Cycling al fresco

bicycle It turns out that there is an interesting law of the road in Germany, pertaining exclusively to small villages. This is that if you happen to be driving along a road you must, for largely inexplicable reasons, give way to traffic joining the road. It is unfortunate if you happen to find this out through the medium of your girlfriend shouting at you whilst you happily sail into the path of an oncoming BMW, but let us assume that the lesson was learnt and no physical harm was incurred.

This, our second attempt at the cycling expedition, was in fact a marked improvement on the first attempt, despite the almost fatal lack of highway code knowledge. Our first expedition was undertaken with only a rudimentary mechanical check of the bicycles, which had been sitting unused for nearly a year, and it turns out that nuts and bolts can loosen in this period. Checking they are tight with your fingers is insufficient I now realise. As it was, my back wheel almost detached from my bicycle frame, and a fabulous sequence of events took place following this realisation, culminating with me landing on top of my lovely lady, with our bikes a happy tangle of metal. Some minor bruises and scrapes were incurred. We elected to push our bikes back, just as it started to rain. And there was me thinking It was hard enough cycling on the wrong side of the road.

Following this, some more serious bicycle maintenance was undertaken, with a wrench no less, and our steeds were finally deemed ready for us. My steed in particular is a real beauty - wonderful handlebars curve backwards like antlers, there is a braking system that quaintly involves you pedalling backwards, and it has a frame that is built, from what I can tell, out of steel girders. Oddly, the word gazelle is written down the side. I would perhaps suggest rhino would be more fitting. Gears are apparently available, in flavours one or three. Two is yet to be found.

Germany, like so many other European countries (I continue to leave the UK out of Europe for some reason, I think its island like nature confuses me), has a wonderful cycle network. Little cycle roads pootle all over the place, signs mark the distance and route you may wish to take, all in all it is a very pleasant experience. The village we are living in is nestled at the foot of some hills with a huge flat valley floor to explore. I admit that much of the exploration involves riding through scenery of a largely agricultural nature, but we did see a rabbit, and one of the villages we passed through had a castle surrounded by a moat no less, so all was good.

In other, non cycling related news, I feel I should share with you my ongoing attempts to learn German. It turns out that reading the name of a cooking spice in German and assuming that it is a certain English spice due to the similarity in name is not a valid approach. I have now learnt that Caraway is not an adequate substitute for Cumin in Mexican food. That may be of use to you, if you ever find yourself cooking in German.

Finally, always always check how spicy your cooking oil that is flavoured with whole chillies actually is, before cooking dinner in it. My companion did admittedly eat what I created, but there was a certain amount of nose blowing and appliance of cucumber juices to the meal which indicated perhaps I had overdone it somewhat. C’est la vie. More to come.




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