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It turns out that you can, with some effort, make a hole in ‘puncture proof’ tyres. I do not recommend this, of course, and it does take a surprising amount of work and incompetence, but I have managed it as follows:
Pump tyres up to 4 bar, (one bar under the maximum, but the person who worked this out probably thought the tyres would be used as they were meant to be: on flat roads. Under a lighter bike).
Take Xtracycle to garden for family picnic.
Before going home, load Xtracycle with remains of picnic, a bag of compost, several gardening tools, a large plant pot and some work boots.
Decide Youngest Son is too tired to ride home on his own.
Put youngest son on already overloaded Xtracycle. Strap his bike on to tow it home as well.
Consider leaving some things but then realise that means coming back to get them in half an hour. Decide you can’t be bothered.
On the way home, drive up a very steep, badly surfaced road, putting entire weight of (overloaded) Xtracycle, Youngest Son, and and a rider that is ‘cough’ kilogrammes heavier than strictly necessary, onto the back wheel.
Mash pedals to get up hill.
Fail to notice one particularly sharp bit of gravel embed itself into the thickest part of the back tyre under the pressure.
Continue riding (and probably overloading) the bike for the next two days.
Result: one unscheduled visit to the bike shop for a replacement tyre and inner tube.
I guess that’s why the tyres are sold as ‘puncture proof’ rather than ‘idiot proof’.
The edge of the hills.This is one side of a pass into the range we can see from our apartment, when it isn’t raining or cloudy. If I was very much fitter than I am I could have jogged up to the top, climbed a tree, and waved to Beautiful Wife.
I’m not that fit though. And Beautiful Wife was out anyway
According to my bike computer of questionable accuracy this is 25 kilometres from home. There are worse views from a kitchen*.
*For example, the view of a carpark 30cm from the window in our previous apartment…
Youngest Son suddenly decided that pedals are the future and got his big brothers to teach him to ride a bike.. The first we knew about it was when Beautiful Wife saw him racing past the kitchen. He’s spent most of the week giving demonstrations and finding any excuse to ride anywhere (except up hills: still working on that). It’s great to see him happy, growing, more independent and mobile etc, but I’ll miss having a small person on my bike. The Kindergarten pickup has changed from carrying Eldest Son and as many of his friends as can fit into the Bakfiets, to towing a small bike up the hill using the Xtracycle, unhitching, and riding home together. That’s fun too, even if we have to follow a rather indirect route to avoid the main road, because people in cars are obviously more important than families who merely live here.
Anyway, Beautiful wife had mentioned that chocolate supplies were going down. This is a serious problem, so Youngest and I decided that we’d go to on the almost entirely traffic free route to the next town and resupply before things got dangerous: the sun was shining, and it would be a chance for Youngest to go out on a bike ride with a purpose. We decided on a plan: on the uphill bits I’d tow Youngest Son’s bike and he’d ride the Xtracycle, and if it rained (which of course it wouldn’t, as it was so sunny and bright) I could tow us home.
I really should have looked at the weather report closely, or taken more notice of those clouds behind us, especially as we had a tailwind. As we came out of the shop the weather caught up with us and my suspicions were confirmed that Youngest Son’s ‘waterproof’ coat wasn’t.
Fortunately there was a longer but less windy route through various housing estates and along the most expensive cycle lane in the world. By the time we’d made it to the top of the hill the rain had given up so Youngest Son got to ride the last bit and still seemed to be smiling when we got home. Of course the question is if he’s smiling because of the ride or smiling because it was over.
Ah, well, chocolate supplies restored…
In the depths of the hills towards Tübingen the forest Elves have made a spring, weary travellers for the use of.
It didn’t seem to give special powers like seeing the future, invisibilty, or even the ability to climb the next hill faster, but on the plus side I wasn’t attacked by any trolls and there were no dead sheep in the water upstream, so I was happy.
Where the lions and tigers and bears might be, and the lumberjacks had already been. (Bigger version here)
If I’m honest, it’s about five minutes after I wrote my last post: I’m going to let this go online automatically so I have a bit of time to get settled in and sort out my internet connection in a castle in the middle of a field.
Here’s the bike that I’ve been working on, and if all goes to plan, the one which will have transported me some of the way to Schloss Daschow and the Nee-Naw training school. The finished result isn’t going to win any beauty competitions but that’s not the point. The point was to make something reliable but not likely to be stolen. (and as it used to look like this, I couldn’t make it any worse anyway)
Stuttgart is filled to the place denoting filled-ness with cars. This is means the bike infrastructure is pretty awful (a point I will probably labour next month when commuting in the city) but on the other hand, it means that the chances of your bike getting nicked isn’t high. This is because hardly anyone wants a bike, because everyone else drives a car.
Now, I’min a region known for cycling*, and thus a place where bikes get nicked more often. Fortunately Stuttgart helped here as well because people chuck all manner of useful stuff away for the diligent scrounger to collect, so I didn’t have to spend too much to get this bike working nicely, fortunately for you I can’t remember what came from where so you’ll be spared the details. so you’re spared the details, although I know the mudguards came free from a pile of ‘rubbish’ I was able to get at before the council picked it up and the luggage rack came from another bike a customer brought into the shop last year to “get rid of it”. I just knew I’d use it one day. The tyres are reused as well, but that doesn’t count because they were mine and I bought them about fifteen years ago in the UK, which makes me feel old. The Boss at the bike shop is convinced they will end their days in a formula-1 style blow-out with bits flying in all directions and throw me into a ditch somewhere.
But then if I’m going to have an accident, a school full of wannabe ambulance drivers is the place to do it…
*Which of course, I’m not, yet, but you get the idea.
Very Useful Sign showing the cycle routes to the villages of Schlattstall, Gutenberg, and oberlenningen, and the nearest sewage works, just in case someone needs to know.
I was going to ask for suggestions why anyone in the middle of nowhere would suddenly need this information, but if you have any ideas I’d prefer you to keep them to yourselves. Thanks…