. I had told Nolan before getting the Tour Easy that I was going to dust his pants. However, I had not even tried before. This day, going uphill or flat, he constantly wanted me to slow down for him.
All through the ride, I was constantly amazed at the ease of pedaling, the speed at which this machine would go without any great effort on my part. I often had to remind myself to push back on the seat rather than pulling up on the handlebars. This reminded me of the time I went to Cochem to ride with Bryn Ball. However, I was not riding the true Tour Easy. He had asked me to come and ride one he had in stock. Upon arriving, it was discovered that the Tour Easy was too large for me and I was switched to a Sun Bike. Donít let anyone kid you. Cheap is forever. Pay more and get the bike of your dreams. It took me five years, but finally I have a Tour Easy Expedition.
I think Brian had changed the shifters on the Sun bike. Whatever the reason, I was not impressed with the shifting. However, on my Tour Easy, I ordered Shimano Rapid Fire Shifters and have been very glad I did. I have a couple of adjustments I need to make. However, most of the time, when I expect a shift, I get a shift, not a slippage of gears.
Coming out of one of the small towns, we had to get on the highway. I was looking for traffic and trying to watch Nolan at the same time. I hollered for him to cross over. He was hesitant. I insisted. Once across, I noticed that the trail we were own was dirt and there was one on the other side that was paved. Now, I ask you, what is wrong with this picture. (Grandson smarter than grandfather?)
So, I had him to stay while I looked for signs. Crossing the highway, I saw a sign that indicated the paved trail went to Bamberg. So, after summoning Nolan and hearing, ďI told youĒ, we were off and away to great adventures. He started complaining that his butt and private parts were hurting. I asked him if he was raw. He didnít know what that meant. I asked if he was chaffed. He didnít know what that meant. So after looking, I established that his underwear was chaffing him. I called Dolores and told her to pick him up a pair of biking pants. She told me he had on long underwear plus briefs. He decided to wear only his long handles. They, of course, looked like thin gray slipover pants.
It was at this juncture that the bike trail distanced itself from highway 22. Again, Nolan was concerned that we were going the wrong way. Each time I depart from the known way, Iím concerned as well. However, I have to keep in mind, that while he is very good with directions, he is not experienced enough to understand the lack of reasoning that is often woven into laying out roads. They will often go 180 out of phase with the desired direction only to marry up with another that goes in the direction you want.
Anyway, be that as it may, this put us onto a very lightly traveled secondary road. Even on these very lightly traveled roads, I am concerned that they are made for cars, not bikes. Iím double concerned anytime I have an ADHD kid with me. Seeing a couple of farmers and their wives, I pulled over next to their bikes; this gave me great comfort knowing they were biking this same road, and received directions.
Shortly we came to an intersection we had to cross. Eventually this put us onto a secondary road that was more heavily trafficked. I put Nolan in front so I could watch in my side mirror anyone approaching from the rear. I constantly told him to stop talking and get serious about his surroundings and told him how dangerous a situation we were in.
Again we were routed onto an even more trafficked road. There was a major intersection up ahead. I saw some bikes with adults and kids coming from the other side, from the opposite direction, on paved a bike trail. I was not at all sure that it went the way we wanted to go. So, we carefully proceeded on through the intersection with cars passing us. A little further, I saw what appeared to be the same bike trail the others had been on. It appeared to have circled around and back to the opposite side of the highway. We couldnít gain access. It was too high and a guard rail stood between it and the highway. I told Nolan to watch for an access and when I told him to be ready to cross.
We rounded a curve and I saw what looked like the beginning of an access route. I hollered for Nolan to take it. As he entered the trail he slowed. I was right on him. I hollered for him to move his butt out of my way before I got hit by traffic that may be coming around the curve. Now, I felt so much more at ease. Nolan was still experiencing some discomfort from the chafing and when he saw a bench wanted to stop for a spell. We each had a drink and enjoyed the sight of deep woods on our left. I decided to water a tree. A biker and his wife whizzed by. We rested for a while longer. Just as we were getting ready to start off again, a woman and her daughter arrived from the other direction. It soon became clear that Mom was going to go whether we were there or not. Being the gentlemen we are, we shoved off. And the only time I looked in my side mirror was to make sure Nolan was behind me. Honest!
Soon we came into Bug. There was a camping site on both sides of the road and a large body of water with boats. As we rounded the bend, we came upon a mini golf course. Dolores called. She said she knew where the course was. After waiting what should have been sufficient time for her to be there, Nolan wanted to move on. He was concerned that Granny would pick us up before we actually got into Bamberg. His goal was to make it into the city. So, up the monster hill it was. I wanted to pedal but he wanted to conserve his energy so he could make whole ride. This had been a theme of his ever since the ride started. So, on we continued. He crossed onto a sidewalk and mounted again. I followed. It was not long before we saw a toddler waving his hat at us. Nolan dismounted; I passed him only to have to wait for him. Now, we both pushed till we reached the top.
Reaching semi-level ground we mounted. I stopped and asked a lady where McDonalds or Burger King was. I knew Dolores knew where those two were. She indicated they were very far away. I asked about a supermarket that Dolores could find easily. I was told there was one at about 15 minutes ride. I knew she was foggy on the distance because she had told me the BK and McD was 20 minutes on bike. I thanked her and we proceeded on up the slight hill.
Then came the downhill. Wow was it a ride. Again I kicked myself for not having a camera. I could see the most beautiful church Iíve ever seen in my life. I had lived in this area of Germany for 9 years this time and two other tours of three years each and had never seen this part of Bamberg. What a shame. Downhill we sped. I looked in my side view. Nolan was lagging. I slowed. He had asked me before if I know what brakes were for.
We had to slow for several jigs and jags. I got ahead of him and made a left. I couldnít see him. I stopped. I waited. I heard him holler at someone. Then he came into site with a yellow mini-Cooper right on his hind finder. Nolan had no clue the car was there. It tried to pass. He swerved back in front of it. The driver sit down on his horn, and Nolan saw me and headed my way. The Minni-Cooper gunned it and sped off in the other direction. I vowed if he came my way, IíD loosen some of his teeth for him.
The rest of the ride was Dolores and me plying phone tag trying to determine where each was. I came to an area that I recognized as the place where we had came to the Christmas market some years before. We stopped at an ice-cream shop and got two double scoops of chocolate, and I called Dolores. I told her we would finish our ice cream and hunt for her. We ate; we waited. She called. She told me some of the stores where she was. I asked and no one in the ice-cream shop knew of the stores. I told her to give me the street and just stay put and we would find her. She was on Lange strasse. We asked a few folks and found the street. She called and said she had moved because she was afraid the police would ticket her. We stopped at an imbiss. I asked a couple of men. After approaching them, I realized they were drinking and not feeling any pain. However, they were able to send me in the right direction.
At first we walked. Then, I mounted and told Nolan to stay behind me. I was very impressed with all the bike lanes they had in downtown Bamberg. Why canít America have this? We could lose pounds, cut down on smog, and traffic at the same time.
Rounding a curve, I saw Dolores dropping the tailgate. She had spotted us before we had seen her. After loading the bikes, we tore into the hamburgers she had bought before leaving post. The ride had taken about three hours and had been the longest Nolan had ridden. He still wanted to ride and we had put in 15.95 miles. This was a very pleasant ride. I still wanted to ride as well. Wow, what a sweet bike.
By the time we got home it was about 2000 hours. We had grilled ham and cheese off of Doloresí relatively new sandwich grill, watched a movie and went to bed. I was tired.
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