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September/October 2006 Volume 5 Issue 1
Bike Ride With Nolan From Ebengfeld to Zappendorf:
By: Archie L. Tucker
July 17, 2006
After seeing my doctor and scheduling a follow-up cancer operation, Dolores insisted that I decide where I wanted to do a ride. This was on a Monday. Tuesday, the next day would be three weeks since my operation. The doctor had said that I could start back to biking after three weeks. But, just to make sure, I called and got confirmation.
So, we were all set. I ran a computer printout of part of a route that I had ridden before. I had ridden from Bayreuth, pronounced Byroid, where the Main starts as two different branches called the Red and the White Main to Lichtenfels. So, this time I started my printout from Lichtenfels to Bamberg. I knew that I’d not be able to ride the entire 39 km with Nolan. But, I could choose a town between the two points to start and call Dolores when Nolan or I decided we had had enough.
As is often the case, it was not clear from the truck just where the bike trail ran and where one would have to get onto the highway. So, when in doubt, eat. We stopped at a market in Ebensfeld and bought cold cuts and bread along with tomatoes and bell peppers. After a tailgate lunch, I asked a couple of elderly ladies where the bike trail along the Mine was. They indicated the direction and I thought stated that it was near the train station. I followed up on that questioning session by asking another elderly lady who was on a bike. After getting her bearings straight, she gave me the same directions.
During our search, we came upon this young lad who said the river and bike trail were straight ahead across a pasture. We found the river was indeed there. However, the bike trail was not. Stumbling around we finally saw a sign to the train station. This produced biking signs in the direction we wanted to go. But, the route was a secondary street/highway. No way was I going to put an ADHD kid on two wheels, for his first extended ride under such conditions.
Finally after traveling over hill and dale, so to speak, we came to the bike trail. By the time we got on to the path it was 1615 hours. The sun was hot; so I covered Nolan with 30-grade sunscreen. After taking a few pictures we were on our way. I have to say that Nolan took to biking like a duck to water. He was quite the little biker. We started off on pavement and wound up on gravel and back to pavement. Then came the two km stretch of highway we had to traverse. Nolan was none too happy; he voiced his concern about being killed on the highway. I told him to just follow me and stay to the right of the road. Then I heard the car coming from behind. I looked into my side mirror. Nolan got nervous. He started to become erratic in his balance. The car stopped. Nolan stopped. The car passed.
We traveled the two km without any further happenings and took a gravel road to our left. Like I said, Nolan was being so good. He was behaving, minding, and not acting like a monkey. But, I could see that he may be getting a bit red in spite of all the sunscreen I had applied. It wasn’t long before he started complaining about a sore butt. I told him that was why his granny had tried to get him to pick out a softer seat the other day. I said he understood now. He commenced to walk and push the bike. I didn’t want this to be a bad ride on his first trip. So, I told him that we would call his granny to come get us at the next town. I thought that would be Rattelsdorf. A few moments later a town came into sight. He pointed at it and said, “I think that may be Rattelsdorf.” I said I thought he was right but whatever town it was we would call Granny.
We came to an intersection Ebing was 3.4 km to the right. I told him to wait in the parking area near a barn. I went down the road a ways and saw a sign that Rattelsdorf was just 4 km... I thought that would be too far for his butt. We discussed it and he decided that it was too far. The town to our left, whatever it was, was just across the bridge over the Main River. So that is were we went. I had him to push his bike upon the elevated sidewalk. We met young German boy who told us the town was Zappendorf. Crossing the bridge, I called Dolores. She said she had just arrived at a store. I told her continue her shopping and we’d wait there. I informed her that we were just across the bridge.
About 15 minutes later Dolores called and said she was on her way. Her next call said she had arrived in the town but had not crossed a bridge. I asked what street she was on and if she could see railroad tracks. We were between the bridge and a set of railroad tracks. She said she was on Haupt Strasse. I remembered the little boy had made reference to Haupt Strasse. I asked what she was near. She replied that she was near a pizzeria. I told her to wait there and we’d come to her.
Arriving at Haupt Strasse, I was inclined to turn left. After asking a lady nearby where the pizzeria was, she said turn right and it would be up the street on our left. Arriving at the pizzeria it was obvious there was no Dakota. I called Dolores. She agreed to come our direction. There had been two pizzerias on Haupt Strasse. She picked us up at about 1720. Nolan and I had thoroughly enjoyed the ride even though it was only five miles.
June 18 Ride from Gemunden to Wolfsmunster:
On Tuesday June 18, 2006, Dolores woke me and wanted to know where I wanted to ride that day. I told her I was not sure. By the time I puttered around in the office and got a FAX off to chastise National Personnel Records Center for their reckless handling of my request for military medical records and an email to my senator in regards to the same it was noon and we were still in the house.
We parked just across from the swimming pool and purposely took up part of the parking spot to our right so we would have space next to the truck to work on Nolan’s bike. A lady with a car full of kids ready for the pool wanted me to stop trying to untangle Nolan’s pedal out of my front wheel spokes in mid-lift just to close my door so she could park. I’m afraid my look was not too Christian. Granny closed the door.
Dolores had bought a flag and bell for the bike. I really didn’t want to tackle the flag, because that meant I had to loosen the rear axel nut with a crescent wrench. These, of course, are known for burgering up nuts. But, Dolores would not hear of my concerns, so I did, indeed, burger up the nut. Then it was to install the bell. The first attempt on the right side did not leave enough room for the gear shifter and bell. So, Dolores took over and took my advice to mount it on the other side. By this time we are all getting somewhat heated with the sun beating down and no shade. Finally the work was all done. Now was time for the fun; the ride.
