April 27, 2014

What a beautiful Afternoon!


We actually had expected to couch-potatoe away the whole Sunday, because the weather forecast predicted long periods of rain, and in fact the night was filled with heavy and deafening showers. But the morning was more or less dry, and by early afternoon weather conditions turned out to be stable enough for us to decide to snoop around through the area a little bit.


Our first stop was the little town of Durbach where the local museum showed a collection of vintage motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and small cars to be admired (see also post below!). Particularly beautiful was a blue BMW Isetta, but we were also impressed by various BMW, NSU and Griffon bikes, all in perfect shape, looking like they were manufactured just yesterday.


The museum also included a bee house, an old wooden flour mill, a wood oven for baking bread and a variety of local grapevines. And a table full of cake, which was just too tempting for us...


Next stop was the city of Kehl, right at River Rhine and adjacent to Strasbourg on the French side. Both cities created a joint park on both sides of the river, connected by the 'Passarelle de Deux Rives', a pedestrian bridge built in 2004 by a Parisian architect. Both sides of the park were pretty crowded, and we heard a lot of French from passers-by!


One of the reasons we visited Kehl was the fact that there is the only East-Indian restaurant around, and we had been craving for Indian food so long now. The restaurant was pretty good, and for the first time since we came to Germany we got to enjoy authentic Indian Tomatoe Soup, Eggplant Pakora, Butter Chicken, Palak Paneea (Spinach), Mango Lassi and a glass of Kingfisher. Yummy!!!


This day definitely turned out to be much better than expected!

The Stork Waggon: Midwife in a Messerschmitt


We found this very rare beauty, a Messerschmitt KR200 Cabin Scooter, in a little Museum in the wine village of Durbach. The scooter has a very interesting history as it was known as the 'Stork Waggon', the vehicle that was used by a midwife to reach the far-flung farms in the Black Forest valleys where she helped delivering hundreds of babies. The Messerschmitt survived the midwife by almost twenty years now, and it still looks very young! We never saw a Messerschmitt on the road before, but this one is fully roadworthy as you can see from the official license plate. What a beauty!


The Accidental Cycling Tourist


I hadn't owned a pedal bike in ages. But the last time I rode a cycle before I bought my Townie was in November 2007 when we chose to escape the dread of winter in Calgary by spending a long weekend in San Francisco. The weather was gorgeous, and we rented a couple of bikes from Blazing Saddles at Pier 41 just to get around a bit. Somewhat unexpected, we found ourselves riding over Golden Gate Bridge. In quest of lunch we proceeded pedalling into Sausalito. Then we went on further towards Tiburon in order to take the ferry back to the pier. Oh my, did our legs and bums hurt after...

A 20mls (32km) trip and a ferry ride

This trip didn't really inspire me to buy my own and pursue a newfound or revived hobby. All I could think about is what an exhausting way it had been to get around. Now I think differently, I guess I still don't like hills, though...


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Fahrradfahren in San Francisco
Wir machen eine Zeitreise zurück in das Jahr 2007. Im November war es sch...kalt in Calgary und so beschlossen wir, uns eine Portion Sonne & Wärme in San Francisco zu geben. War es herrlich, so im T-Shirt herum zu laufen. Wir kamen auf die glorreiche Idee, uns Fahrräder zu leihen. Das ging anfangs auch ganz gut. Wir überquerten die Golden Gate Brücke, machten ein Mittagspäuschen in Sausalito und trampelten dann weiter bis Tiburon, wo wir die Fähre zurück zum Pier nahmen. Mann, taten mir inzwischen vielleicht Beine und Hintern weh. Es war zwar ganz nett, aber keine Inspiration, sich ein eigenes Fahrrad zuzulegen, dafür war es einfach zu schmerzhaft und anstrengend. Heute sehe ich das etwas anders. Aber Bergauffahren... das mag ich immer noch nicht.

April 25, 2014

Roving about on Rover


The afternoon started with some unpleasant German bureaucracy in regards to my pension plan, and of course I have to come back another time to deliver some missing documents. Note to self: bring originals instead of copies. I should have known better. Hence, I was in a considerable bad mood when I pulled out my Sportster. But not long after bike therapy kicked in. The weather gods were gracious und postponed the rain, and I had a lovely evening ride around the block mountain. The scenic view from my 1,000m outlook was gorgeous, and bonus, I had it all to myself.


I had stopped again in quest for another photo op, when I noticed a fancy sports car pulling into the parking lot to do exactly what I was about to do... taking snapshots of a beloved vehicle. I couldn't resist, the car had to be in it.


