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September 2007 Volume 6 Issue 1
As you know, I've not been writing for quite some time. The last ride I posted was a year ago next October. I've done a few, very few, rides; but, I've just not felt like posting them. I suppose this has to do with my tax guy telling me that I couldn't claim 'Bent Miles as a business. If I actually started making money at it, the good old IRS would then consider it a business venture; I'm sure.
Be that as it may, last Friday, August, 3, 2007, I got up fairly early, considering my jet lag--0700. I fixed breakfast and was off to Wuerzburg by about 0800. Arriving at my favorite coffee house at the foot of the walk across bridge, I parked my trike and had a cup of coffee. This is the same coffee house my daughter introduced me to some years back.
After my coffee, I pedaled across the Main River and was soon in market square. Some stores were already open, however, much of the square was just coming to life. It was upon this realization, while catching a moment in time, that I wished I had brought my camera. While sitting in my own little world, with my arms crossed and legs resting upon the pedals, I purposed to come with my camera the next day so I could catch some of this on film.
Saturday, I awoke at 03:45. I cooked three eggs, four pieces of beacon, and two toasts. After a couple of cups of coffee and puttering around, I started the lawn mower. The very earliest I could think about mowing, legally, was 0900. By 09:20 I was done and on my way; this time I had my camera. My intentions were to do a piece on Wuerzburg and all of its back streets. On Friday, I had found the local McDonalds' a good place to get a cup of coffee, with a refill, and to use the restroom. After riding around and getting my bearings, I finally found this establishment again and did the same.
While coasting around on my trike, I kept hearing a man on a loud speaker. Approaching the upper part of the market place, near the church and underground parking, I noticed some folks sitting intently around their bikes listening to this fellow. It was soon pointed out to me that there was a Greenspeed Tandem Trike parked in the lot, of which I took pictures. By now, the topic of my perspective article was taking on totally new dimensions. This was quickly turning into a very exciting biking article. I took notes and more pictures.
While trying to speak to the lady who--with her husband and daughter-- was riding the tandem, I was introduced to Mr. Karl Heinz who spoke English. He explained to me that their group, "Tour de Natur", (Tour Nature) had been in existence seventeen years and their purpose was to solicit others to use bikes more and fossil fuel less. I was given a flyer and schedule of events. I found out they were camped just up the road from where I live and were planning a fun time out in my little village after dinner that night.
By invitation, I arrived at their camp site at about 1600 and they were just getting ready for dinner. I was kindly invited, but declined. I was told they would be departing the camp site that night at about 1900 for their festivities and I was invited to come along. They also informed me they would be breaking camp and moving out Sunday morning at 0930.
After getting home, I was just too tired to make the evening festivities. However, I did plan to make the ride with them to Marktheidenfeld which they projected to be 35km.. Now, I have made this ride along the river many times and know it to be much further by that route. However, as it was explained to me, they would be taking the very busy, and dangerous B8 route. To their advantage, though, they would have police escort in front and back for the entire route. I worried that I had not biked since last summer and having just being diagnosed with asthmatic bronchitis, I would not be able to keep up. Then of course not riding the river, we would definitely be navigating more hills than I was accustomed to riding.
Sunday found me up and having cold cereal for breakfast at 0700. Time seemed to drag. I packed a lunch of two sandwiches, two bananas, and two apples. An extra bottle of water was also added to my plastic shopping bag which always rides slung on the post of my seat on the opposite side from the chain. I've learned that bags fare far better if they do not come into contact with the moving chain.
By about 0855, I had waited as long as I could; so, it was on my trike and down the hill. Just as I had gotten half way up the steep incline leading to the camp site, I realized I had forgotten my flag and my map. I turned around and started the long agonizing pumping up the hill to my house. Still, I arrived at the camp site before most had broken camp. Again, it was picture taking time.
