You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Cycling’ category.

The camera is working again, as in we gave up the search for a USB connector and got a new one on Ebay. I now confidently expect the old lead to turn up within 24 hours.

Anyway, On the card was the latest quick and easy project I blatantly copied from someone at college:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’d promised my parents a set of plates made of leftover pieces of wood as a Christmas present, and we’d agreed they could pick up when they came to visit us for easter: naturally I left actually making the things to the very last minute. Of course, after I’d cut everything to size the night before they came and carefully arranged the strips into a pleasing pattern, glued and clamped them, they fell out of the clamp and spread themselves all over the floor, but that is the way these things must be and they turned out okay in the end.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As Spring had officially arrived I made the annual trip down the Hole To The Centre Of The Earth to turn the water on, without getting attacked by anything.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With the Bakfiets out of service for a week to avoid frightening animals when we used the brakes, we also had to use the Xtracycle for shopping which is perfectly practical but having got used to the nice clean lines of the Bakfiets, a bit untidy. To add extra spectator interest, I forgot the rule that when loading the Xtracycle, always start with the heavy stuff on the kickstand side, or the bike tips sedately away from you to the amusement of anyone watching.

Another rule I forgot today is that you should never cut towards your finger with a sharp blade or chisel, which is why I’m typing this with a plaster on my left index finger* after cutting dovetails in a way that would certainly have had marks deducted if I were in college.The damage was very slight, which was fortunate as my first reaction was to be pleased at how sharp my chisel was…

*This is the finger which has a slightly numb patch since I severed a nerve twenty years ago making models, and come to think of it, the cut was caused by doing exactly the same thing….

Beautiful Wife was out for the morning and I took the chance to get to the garden and cut some of the more rapidly growing weeds while the sun was shining. This done I stopped for a break in the shadow of the big cherry tree before riding home for lunch. The birds were singing, the garden was looking almost tidy after a session with the shears, and all was well with my world.

Then my phone buzzed: Beautiful Wife was calling to ask how the salad preparation was going.

That would be the salad* that Beautiful Wife had asked me to make this morning, which I’d forgotten about and was currently in kit form, in the fridge, in our kitchen. Where I rather crucially wasn’t.

Saying “I forgot and I’m in the garden” wasn’t going to be a good move.

Beautiful Wife told me she’d be home in fifteen minutes and hung up happily.

I threw the tools in the shed, grabbed coat, fleece, spare boots and water bottle and shoved them into the Xtracycle, set off, swore, came back and locked the gate, set off again, and climbed up the track to the road in about forty seconds, and crested the summit of the hill in time to annoy a driver who apparently thought that cyclists should give him priority at all times, raced down the long hill and back up the other side, joined the main road between cars, shot through the town centre, down the back streets and home, left everything on the Xtracycle, ran up the stairs and started throwing salad into the sink.

By the time Beautiful Wife came back I was pretending to nonchalantly cut radishes.

 *Salads being the only thing I’m allowed to make after the last experience with my cooking.

We took advantage of the good weather, lack of rain, slight reduction in the rain to go on a bike ride this afternoon with the boys because three growing lads in a tiny apartment is a powder keg by about ten in the morning. We visited a couple of local farms where the farmers don’t mind you making friends with the animals as long as you don’t complain when they try and eat your boots, and the boys had a great time watching some cows eating lunch, a horse being attached to a buggy, (Not as unusual here as you’d expect) and having their shoes attacked by goats, before we rolled back down the hill to pick up a bag of compost and check the seedlings in the garden.

This was not propaganda to make the boys enthusiastic about trying this ourselves one day.

I hope that’s clear.

They want chickens, cows and goats.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Eldest Son goes to a school some distance away, which is a perfectly normal here: schools tend to be far enough away that children are sent off on their bikes or public transport to get there. This is a great thing, of course, because they gain independence and experience navigating the real world without parents (except when they are brought to school in Mummy’s SUV, of course, but there’s always one).

During school hours, there is a direct tram from the next town to a stop just across the road from the school. Unfortunately this useful service goes off to bed at about six, because grownup people don’t need public transport, obviously. So if there is a parent’s evening at the school, we need to get on a tram into the city, change to another tram back out of the city, change again, go one stop, and change a final time for the last bit of the journey to the stop for eldest son’s school. This seemed a little pointless, especially as the last change involved waiting for ten minutes for a tram journey that lasted exactly fifty-seven seconds, so this time I took my bike.

Whereupon the clouds above delivered rain in large quantities.

Thankfully the bike storage at the school is covered, so the saddle didn’t get wet*, and I met another cycling parent who showed me a way through the black hole of fast roads and contraflows in one of the lesser suburbs of Stuttgart, so we got home quicker than I’d have managed by tram. I used the extra time drying off clothes, but never mind. It’ll be dry next time. Hopefully.

*The main concern of a Brooks user when it rains: ‘Must keep the saddle dry.’ The madness is catching, I tell you…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now it is officially spring again, the cyclists are coming out of hibernation. The Xtracycle and I spotted this classy looking bike at a local metro stop.

Having more cyclists is a great idea in theory, as long as they remember they aren’t driving their car down the Autobahn and expect everyone to jump out of the way.

Eighteen months of cycling to the bus stop has taught me I need fifteen minutes for a relaxed ride, ten at speed, and about seven and a half when I forget my wallet and have to go back and get it. The bus leaves the next village at 0635, so I aim to set off by 0620.

How I expected to catch the bus on Wednesday after leaving home at half past six I’m not sure.

On arriving I cunningly worked out that I’d failed in this by the empty bus shelter and clock showing it was 0640. meaning I had to cycle to the railway station, five kilometres away from our village, and 200m lower, and the other end of a busy road. I’m a fairly experienced cyclist, I know how cars usually react and I know the road. The weather was dry and visibility clear. What could possibly go wrong?

Apart from, say, falling off at high speed and being run over by an SUV.

With this comforting thought I went through the traffic lights and dropped off the end of the world. There were a couple of interesting moments like the point the street lights stopped and we plunged into darkness on a sharp bend with a drop on the left hand side of the road. Fortunately a helpful driver assisted by driving close enough to my back wheel that he lit the road ahead of me. Stopping for traffic lights was interesting and my bottle dynamo will never be the same again, but I made it in plenty of time, and the bike was still in the bike shed -with wheels- when I came back in the afternoon.

I doubt I’ll make a habit of this as the ‘ride’ back took almost an hour of climbing via a road cycle-cross riders would reject out of hand, getting lost in a strange  isolated housing estate with a thousand identical houses and crossing a seriously muddy field.

On the other hand, I could look smug when the students who commuted by car came in late, again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Found a shortcut through the forest between us and the next town. This has the advantage that we cross over the busy arterial road into Stuttgart on this bridge rather than having to zigzag through traffic lights.

Having grown up in the UK, the ability to travel cross country without using a major road still feels like a luxury..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Family trip shopping in the next village, taking over a large section of the bike rack at the supermarket.

It was at this point we realised we hadn’t brought a single bike lock between us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My employer is geting used to my constant requests for used wood to ‘recycle’, and didn’t even look twice when I asked if I could take a load of Douglas Fir off his hands.

This has now joined the hoard of ‘useless’ wood in the garden.

Bakpicnic

Bakfiets at the garden, parked with its back wheel in the remains of a pile of cow poo and probably dreaming of nice clean dutch cycleways.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Contact me

Archives

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers