'Bent Miles, An Online Bike Touring Magazine
Kira's Cycling Expedition for Charities.
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Fifty--Mile Ride from Nuenberg to Bamberg:
Finally, March 10, rolled around. It was the date of my scheduled minor surgery. I've always wondered just to whom any surgery is minor. And, I've always come to the same conclusion. Surgery is never minor to the one to whom it is done, just to the ones who are doing.
Anyway, I had a foreshadowing of my immediate health to come. My temperature was 101 and there were some questions as to if the nurse and doctor might reschedule on a day when I was in better health. I assured the medic that I was not going to reschedule; it was today or not. And for all of you who are morbidly curious as to just what minor surgery I had, just keep wondering.
The next morning was Friday; and I was still feeling poorly. I called for a substitute; but, there were none to be had. So, it was back to work with a fever and feeling like warmed over pooh-pooh. I told our secretary that I'd come in and if I didn't get to feeling better, I'd go home later in the day. By lunch I was on my way back home and the much awaited bed and liquids, liquids, vitamin C....
All weekend it was fluctuating fever, sweating, and chills. Oh yeah! I had it. The big old bug. I was smitten by the unliving, a virus. I stayed in the house until Tuesday, the 15th of March. Finally, on the 15th I had no fever and was feeling like getting out. Sadly, the weather since the 12th had been like the picture below. Normally this would not phase me. However, just getting out of my sick bed, I was not looking for a relapse. So, no riding in such weather.
Then started the sunshine. The weather warmed. Dolores, asked me where I was going to ride. Trying to get me out of the house???I had not yet decided. She reminded me that we had reconnoitered the route between Nuenberg and Bamberg some months back and I should ride that route. Humm...OK!! Let's do it!!
So, on the morning of March 17, 2005, we departed the house about at 1030. We missed the turnoff to the bike trail we had previously reconnoitered; and, I put into the trail some ways up river. Arriving at what looked like a decent area to put into the bike trail, Nolan had to use the restroom. I took him into an Imbiss where they refused to let him go. I told the lady he was going do it in her yard. Of course he didn't.
I saw a couple of ladies walking and asked where the bike trail was. They indicated it was on the other side of the river and explained how to get there. We got to the other side and I asked another lady about the bike trail. "Oh! it's on the other side." I thanked her and stopped a man riding a bike and both ladies had been correct. He told me to go a long ways down river till I came to a footbridge then cross the river and the trail would continue on the other side.
I went back to the truck, kissed Dolores and Nolan bye. Mounted my pillow onto the front of my day box, installed my flag and made sure I hung the obligator plastic bag of food on my seat, checked my water, and was on my way. The trail was paved and level. I quickly fell into a 15--17 mph cadence and began snapping pictures along the way.
While the sun was out, the wind was up and a bit nippy, but not quite cold. However, the sun did belie the actual temperature as reflected by the ice in the water below.
It was not long before I encountered the footbridge I had been told about and crossed over. The entry into the trail on the other side was literally a breeze. I sailed downhill at 30 mph onto a well paved trail. "Ahhh!! This is the life... oops...is this the right way??"
I stopped, got out the trusty old compass. With all the metal, I couldn't get a clear reading; but, even a fuzzy one told me that going back the direction I had come, was not the answer. Now, out comes the "good ol' map", like I can really read one. "Humm...ahhh, yeah..." the map showed the cannel on the right of the trail. "And just looky, looky, momma; there it is."
Stuffing the compass back into the map case, yeah, you guys in the army ain't the only ones with map cases, I placed the case just inside my jacket out of the way. Now, this caused problems because I was constantly pulling on the map case string when I was trying to pull on my camera string, both of which were around my neck.
What was the answer? Well, I'm glad you asked. Taking my wallet out of my outside zippered breast pocket and placing it elsewhere allowed me to place my camera in a readily accessible area for snap and go.
Now, I was ready to travel; then all of a sudden, sooner than it appeared, all pavement was gone. I quickly went from 17 mph all bogged down in this white gooey muddy like material that I assume was gypsum. It promptly caked on the tires and slung up on the fenders and the support brackets, subsequently splashing upon my hands and legs.
In places, my rear tire would slip in the leftover snow and ice. In others, my front tires would slide over the ice until they found grip in the underlying mud. This was my second trip along a cannel, and it seemed that cannel bike trails were not the most improved of trails.
I'd encounter bike riders and runners alike. Some folks were up to fishing; and I'd get a shot as I slipped and slid past them. As the trail progressed, and the longer it was in the sun, the dryer it got and subsequently, the easer it was to pedal. I was soon up to 10--14 mph. At times the headwind would retard my speed. Then would come the crosswinds. And better still, was when the trail and river changed directions and the wind changed as well and the tailwind would propel me even faster.
I was eventually able to maintain a good cadence and crossing a stream revealed that I had made the right decision to ride from Nuenberg to Bamberg instead of the other way, because the stream was flowing my way.
As I'd approach a loch, the route would invariably, veer to the left and down hills. One such hill resulted in my high of 42 mph. Then the trail would turn right then fork off to the left again away from the loch and down a steep downgrade of which I'd zip past walking couples at 30 plus mph..
