In the times of Corona bicycles are becoming more popular as a means of transportation and there are calls for better bicycle infrastructure. For example, the mayor of Paris has announced plans to make the streets of Paris 100 per cent cycle friendly by 2024. Rome is following Paris's example, promising 150 km of streets safe for cyclists. But not just the metropoles are initiating changes. Cyclists in mall towns like Gauting want more space and safety.
Last Sunday in Gauting, local environmental organizations and bicycle clubs joined to make their cause known. I'm not sure how many participated, perhaps 50 or 60. To call attention to the need for more room on the road for bikes, the participants attached a pool noodle to their bike rack. The pool noodle extended about 1.5 meters, the distance motorized traffic should allow when passing a cyclist.
Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the procession as we got underway. It was an impressive sight with all those colorful pool noodles.
However, many were not impressed at all. This is what happened to what I thought would be a good way to raise awareness to the needs of cyclists. Drivers in cars didn't know what in the hell we were doing, we were in their way which made them aggressive and probably increased their antagonism. Those who understood and were tolerant, didn't need to be reminded to keep a safe distance. Although the demonstration was registered, unfortunately we weren't given a police escort - it would have helped us to look more legitimate. To make matters worse, some of the participants, riding two abreast, weren't adhering to traffic regulations. Eventually, the police did come because there were complaints. But by that time I had left the group and gone my own way.
I appreciate the good intentions of those demonstrating and am 100% for better bicycle infrastructure, but I am very skeptical as to the effectiveness of Gauting's pool noodle parade.
I was surprised to get a call from the bike shop on Monday, exactly one week after I brought them my bike for repairs, telling me I could pick up my trusty steed, it was ready. Wow, I had already resigned myself to a longer wait and more walking.
Now that I am again mobile on two wheels, I don't know how consistent I will be about getting enough walking exercise. So far I haven't found the time - excuses, excuses. But I did sign up at the gym and will work out twice weekly.
Missing seven days on my bike, I won't meet my July goal of 800 km for my 80th birthday. I have been out on my bike daily since I got it back but I doubt if I will even match last month's total. My most modest goal is 3,000 km on the new bike, the second modest goal is 700 km for the month.
Happy to be out on my bike with Janos.
I almost always prefer riding a bike to walking because, well, it's easier and faster. But now that I am temporarily without a bike I am walking for exercise and to get my errands done. This has made me very aware that all forms of exercise use different groups of muscles and how important cross-training is. Am I ever stiff from our short hikes the past three days! I guess that is the silver lining to the dark cloud of not having my bike for a while - I see that I must diversify. I might even try to find a gym again. As long as we lived in Munich I worked out regularly.
Janos and I wander to the Würm, to Park Schlossberg, in the woods, and always with our cameras. Since the beginning of lockdown we see many brightly painted stones with positive messages lining the paths in the parks, something to put a smile on your face. It seems this international trend has to come to Gauting and Park Schloss Fussberg.
I didn't write about days 1, 2, 3 and 4 - I was sure I would have my bike back by today. Nope, the bike hasn't been repaired yet.
My e-bike is a nice bike when it is working properly. Unfortunately, it has been giving me trouble. The e-support often, but not always, quit on hills. That is when it was noticeable anyway. The last time I rode, on my 80th birthday, it quit altogether. I was able to ride home but I was glad I didn't have any hills to pedal on the heavy bike with no real granny gears. Today is Friday and the bike shop has had my bicycle since Monday and they haven't been able to promise that they will get around to it soon.
So instead of cycling, Janos and I have been walking. We're not used to that. But I suppose it is good to be reminded that walking is exercise and we are one-sided only riding our bikes. Obviously, I have no more daily bike pictures. But I do have pictures from our walks.
Here are some pictures from our walk along the Würm.
The Ride of Silence, held on the third Wednesday in May, is an annual international bicycle ride to commemorate cyclists killed or injured while riding on public roads. Participants are encouraged to visit a ghost bike in their area and take their photo with it as a gesture of honoring the deceased person. In past years in Munich hundreds of cyclists took part, a moving experience. This year Janos and I rode alone.
The rules are simple:
1. Ride in silence
2. Remember and honor those who've been hit & killed while riding or seriously injured
3. Ride slowly and a relatively short distance - this is not a race
4. Wear a helmet & obey road laws for bicyclists
We cycled to a ghost bike in Munich to pay our tributes.
We moved from Görresstrasse in Munich to Gauting exactly one year ago. It was a big decision after living in the same apartment for 35 years, and it entailed a lot of work. Now after a year of life in the suburbs I can say, yes, it was a good idea. We like it here, the apartment is fine and the best part is that we can either walk or cycle from our door. We also enjoy that we no longer have to climb the three flights of stairs when we get home.