Then, finally, bikes started to line up out on the pavement, I got in about midways. Then we waited. Someone was speaking something on the loud speaker. Speakers were mounted on bike trailers throughout the formation. Then, a few bikes started to roll; a few more started and I fell in behind them. Someone in the group must have served in the army. There was a road guard at the bottom of the steep decline directing traffic to the left. All along the way, predestinated bikers would block intersections for the crossing of our convoy.
At the bottom of the hill, the line was directed to the right where we found a police escort waiting. We stopped. The crowd became clustered blocking the street. Cars stopped and folks were told to move to the sides. At about 1000, we started to move. Since I had been told we would not ride the river, because they wanted to make a statement by riding the busy highway, I was pleasantly surprised when we made my old familiar left turn toward the Main River. However, my pleasant surprise soon turned into one of panic when they made the next right. If we were going to ride the river, we needed to turn left. However, I kept my remarks to myself, fully knowing there was this great hill we were likely headed for after departing the river.
When we turned in the opposite direction of the hill, I was relieved, but now my surprise turned to confusion. Where were we going? Not only did I not know where we were going, but we were moving faster than I had expected. I had inquired, beforehand, as to the rate of travel and was told we would travel about 6 or 7 miles an hour. Well, that would be stretching my normal 5 to 8--fluxuating miles per hour. But, I figured I could stay with it.
I kept looking at my speedometer; that 6 to 7 miles per hour was more 9-10 miles per hour. I started wheezing. I couldn't keep a good breath. Some would pass; I'd speed up; I'd wheeze more. I took a puff on my inhalant. The wheezing lessened; but, it never stopped. The harder I pedaled, the worse the wheezing became. Coming to a traffic light, I noticed the police escort motioning for the rest of us to hurry through the light. I looked in my side mirror and saw a couple of bikers and the red sag wagon behind me. The two bikers passed and the lady I had been talking to the night before, spoke to me. I acknowledged her. I saw a pull-off that was in the shade. I motioned the sag wagon on past me and pumped to the side.
By now I was wheezing so that I had difficulty catching my breath. I laid my head back onto to my day box top and rested with my eyes closed and my feet on the pedals. I heard someone speaking to me. Opening my eyes, I saw a young lady with a baby carriage staring at me with a look of fright. She asked if I was ok. When I acknowledged that I was, she let out a breath, smiled and continued on her way.
Looking into my side view mirror, I waited till the street cleared and pulled out into traffic. I knew I couldn't catch them. However, if I could find the route they were taking, for which I was totally confused by now, I could catch them at the lunch break. That way I could ride at my own speed the same distance as they, just at a lesser speed. I entered the traffic circle, the first turn had no sign for Marktheidenfeld, the second and third revealed the same sad news. I stopped at a gas station and was directed back the same direction I had come except, now I was on a snail strasse. Ooops, hope I don't get caught or worse, hit. (bikes are not allowed on these fast roads) On I went doubling back toward my house. Soon, I found myself on the road alone with Sunday morning coming down all around me.
I called Dolores from my cell. She was home. I asked her to meet me at the bottom of our hill so I could put the trike in the back of the truck and save me a few wheezes. She fixed us some lunch. I decided to take the map and truck with trike and see if I could catch the group before they finished their lunch break. It was only then that I noticed that my flag and map were not the only things I had forgotten that morning. I had also forgotten my wallet. Grabbing my fanny pack, with wallet, I was out the door.
I arrived at Madelhofen well before lunch break was over and took copious pictures. Speaking to one of the police escorts, I got an idea of the route they would be taking and the next stop. So, it was off to the Bad See in Lengfurt, where I had been told the group would sup. Arriving in Lengfurt, I was told the lake was not there, but in a little town across the Main River called Trennfeld. Driving up and down the main street, I found no signs for the Bad See. I found where I thought it might be and was directed to the parking area.
Riding to one of the swimming areas, I asked the concessionaire if she knew about when and where the group was supposed to arrive. I was told that the group would be going up the trail and around the corner about 200 meters where a sport house was. Thanking the good folks for their kind assistance, I was off and away to the fishing house. This is where I had been told the group would have supper.
