Sunday, 22 October 2006

A milestone

Filed under: Cycling — Michael @ 22:19

Shortly after moving here to Germany I purchased a bicycle. We came here in 1995 and I bought the bike in ’98. We don’t have a car and the reason for the bicycle was mostly just transportation. I had been using the U-Bahn (subway) to get to and from work. Others rode bikes and I thought hey, it’s only about 8km, I should be able to do that too. Well, I started riding to work and in spite of the physical effort involved I liked the freedom (similar to driving a car) of being able to go when I wanted and not just at the times when the train ran.
After a few weeks I noticed that it was getting easier and I started going out on the occasional weekend to explore the area. I can remember the first time I rode to a small village and back, a total of 18km, and how great it felt to have covered so much ground under my own power.
Anyway, that summer, a co-worker, Frank, mentioned that he and a few others were soon going to do another bike tour and I should come along. It would be in southern Sweden and though it sounded like a cool activity, I said thanks but declined. These guys were fit and did 50 or more kilometers a day! But he kept working on me and I eventually said I would go along.
OK, I won’t bore you with the details but after the first two days I was sore everywhere and was ready to pack it in. Frank convinced me (again) to stick it out and, well, I made it (barely) and I got hooked on cycle touring.
That was 1998. In ’99 there was a solar eclipse that would be visible here in Europe and the path of totality went through the Alsace region of France. What a great idea for a tour! We had a great time but the story deserves its own post.
The next year it was back to the Alsace to parts we missed the year before. Then came Toscana/Umbria. And Vorpommern in northern Germany. The Ardennes in Belgium. (Yep, I’m fit enough now to even climb mountains!) Next year? Likely southern France.

That same bike still gets me to and from work. In a few days the little bike computer will tell me that I have ridden 20,000km. A milestone. I won’t celebrate. It will probably happen on the way to work or riding back home or going into town to do some shopping. It is 20,000km that are not on some car’s odometer. I won’t celebrate but I will smile with happy memories and not a small bit of pride.

2 Comments »

  1. Now, I think the story isn’t over yet….
    I guess we have to mention as well that Frank has a car now, and before that he drove a buggy and before that he did not do bicycling any more. Probably he and his bike are in a slightly more rusty shape.
    Waiting for southern france with bikes, food and great landscape is –

    Thomas

    Comment by Thomas — Tuesday, 24 October 2006 @ 22:25

  2. Well, there are rumors of recent sports activities concerning yonder rusty shape. Maybe it’s Michaels turn to work on someone now?

    As for the pride, it has to be mentioned for the records that there are nevertheless reasons more or less closely associated with the 20000 to be (very) proud of.

    And, Thomas: France is waiting, too 🙂

    Comment by Andreas — Tuesday, 14 November 2006 @ 10:47

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