Still, sometimes I am homesick for Munich and our life there. Those were happy years and we had our favorite places that we visited regularly. I miss them, so on this first anniversary of our new home, I got on my bike and rode to Westpark in Munich, one of our favorite haunts before we had the woods at our back door.
Dipping even further into the past, I remembered that there is dogwood in Westpark, not a common tree here in Germany. Where I grew up in New Jersey, the woods were full of them and I knew they should be blooming now. I had my goal for the day.
I planned a route through many streets that I wasn't familiar with. It might not have been the shortest way to Westpark, but I love to discover new neighborhoods, small connecting pathways, unexpected parks only the size of a block and insider shortcuts.
The weather was perfect. Fortunately it was a weekday and the park wasn't crowded. The first spring blossoms were gone and it was too early for the rose garden to be in bloom, but I wasn't disappointed. The pink and white dogwoods were lovely.
It was a happy and satisfying ride. How nice it is to be able to ride into the past and back again and it's only 40 kilometers.
Not related to my ride, but gone home.
RIP Little Richard
The Early Eighties
1981 - Munich to Vienna following the Danube
The next trip I have on record was in September of the same year. I talked a couple of friends, Uta and Ulf, into riding with me to Vienna. The set-up was still basically the same. I mentioned in my diary that I wouldn't need to buy any new gear since I was well equipped after my trip to Italy in the spring.
It was probably uneventful as I don't remember many details. I do recall having a flat in the pouring rain with no shelter far and wide. Funny how those things stick. We had fun and it whet my appetite for more.
1982 - Provence with Daniel
We put our bikes on a rack on top of the car and were off. The first day we got as far as Zurich. The next day we were in Bollène near Orange where we left the car. Our cycle took us to Orange, Avignon, Pont du Gard, St. Gilles, Aigues Mortes. Le-Grau-du-Roi, and finally the Mediterranean. After a couple of days at the beach we continued on to Arles, Les Baux, St. Remy, Cavaillon. When it started to rain, we got the train back to Bollène. The car was still there!
This trip didn't have the same sparkle as our first one. Maybe our route wasn't as interesting, it was August and hot and humid, there were more tourists about. Although I like France well enough, I am partial to Italy. Perhaps it was the Italian ambiente that I missed.
1984 - Mutlangen and the Peace Movement
This time I organized and biked with a group of twelve to protest the Nato Double-Track Decision of 1979. The slogan in those days was "Fight for Peace" which we coined as "Bike for Peace". Mutlangen is about 200 km northwest of Munich and we saw it fitting to make our appearance and sentiments known.
Here is the background:
The Mutlanger Heide became nationally known as a missile base on which nuclear medium-range nuclear missiles of the Pershing II type of the US Army were stationed from 1983 to 1990 due to the NATO Double-Ttrack Decision of 1979. When NATO's intentions became known it triggered violent protests by the peace movement. The opponents of an escalation in the arms race protested across Germany and formed so-called "peace chains". In Mutlangen, demonstrators repeatedly blocked the access to the US camp.
In my diary I wrote about meeting friendly and hospitable people from the Peace Movement along the way, but I can remember none of it! We went swimming in the Danube. Really? I also wrote "Ich liebe das Radeln und diese Landschaft." "I love cycling and this countryside." I had the bicycle bug, it seems the rest was secondary.
January has been kind to us so far ... knock on wood. We haven't seen a single snowflake and have had plenty of sunny days. It's cold, yes, but not often below zero and I am managing to get out on my bike often. This year my goal is not only to ride as often as possible but to increase my mileage. Nuff said. I won't commit myself here to what my km goal is. But I have one.
This is not the end-of-the-month post, that is yet to come with more pictures, stats - kilometers.
Famous Last Words
"we haven't seen a single snowflake"
That was yesterday. Today we got some snowflakes.
The Polar Bear Club
It was an abrupt transition from +30°C at 10 pm in Bangkok to 0°C at midday a day later. But we aren’t letting that deter us! Our local bicycle club as of this winter has introduced winter rides. We were away for the first three, but on this frosty but sunny January day we decided to join them. Actually, I felt obliged since on a warm afternoon last summer I had asked if the club also rode in the winter. It was an innocent question but Sebastian, our group leader, took it seriously and initiated the "Eisbärtouren".
Yesterday when we met it was -2°C and Sebastian had planned a 35 km ride. So far my winter rides have been at the most 15 km, usually more like six or seven, nothing to brag about but just enough to make me feel good about being out. I was surprised to see that 12 hardy cyclists turned up! We rode a good 25 km before we stopped for lunch at a Greek restaurant for warmth and energy. The remaining ten were then no problem.
On our way home from a walk on dusty tracks leading to the temples, we got a chance to observe first hand how roads are constructed today, probably not only in Bagan but in all of Myanmar. I usually don't like to take pictures of people without asking, but for these shots I found a good spot where I could unobtrusively capture the scene with my zoom lens.