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May, June 2010 Volume 8 Issue 1
Bayreuth to Wuerzburg Bike Ride With Nolan:
Ok, so it has been "forever" since I've updated my biking pages. Since I post so many pictures for each issue, it just wears me out resizing all those pictures, then deciding on which to include in the magazine and which to cull. Then, of course, if you have been reading "Bent Miles for long at all, you know that my tax man told me years ago that I could not carry it as a business. It would be considered by IRS as a hobby. So, that sure took a lot of wind out of my sail. Then came the big theft; the folks who carried my site for me and I had some words of falling out. Even though they were told repeatedly in e-mail after e-mail that I no longer wanted their services, and I was fully paid up at the time, they refused to release my url, hence the reason for changing it from bentmiles to bentmileshealth. By, the way, allow me to give them just a bit of negative advertising here; their name is gate.com. They and peopledomain.com hijacked my url and resold it. Don't deal with them; they are thieves.
Now, for our ride report. While visiting friends in the Wurzburg area, where we used to live along the Main, I met a couple of ladies who were riding from Bayreuth, where the Red Main starts, to Mainz where the Main joins the Rhine River. Since we currently live just a few miles from Bayreuth, I got the notion to do the ride as well. So, when I shared this with Nolan and Dolores, they agreed that it should be done. Initially, I planned to catch the train at the train station just up the street from my house, to Bayreuth. But, being the good wife she is, Dolores volunteered to take Nolan and me to Bayreuth and pick us up in Wurzburg on a given date.
I wanted to get started right away. However, Dolores was not going to let me off the hook, quite that easy. She had spoken to the folks at the repair shop, and they projected to have a part for our Dakota on the following Thursday; it would be my job to go there and wait, ever how long it took to get worked into the schedule. So, Nolan and I went forward as the brave souls we are and delivered the truck, with bikes in the back, to the repair shop. We left them the key and took our bikes and rode the 3 or so miles to the PX to look at some games he wanted to buy. Now, mind you, this kid makes more money than the law ought to allow. He gets paid a dollar per mile for every mile he bikes with his granddad.
Upon our return, they had the truck ready for pickup. So, now we could better plan the trip. I have two computers set up in my office. The old system has XP. It is the only computer out of the four we currently have in the house that will run my biking program which I've used for so many years. I ran a copy of the route with mileage from location to location along the route and printed it off. I then took the map that I bought years ago for my first Passau ride, and reviewed the route on it. Then I took two more biking maps that gave more detail but covered only the very first part of the trip, and studied them.
We then drove to Bayreuth and reconnoitered where to put into the bike trail. All this done, the night before the ride, we packed our bags. We were going to camp along the way. So, I had Nolan bring his bags up to my bedroom and watch as I packed my bags. He and I then packed his. I showed him how to roll his clothes and the roll the bag so all the air was out and then zipping it to form a vacuum so as to better fit into the biking bags. His bags are not water proof; so, it was very important that he do this right. Now, I suppose some of you think it is not necessary to put your clothes in plastic bags if your panniers are waterproof. Well, let me just tell you a little story.
Michael Ricci and I took a trip some years back and camped in the campgrounds at Traben-Trarbach. That night it came real gully washer. When camping by myself, I generally bring my bags inside the tent with me. That accomplishes three things: It gives me ready access to my bags; it helps keep the tent weighted down, because I don't stake it; and it keeps my bags dry and secure. Well on this trip, with two of us totting two bags each, there was not enough room in the tent for them and us at the same time.
It rained so hard that night and the wind blew so badly, that limbs from the nearby apple trees blew down; and Michael's bike's kickstand sank deeper and deeper into the soil. I awoke swinging in the dark, grabbing for my knife to defend myself from whatever had come out in such a rainy night to attack me through my tent. Of course, you guessed it; his bike had fallen on top of me, hitting me in the head with the handlebars.
The next morning the sun was stunning; however, when I went to my trike, I saw where I had not quite zipped the bags completely shut. Guess what happens to the inside of pockets of waterproof bags when the water finds its way inside? You got it. Waterproof outside equals waterproof inside, and all of my clothes were just sitting there in pockets full of water. Packing in plastic saved me a lot money and anguish. I rode my Greenspeed up to the bath house and, took handfuls of paper towels and stuffed them into the pockets to soak up all the water I could. Having had that experience as well as seeing how others suffered when they got their sleeping bags wet during my days in the army, packing properly on a Tucker trip is not an option; it is the only way. So, I've included a of picture of what a properly packed bag might look like.
Day One: August 3, 2011
We departed home at about 0700 and arrived in Bayreuth at about 0725. After downloading the bikes, we loaded all of our bags. We had made the decision the night before that we would not camp; so, you will see that my 40 or so pound bags are minus the tent and sleeping bags. After kisses and hugs and one last picture of Dolores was taken, we hit the bike trail. The day was a great one for biking. The weather was Goldie lox weather, not too cool and not too hot, just right.
Of course, Nolan took the lead and we followed the Red Main across a covered bridge and then wound our way through street after street trying to find our way out of the city.
The route was well posted with signs of green print on white background. The paths were a mixture of pavement and gravel, with most being pavement. One town, dorf, and village after the other was more picturesque than any artist's canvas. Forests after forests opened up into wide expanses of hay fields, and wheat crops cut across by the meandering Red Main. As you will see in succeeding pictures it grew larger and larger as it merged with the White Main and became the magnificent Main River. Cameras of the very finest quality could not capture the result of the True Artist's handiwork. God's canvas can not be replicated. However, I did capture over five hundred pictures on the two different cameras I brought along. I use a very nice little program called FastStone to resize my pictures so as to reduce the file size for uploading to my site. Not having used it for over a year, I inadvertently resized into my original folder and then sized back and the resized and you can see the results as grainy pictures on the first two days. Sorry about that. Maybe the pictures from the second camera will be better if I don't mess up again.
After pumping for a couple of hours, Nolan started wanting to stop at a guest house for something to eat. I told him we would be snacking out of the bag that Granny had packed for us. Seeing a freshly mowed area to the right of the path, we pulled off for a water and snack break. As you can see, the fare was soy bologna with lettuce and mustard on multigrain bread, yum, yum, goood!! Nolan only wanted one, so I had two. As we were eating, a man came by with three dogs, one of which came right over to share my meal. I shooshed him away and told the man to get his dogs under control. I've stepped into, biked over, and almost biked over so much dog residue that I'm not understanding of pet owners who won't control their pets, mainly dogs on the bike trail.
I was steadily impressed with the response of my bike all along the route. Coming off the bridge where the Red and White Main met, I saw a young couple. He looked to be repairing or adjusting the handlebar bag on his wife's bike. I asked if all was ok. Getting a reply in the affirmative, I put away my camera and commenced to catch up with Nolan. I was very impressed with how, just a little added pressure combined with the proper gears, the Easy Racer responded. In no time, I was on Nolan's fender snapping shots of him and the surrounding countryside. Coming across a covered bridge, we once again came upon an older couple we had passed before. We had stopped in search of a place to eat and they had not. Apparently the lady had asked Nolan where he was from and he hollered in passing, "Schwarzenbach, near Grafenwhor.
Stopping for a water and bladder break, we pulled off into a rest area. While I had my back to the bike trail in some tall bushes, Nolan begin to aggravate me hollering that we were getting behind. The others were passing us. I scolded him to be quite and allow me to finish my business. When he saw that I was going to get into no rush and was going to rehydrate, he said, don't worry PaPa, we will catch them. Nolan was no different during the trip than usual. He always tries to reassure his Pa Pa whenever he detects me getting frustrated or upset. He is my best friend after Granny. We had stopped at one guest house only to find they were not serving meals at that time and they had no intentions of making an exception for a couple of bikers. So we had a drink and I took picktures of the open window as well as their antique radio and clock. On our way out we met a German couple coming in. They had no better luck at a meal than we had.
Some miles down the road we found a snail imbiss (fast food place). Going inside and snapping some pictures, we were told they did not serve a vegetable plate, but there was a guest house on down the road. After a few more rotations of the wheels and pedals, we came to a very nice place that served us two large salads and two helpings of boiled potatoes. After a few bites of his salad, Nolan made me a deal I just couldn't refuse. He traded the rest of his salad for the rest of my potatoes. I guess the rabbit food just was not filling his hollow legs.
At somewhere around the 55 or 60 mile mark, I started looking for a place to spend the night. Coming down a hill, I saw this yellow sign that advertised a Pension. But, it was closed on Wednesdays. I hollored at Nolan to turn right. We stopped and asked a couple of ladies about a Pension. They directed us to just around the corner. I'll have to tell you right now, if you are ever in need of a place to sleep and eat while you are in the little town of Rattlersdorf, the "Goldener Stern" is the place to pull over for the night. The owner is a great host.