Another lady with a car full of kids pulled up right in front of my trike and just sat there. Again, my temper, hot sun, and no shade were not a good mix. I yanked the rear of the trike up and rotated it around so as to be able to pedal past her. Now seated, Nolan and I pedaled past the car of anxious kids and mom. I looked at my computer. Should I reset it or just take a picture to remember the mileage. I decided on the picture. I reached for my camera. It was not there. I had left it in the truck.
So, off the trike I came and headed back toward Dolores. She was already backing out of the parking lot. I tapped the window. She pulled forward, trying to give up the parking spot. I retrieved my camera. She left, and Mom and kids pulled in. Now it was my turn to get a nasty look form the kid in the right front seat. Needless to say, my thoughts were all about what a nice little fellow he was. NOT!
Off we went. Nolan wanted to know which direction. I told him to just follow the bikes ahead across the wooden footbridge. I started dropping gears to negotiate the rise and curve of the somewhat arched bridge. Nolan dismounted without a word and started pushing. I pedaled on ahead till I heard him hollering for me to wait.
The bridge spilled us out onto a smooth sealed pavement. But, I didn’t know which direction to take. So we went left to investigate the nearest bike signs. No names I recognized. I noticed a lady on the adjacent auto bridge throwing sticks into the water to watch them drift past. I asked and received directions to the first town on my list, Schonau.
By the time we got on the trail it was almost 1400 hours. The trail was great and the weather was beautiful. I was on “Tweety” and my wonderful little friend was actually learning to like distance riding. All was well with my soul. Then would sneak in the thoughts of cancer and the upcoming operation. Then the site of my little friend up ahead ready to crash at any moment took my mind to what would I do if he were hurt and I couldn’t get the truck out to our site.
It was not long before Nolan was ready for a rest. I told him to move on up to the bench just ahead. He then wanted a drink. The warm water just did not appeal to him. I knew that would soon pass. So, I took a swig and returned the bottle to the rack. Soon we were on our way once again.
Then came the long down hill and Nolan’s disappearance. The next time I saw him he was at a crossroads across from two men who had exchanged their bike seats for a wooden bench. For neither of which would I swap my lounge chair. I looked at the sign and told Nolan to take the left toward Bamberg. By this time the road had went to gravel. I kept telling Nolan to slow down or he was going to leave some of his blood on the gravel and some of the gravel in his skin. A couple of times he would wobble but regain his balance. I could tell that he had not yet caught on to gearing up as he went down hill. I explained the concept of gearing down when going up and up when going down. Then it came. It was just fortunate that he was going slowly and about to stop. He skidded and caught himself. Then while standing totally still he lost his grip or footing and almost lost it again. I got pictures of both.
So it was, after a brief rest, we continued on for another mile or so. Then came the hill. I was watching him in my mirror. He passed through some shade and hollered for me to stop. I told him to come on up the hill to the next shade. He didn’t move. I returned. We had water. Yep, now I can’t get him to stop drinking the “hot” water. I cut him an apple and I had some grapes. Then we tackled the pretzels. I figured I was making a mistake with the limited water we had. But the next town couldn’t be far. And that is just what I start getting, “ Pa Pa, when can you call Granny to come and pick us up?” I kept telling him that she couldn’t come till we got to the next town so we could tell her where we were.
By this time, he was getting tired of the ride. I didn’t want to push him. I wanted him to want to go on the next one. (Right now, as I write this he is asking me when we are going on another ride. He is trying to escape and evade the homework his Granny has for him.) So, as I pedaled up the hill, I saw a rooftop. I told him that I thought we are near a town. As I reached the top I saw a street leading to a bridge that crossed over the rails. I scouted it out and turned back. By this time Nolan is at the intersection. I told him to go straight. We were now on pavement entering a small town
As he went ahead of me, I told him not to go so far ahead and to stay on his side of the street. Seeing him continually pulling to his left, I finally realize he didn’t know what side of the street was his. So I hollered for him to stay in the right lane. He turned left; the sign indicated we were to go right. I corrected him only once and then he started reading directions for himself.
Arriving at the center of town we saw a soccer field to our left and a one-lane bridge over the Saale River ahead. Because of the arch in the bridge, once approaching traffic gets so far out they can’t see each other over the rise, especially if one is a recumbent trike. So it was for an approaching car and our bikes. I pulled into a recess of the bridge because there truly was not room for the width of my trike to meet the car.
By this time I had called Dolores and she said as soon as she finished shopping she’d be there to get us. Nolan and I pulled under a really great shade where we had some more of that “hot” water and I took some pictures. Then it was back across the bridge. Each time we’d try to cross, we’d be forced back into the recess. Finally, I made it clear to Nolan that I wanted him to cross by himself so I could think about taking more pictures.
Once we had both arrived back at the soccer field, it was only moments before Nolan said something about Granny. I said I didn’t know where she was. He looked over his shoulder and grinned and said, “ I said here she comes, dummy.” Then I heard the Dakota coming up behind me.
By the time Dolores picked us up, and the ride is not done till the pickup, it was about 1530 hours and we had racked up another astounding six miles on the bike computer. Oh, by the way, the new bell we installed at the start of the trip? It is now in pieces, parts of which are still in my day box.
This was another great trip with my little friend. He gets more fun the older he gets. Stay tuned. I think I feel another ride coming.
Archie L. Tucker
Archie L. Tucker
publisher 'Bent Miles
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