Dolores would call me from time to time to tell me where she was and report that she and Nolan was in Bamberg at the PX and inquire as to my location. In one such call we agreed that I would call her when I reached the little town of Forchheim, just about 12 Ks out of Bamberg.
At about 1400 I pulled over just across from were barges were unloading concrete blocks and had a sandwich and bottle of water. One sandwich seemed to do me well. But, after pedaling for a little while, I got this insatiable desire for a chocolate bar with almonds. I just could not get it out of my mind.
With each turn of the pedals I'd think about calling Dolores and have her pick me up, not one but, two chocolate bars. With each temptation, I didn't want to take the time and told myself that I'd ask her the next time she called. Of course, the next time she called and asked me where I was, since the trail was the poorest marked bike trail I've ever seen in Germany, I'd reply that I was somewhere along the cannel and would call her when I arrived in Forchheim. Needless to say, I forgot to order my chocolate bars.
Finally, I arrived in Forchheim at about 1700. I stopped in front of a well marked bank and called Dolores. She was not sure where she was but would call me when she arrived so we could meet. I got off of Tweety and chained her to a post. Then, on sore knees and ankles and hips, I limped past some young folks with ice-cream. Oh, I wanted those chocolate bars. "That's it!" I thought. "I'll get a chocolate ice-cream cone." I started walking back in the direction where I had past them. They were gone. On I limped until I spotted a cafe bar. Over here a cafe bar does not hold the same connotation as in the States. It usually means you can get ice-cream there.
As I entered, I saw a young waitress just sitting down to have her break. I asked if they had ice, this is ice-cream in Germany. She said they did. I couldn't remember how to say cone and she didn't know what I meant. So, she goes to get the boss. He spoke very good English and pointed me in the direction of an Italian ice-cream shop. Now, if you have never been to Europe, just take it from me; if you want ice-cream, Italian is the way to go.
I enter the first place I pass that has an Italian name--guess the name. Give up? Capone. After several excuse mes, the waitress finally stopped talking to someone in the back and I inquired if they had ice. She opened an ice bucket and showed me several ice cubes. Well, I guess there is always a first. I made it clear that I wanted ice-cream and she pointed me further on down the street.
Finally, I see the international sign for ice-cream, yes, ice-cream is a big thing in Europe. I walk up to the window behind two families. They think. They talk; they think; then, they order. Ooooh! Get out of my way! I want that ice-cream. The next family points; they talk; they point; finally, they order and move on. Finally, it's my turn. I ordered a cone with three scoops of chocolate ice-cream. When I find out that it is only 1 euro 40, I order a fourth scoop.
Everyone seems to be watching this older man as I lick and gulp down the chocolate, trying to satisfy my craving. Chocolate gets on my chin, it drips down onto my coat. I wipe it; more drips onto my pants leg. I limp back to my trike. I eat the last of the cone and deposit the napkin in the trash can that just happens to be near my trike.
I unlock Tweety. Teens pass by in a car with the music blaring. I ease myself back into the seat and rest my head on the pillow. I hear a commotion. I look on the other side of the street as a bunch of girls push a fellows car that won't start. I can feel his embarrassment as he gets out trying to strut it off as he dials a number on his cell.
I've taken quite a few pictures, but as I write, I realize I didn't take enough in the town. Cobblestone streets lined with white building with reddish colored beams made for a fairy tail village. "Oooh! I want more chocolate!" I thought, as I pedaled back toward the ice-cream shop. The phone rang. It was Dolores telling me where she was. Prior to that, she had ordered me to wait at a certain place she had passed on the way to Bamberg. I knew that she didn't know what she was talking about and had went on into the town along the main street. Now, she was trying to tell me where she was. I told her to just wait and I'd find her. I didn't tell her that I was going for my second cone and was afraid that the owner would close while I was on the phone to her. I told her I'd call her back.
This time folks were just leaving the window and I had no wait. I, once again, at the proprietors laughter, ordered another cone with four scoops. Little boys and big boys alike watched this strange old fellow as he pedaled his strange contraption all the while licking his chocolate ice-cream cone. As soon as I had finished my cone and was assured by several folks that I was on Bamberger Strasse, I called Dolores. She said she was also on Bamberger Strasse but that she thought it ran out.
I knew that she was reading the Strasse signs the way we do in the States and assured her that I was on Bamberger Strasse and would see her in a few moments. Sure enough I soon saw the electric shop she had described. Looking off to my left across the traffic, I saw the Dakota parked on a smaller street that intersected with Bamberger Strasse.
I pulled up to a spot where I could cross the street and was soon blocked from her view by traffic. I called to let her know I was just across the street and would cross as soon as I could get through the traffic. Pulling up to the truck, I took one last picture of Tweety and loaded her onto the truck. Nolan gave me a long awaited hug and kiss and we were on our way home.
While I feel that each of my cannel rides were not among my most scenic trips and on occasion felt they were even boring, I did manage to snap 175 pictures all of which I can't possibly include in this issue.
All in all, however, I did enjoy the ride--I've never not enjoyed one--the memory and the read is sometimes almost as enjoyable, though. Hope you enjoy the read as well as the pictures. Till the next time, keep the sun in your face and the wind to your back.