After getting checked into our rooms, Nolan and I each had a shower. We had eaten a huge salad and a helping of boiled potatoes just prior to finding our quarters; So, we went downstairs to the guesthouse and ordered a salad and fries to share between the two of us. The waiter brought back, a large salad and a very large bowel of fries.
Needless to say, we welcomed the most comfortable beds of the whole trip. My lower back, where I've had it broken, started bothering me just before the trip. I had taken a run with my backpack on and must have stressed that part of my back. For several days I had been in pain. However, it had been ok for the bike ride. Laying down on the bed, I found it to be soft but very firm so as to fit my back supportably. All during the night, I was waken by thunder and was very glad that we had changed our minds about camping.
Day Two, August 4, 2011:
Breakfast was scheduled for 0800. I woke Nolan at about 0730 and we started packing the bags. Taking them down to the bikes, which were parked in an enclosed courtyard with plastic very tightly and neatly strung out above for a roof, we could see and hear the rain pitter pattering as it lightly spattered the plastic. While loading the bikes, a lady from Muchen started up a conversation with us. She seemed fascinated with Nolan. Who could ever blame her? She spoke a bit of English and seemed enthused to practice it on us. We spoke of the beautiful weather of the day before and how the past two summers have been really bad here in Germany. She asked if I thought it would stop. I told her that Nolan and I had prayed for it to; so, it must. I indicated the nice breathable rain coats Nolan and I had on just in case it did not stop. She didn't seem too impressed with prayer and indicated that she had a heavy poncho, but didn't particularly want to have to get it out. I told her it didn't make a whole lot of difference, we'd either get wet from the rain or the perspiration that one generates even with breathable raingear on. Her husband, his brother and wife, came up and joined our conversation for a few minutes. After which, they went on to breakfast and we performed the few last tie-downs and checks and headed that way ourselves.
Breakfast consisted of bread and jam with coffee for me, and orange juice for Nolan. The room and breakfast bill was 44 Euros which our host rounded down to 40 Euros. After paying and taking a few more pictures, Nolan and I showed our way out of the courtyard into the rain drenched street. Of course it was back up the same hill that had spilled us into the doorway of the pension the day before. As usual, Nolan took the lead and lead us back to the bike trail. The rain was a light drizzle that soon dissipated into a light mist and with in a couple of hours we had shed our rain coats and were taking a snack break.
As the day wore on, I became concerned about finding a place for the night. Our intent had been to make it into Kitzingen by night and find a room. However, that was going to be a bit late; and I was concerned there may not be any rooms left. I called Dolores and asked her to call some German friends who live near Kitzingen and see if they could find us a room somewhere along the path between our location and Kitzingen. They could find only one place and that was 72 Euro with breakfast. When the friend called me on my cell, I thanked her and told her that we would try on our own. Arriving in Bergheinfeld, I spotted a man adjusting the tarp on his trailer. When I asked him about a room, he found it too difficult to tell me in English so he decided he would lead us on his bike. He would look back on occasion to see if we were still with him. Each time he would stand on the pedals and speed up, I'd just give a little more push on my pedals and shift. Looking into one of my three side view mirrors, I saw that Nolan was having no problems keeping up. I was still very impressed with the response my Tour Easy made to my demands, even with the forty or fifty pounds of water and food and tools I carried.
Arriving at the hotel, he went on about how nice it was and the meals they served. We thanked him and went inside. I asked the price, the name of the town had sounded familiar, the price was 72 Euros. It was the same place our friend had told us about on the phone.
After giving the receptionist all the registration information, she lead us to the parking garage for our bikes. We found our room to be adequate. However, it was not worth the difference we had paid the night before, and the family run atmosphere was absent. Having had only a small pizza to eat for our noon meal, we were famished. We ordered a vegetable plate and found it to be drenched in oil. Our total mileage for the day was 55 miles. The mileage you see on the bike computer does not work out to 55 because I failed to clear my computer on day one until I noticed it after about a two mile ride. So instead of reading 63 miles on the first day, it should have read 65. I knew we were not making as good time as we had the first day. However, we did not have to contend with rain and as many stops on that day. We would and should have went on because the next morning we passed a Pension just before getting into Kitzingen.
