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In what seems to be becoming an annual event, the Bakfiets was a Fair Trade chocolate shop again over the weekend for a local festival. The people organising asked for a copy of this picture, which I sent them, thinking it would just go on the website.

Later someone recognised the bike from the local newspaper, which was a surprise.

I know there’s a school of thought that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but… most of the local readers are also local drivers, and if the reactions I sometimes get out on the road are anything to go by, then they may have pushed some customers away…

“The least fit ten-year-old English child from a class of 30 in 1998 would be one of the five fittest children in the same class tested today.”

From the always interesting No Tech Magazine. link to full article here: http://www.notechmagazine.com/2015/06/the-inactivity-pandemic.html

If ony there was a simple and inexpensive way to change that.

Posts are a Industrial revolution thumbbit thin on the ground at the moment because I’m working on my current storytelling project, “The (nearly) complete history of the Industrial Revolution”. I’ve decided which stories will be included, and which stories won’t: some are funny, some quite incredible (The incident with the engineer and the alligator comes to mind) and some are simply tragic reminders that the changes were not welcomed by everyone.

All these stories now have to be packaged together, told, retold, and timed so I don’t go over the promised 90 minutes. I won’t have time to explain the changes to the banking system or the repeal of the Calico Act, which I suspect will be a relief to all. Audiences come to hear about jealousy, love, exploding steam engines and people being fed to alligators, not long rambling essays and dates.

Unfortunately people who write history books don’t seem to think this way, so I’ve been digging through acres of paper. I think the current ratio is about fifteen chapters about banking for one alligator…

Fireengine

The local sport club was having a festival on the weekend so several streets were closed. This is the fire department waking everyone up with a loud hailer and siren announcing that any cars still parked here in the next five minutes would be removed, which is something the car adverts don’t show.

The announcement was punctuated by comments like “Attention please. please remove your cars from the Friedrichstrasse. All cars not removed will be towed away in five minutes… Good morning Franziska…”

I’m guessing that wasn’t part of the official announcement.

Even better, on the next street they were making the announcement from a bicycle.*

*Without the bit about Franziska.

So there I was riding along a nice gravel trail towards our village: I turned a corner, saw a bike coming the other way, pulled on the brakes too quickly, the Xtracycle went in a different direction to me and I made sudden and unwelcome contact with the Federal Republic. Considering that I basically dived into the gravel like an olympic swimmer making for gold, I came out rather well: just a couple of bruises on my hands and a rather dramatic graze on my shoulder which made first contact.  My face managed to get away with a near-invisible scratch, which is good as people ask awkward questions when you turn up with an obvious facial injuries.

Annoyingly, this is the second time I’ve fallen off my bike in three months. Earlier this spring I went wide on a blind bend and locked handlebars with an oncoming rider. No real damage was done but I was wondering why this would be. Am I getting old? sloppy?

I have a less embarrassing theory: both times I was taken by surprise by oncoming cyclists. All winter I’ve had the cycle ways to myself, and now the hibernating cyclists are returning and I’m not ready for them. On a road, I’m riding defensively, seeing dangers, taking the lane, etc. When I get onto a bike lane I relax. Apparently a bit too much.

We cycle infrastructure advocates will bore the pants off anyone about how cycle lanes make people feel safe, but perhaps we should add a disclaimer that you still have to look where you are going…

*With apologies to Disgruntled.

Xtrakickboard

We discovered another use for an Xtracycle: Bringing Youngest Son back from football practice when we needed him here quicker than a kickboard would allow.

Yesterday was a challenge: I had to go to Eldest Son’s school to help prepare for the summer festival,* then get back to our apartment to take youngest off to the dentist in the next town (and naturally the opposite direction) then bring him back to go to a school party in the afternoon.

Which would have been fine if I’d remembered this before half past seven in the morning, and then remembered to take something to eat, instead of panicking and racing off having eaten four slices of toast early in the morning and then nothing until mid afternoon.

I’m told that some people are organised…

*This is an introvert survival strategy: if I help prepare for the festival I get to decide what I do during the day itself, and making nest boxes is infinitely preferable to playing basketball in a ‘parents vs. children’ match.

Riding the Bakfiets to the local metro station to pick up the boys* I noticed a cyclist coming towards in full lycra with helmet riding an ancient and rather dusty bike. Nothing unusual there: this time of year the routes over the fields fill with luridly clad riders on bikes which look like they’ve been in a cellar for the last twelve months.

What was odd was that I could hear a tinny voice coming from a large plastic object on his handlebars. I thought this was a cell phone using the hands free facility until he came closer and I realised it was a radio, fastened onto the handlebars and blaring out 80’s hits from the local station.

The end is nigh, I tell you…

And speaking of abominations being where they should not be, my computer seems to have picked up some adware called cheapo-o, which I can’t get rid of. I’ve shut down the add-on but according to several websites there’s still spyware lurking on the hard drive. Of course they all want me to download another programme to get rid of same, but as that’s apparently what caused the problem in the first place I’m not touching them. Can anyone recommend a safe way to remove this rubbish?

*It is downhill coming back: I’m nice but not that nice…

Bridge_BW_01

I’ve discovered a traffic-free route to the next big town. It even includes this bridge over the river so instead of fighting my way down a steep, traffic filled hill or across a multi-lane junction I can now go straight from my preferred route down the hill and onto the cycleway that takes me into the centre of town and hardly have to deal with cars for the whole route.

Black and white photo an attempt to make ‘where I went on my bike’ shot look artsy.

I call it the Bridge of Irony because it was mainly built to link two sections of the huge Mercedes plant in this part of the valley…

firststrawberries

The strawberry plants on the balcony are going slightly beserk and keep trying to plant themselves in neighbouring plots: I suspect Triffid ancestry.

Youngest Son went on a foraging raid this morning and came back with the first strawberries of the season.

 

minichaos

Yesterday, Beautiful Daughter turned six months old. Here she is in the afternoon, surveying the chaos she caused. Again…

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