I then took a little ride, on my trike to the center of town. There were about four guesthouses, one of which was open on Sunday. After getting a lay of the land and taking some more pictures, I returned to the sport house and waited. Looking about, I found some bushes to relieve my bladder and returned to sit on my trike.
Now, I had been waiting in this little place since about 1330 and it was now 1500. I was getting hungry. So, out came the sandwiches and fruit. I was going to chow down. Now, I know the question you are going to ask; "did he eat without washing his hands?" The answer is a resounding, YES. And it was sooooo good. It didn't taste like pee at all. By the time I had finished the sandwich, I was just comfortable, by the time I finished the apple, I was almost full. By the time I had finished the banana, I was thinking about going back to the one open guesthouse and finding a restroom.
Just as I was pedaling out I saw the police escort motorcycle with blue light and all coming my way. When he arrived, I did sign language asking if the others were coming. He nodded yes. I waited. I waited. I waited. I fell asleep. I awoke. A police car was coming. He turned around. There was a biker behind him. I inquired of the others. He said they were swimming.
I pulled out and just around the curve, I could see the police and again ran into Karl. He drives the sag wagon. He said they were about finished swimming and were going on to Marktheidenfeld. He also told me that he had sent someone back for me but they couldn't find me. I was asked if I'd like to ride the last 6 km with them. Indicating that I had to do some mechanic work to do, he offered their onboard mechanic. Having my own tools, I declined his offer. After tightening my mirror, I was ready to ride.
Again, the gang started lining up. I once again fell in somewhere at mid-front of the group. We pedaled to a location and stopped where more announcements were made, I presume trying to get everyone in place. Then songs about not driving cars and not using the autobahn broke out in the group.
After some time waiting in the hot sun, we slowly took off to intersect the main street. Turning right, we were now in the home stretch. Having been in the army for a few years and having been on many Bn. sized runs, I know the accordion affect of line formations. The affect is felt more the further to the rear you are located. So, I broke ranks, moved to the sidewalk and inserted myself just behind the lead group. I was still not sure my lungs would allow me to keep up. However, with it being no more than six km, I should be able to manage the tempo. Then came the hills. The wheezing returned.
I'd fall back on the upside, but pass all those who had gotten ahead of me on the downside. This continued between wheezes all the way till I spied the familiar guesthouse on the right just before entering Marktheidenfeld. With over 100 bikes and trikes, we assaulted the quaint little tourist river town like a horde of Mongols of medieval times.
Of course we all enjoyed the attention we received from those already seated at the various eateries on each side of the cobblestone path. A fellow from our group didn't recognize me and offered me a flyer. As I was taking it and thanking him, Karl interceded and told him that I had been riding with the group. After a few words with Karl, I excused myself for my return trip to my parked truck in Trennfeld. Before I could get on my trike another one of the group offered me a flyer which I took and thanked her.
I had departed Marktheidingfeld about 1630. By the time I got back to my truck it was about 1730 and I was once again hungry. I called Dolores on the cell. Nolan answered and said Granny was busy cooking. When she called me back, I told her I was hungry and she informed me that we were taking our neighbors up on the block party offer and would be dining in the street behind our house.
The block party was to start by 1800. I got home at 1830 and it was still not in swing. We sit our table up next to one of our neighbors and soon others followed. The day had been taxing, but rewarding. I felt the day had been an accomplishment. My mileage for the day was 30.58 miles. Friday I had done 15 and Saturday I had done 15, not too bad for a sixty year old who hadn't biked for a year.
Below is a picture of the coffee house I like. The rest are pictures of the camp as it was when I went to visit on Saturday night.
Below: Breaking camp.
Lunch break at Madelhofen.
My ride into Trennfeld:
The group arrives and departs the Bad See in Trennfeld:
We ascend onto Marktheidenfeld:
My ride back to my truck in Trennfeld. Note, I tried to stay on the bike trail as much as I could. However, I did have to leave it and get back onto the highway to find my exit.
Dinner with our neighbors at the end of the day.
Archie L. Tucker
Archie L. Tucker
publisher 'Bent Miles
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