The night was a long one. The view and breeze was blocked by a very unattractive view of the next wing of the hotel. The room was hot, so I told Nolan to open the window and move to the other end of the bed so as not to bump his head on the window. He asked if we would be keeping it open all night. I indicated that would depend on the weather. At about 2130, after Nolan had drifted off and I was still reading, I hollered at someone who was emptying trash in the containers just below our window. On top of that, the smoking area was just under our window and their conversations were a constant source of irritation until about 2230. Folks, were loud in the halls and there were thee different clocks; one of which may have been outside and two of which were likely inside. Non of them were in synchronization. There would be an hourly dong from each and one had a 15 minute dong. So, it was not a very restful sleep. However, breakfast was good. Neither of us eat meat; so none of the cold cuts were an option for us. Once again we had a choice of several German breads and jams. Then I noticed a fellow with scrambled eggs. After asking him where he had gotten them, I filled my plate; then, I went back for another small helping. It has been only within the last couple of months that I've went back to eating eggs. Reading "The Ultra Metabolism", the Ultra... by Dr. Mark Hyman, I've learned that while eggs do contain a gross amount of cholesterol, they also contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids. It is his contention that it is not the cholesterol in eggs that clogs arties; he says it is the inflammation in ones body that causes the clogging. So, I decided to give it a try. I have had a cholesterol count of 256 in the past. I had gotten it down to 199; and after two months of eating eggs, my last reading was 192. It is still too high, but the eggs didn't seem to impact it. I'll continue to watch it. At each doctor's visit, I request a C reactive protein test to check for inflammation. So far it has not reflected an inflammation.
Arriving in Volcoch, I thought I was in familiar territory since I've biked there a couple of times while living in Wuerzburg. However, they were building a new bridge; the posted signs could not be followed and people's instructions were not correct. We visited the bridge two or three times; then finally, I asked one of the construction works for directions. We took and immediate right after crossing the bridge back into Volcoch, and then were faced with having to push our bikes across a two foot wide plank to gain access to the bike trail. Not wanting either of us or our bikes drenched in the water filled ditch, I pushed each bike across. There was barely enough room for my bike and the bags and me side-by-side; and the distant bank was a bear. Having crossed successfully, Nolan started complaining about his front brakes catching. Looking at them it was apparent that he had damaged them in the last fall he had taken. I adjusted them so that they no longer rubbed but still worked well when applied.
Arriving in Kitzingen, there were so many signs that it became confusing. Nolan took command lead and guided us through a section of town that I knew was correct but was not sure that it would lead us back to the bike trail. However, when we arrived on the main street, which I wanted to avoid, we could see the automobile bridge with a bike lane. I knew that once we crossed, we would have to turn under the bridge and then find our way back down to the river. So, I took lead. The route I was familiar with would have required us crossing busy traffic onto the other side of the street. So, I took a right into the parking lot of a doctor's office I was familiar with. I, became a bit hesitant for directions; Nolan darted around me and led us out of the parking lot. I hollered for him to watch the street and turn right toward the river. Getting to the river, we encountered a wedding celebration along the bike trail. It having been so long since I had ridden in Kitzingen, I asked a man from the wedding party if Wurzbrug was straight ahead. I could tell by his hesitation that complete directions were too detailed for his time; and he indicated that it was, just to get rid of me. Pushing on through town, we continued on the bike trail for about two miles until we came to a beer garden I was familiar with. Nolan had been wanting to go to the boat restaurant. However, I knew that it already being just past noon, we would never make it in time. So, I asked if he would like to take a snack break.
We ordered two fanta and coke mixes along with a large salad and french-fries to share. Dolores had called us earlier and said she was on the other side of Wurezburg shopping and asked if we wanted her to pick us up. We had told her no. However, sitting in the restful atmosphere of the beer garden, Nolan and I both had a change of mind and asked her to come get us. Once we loaded the bikes, we decided that since the boat restaurant was likely closed, we would go to our favorite Italian restaurant that was open all day long. I ordered Spaghetti De-Ablo, and Dolores and Nolan had pizza. We were absolutely stuffed for our three hour drive home.
Before arriving in Weiden, we decided we would have supper at our favorite Thai restaurant. This rounded out a 162 mile bike trip that we will remember for years to come. For those of you, which means all of you, that did not ride with us, you missed a very rewarding ride. God bless and keep you. Hope to see you on the bike trails.
For those of you who either attended or worked at Wuerzburg high school, I took the blow pictures to show you how some of the buildings are being used. I also took pictures of the elementary and middle school. It breaks my heart to look at them. The sports field in the area of the track is totally neglected. What a shame.
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