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Herumtreiber!
Vor dem Feierabend lag nur noch eine Hürde, ein Gang zur Behörde wegen der Lücken im Rentenbescheid. Natürlich wollte die Amtsinhaberin Originale sehen, die ich aber auf dem Mopped nicht dabei hatte. Seufz! Also muss ich noch einmal hin. Dementsprechend war ich gelaunt, als ich zu meiner Sporty zurück kehrte. Aber ein paar Minuten später ging es mir dank Harley-Therapie wieder gut. Die Wettergötter waren noch milde gestimmt und hatten den Regen auf später verschoben So konnte ich einen wunderbaren Blick von meinem Lieblingsaussichtspunkt auf 1,000m Höhe für mich ganz alleine genießen. 
An der Schwarzwaldhochstraße hielt ich noch einmal für einen potentiellen Schnappschuss an. Dabei beobachtete ich, dass aus eben den selben Gründen ein niedlicher Sportwagen in den Parkplatz einbog. Na, der musste natürlich jetzt mit auf's Bild.

April 24, 2014

It rained... and then, it didn't (a.k.a. Capricious April Weather).


Who said one can't ride a cycle in the rain. Actually the rain didn't last for long, and the sun came out again. Wet tarmac, the forest dripping, fresh cut grass and blooming flowers. My olfactory senses were in overdrive.

And I climbed my first hill today... half way up I was about ready to quote Roger Murtaugh (Character in the movie Lethal Weapon): I'm too old for this shit! Where the F is a motor when you need it most. But... I pulled through, cramped up calves, huffing and puffing, cursing myself and all.

On my way back I rode through the back roads of my village. By Gosh, it is pretty here! Although some buildings are rundown a bit, it seems there is no "wrong side of town".


***

Erst regnete es, dann wieder nicht (auch April-Wetter genannt).
Fahrradfahren kann man offensichtlich auch im Regen. Aber besagter Niederschlag hielt sich nicht lange, dann war die Sonne wieder draußen. Die Gerüche von nasser Teerstraße, dem tropfenden Wald, frisch gemähtem Grass und blühenden Blumen waren überwältigend. 
Heute habe ich mich an meinen ersten Hügel getraut und war soweit, aus dem Film Stirb Langsam zu zitieren: Ich bin zu alt für diesen Schei$$. Aber ich hab's geschafft, wenn auch mit verkrampften Waden, die Lunge aus dem Hals hängend und diese blöde Idee bzw. das Townie verfluchend.
Auf dem Rückweg fuhr ich dann die Seitenstraßen unseres Dorfes entlang. Hach, was ist das doch schön hier. Selbst herunter gekommene Gebäude haben hier Charme.

April 23, 2014

Caught in the Act

A long time ago… in a galaxy far, far away. It's the year 2012, and Roland and I are attending the first Salmon Run in BC. It was huge gathering, and the experience of riding in a group of hundreds of roaring Harley Davidson motorcycles was rather intimidating. But it was exiting, too and a lot of fun.

I recently stumbled upon a YouTube video, and found out… that we were in it.

Exhibit A: Me on Rover

Exhibit B: Roland on Whitey

Photos by Thai Thruong, video by Michael Hwang. I hope they don't mind using these snapshots. Link to video => click

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Erwischt!
Wir schreiben das Jahr 2012. Roland und ich nehmen am ersten Salmon Run in Vancouver teil. Es war eine beindruckende, aber auch eine beängstige Veranstaltung, inmitten von hunderten von brüllenden Harleymotoren auf dem Sea-to-Sky Highway dahin zu gleiten. Auf einem Video zu dem Event entdeckte ich doch tatsächlich Bilder von uns beiden. Q.E.D.

April 22, 2014

An Ordinary Day in the Valley

Grocery shopping, the long way round.

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Ein ganz normaler Tag im Tal: Einkaufen, Umweg inklusive.

April 17, 2014

April 16, 2014

42


I recently came across a most interesting posting providing the answer to the ultimate question of Life, Universe and Everything important to a cyclist:

What is the right bike for you?

Surprisingly enough the writer didn't talk ergonomics, technical features, types of bike or specific brands, but summed up the complex matter in a mere simple phrase:

The right bike is the bike you ride.

So, I won't be blathering on about how awesome and pretty and suitable my Electra Townie Balloon 8i is to me. Let me just share with you that I find myself wanting to get out on my pedal bike, and I do... almost every weekday night. Not because the activity - although a welcomed side effect - will get and likely keep me fit, moreover I also get to discover small things that I wouldn't have noticed while traveling at scooter or cruiser speed.

Contrasts in beauty:

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42
Kürzlich fand ich in einem Blog die Antwort zur ultimativen Frage nach dem Leben, dem Universum und den ganzen Rest für den Fahrradfahrer: Welches ist das richtige Fahrrad für Dich?
Zu meiner Überraschung gab es keine Ausführung zu Ergonomie, Technik, Typ oder Marke sondern ganz einfach: Das richtige Fahrrad für Dich ist das Fahrrad, dass Du fährst.
Also werde ich jetzt nicht anfangen, von meinem schönen Electra Townie Balloon 8i zu schwärmen. Es sei nur eines gesagt: Ich ertappe mich dabei, dass ich echt Fahrrad fahren will, und mache es auch fast jeden Abend. Nicht nur, dass es mich fit macht und hält, ich entdecke dabei auch Dinge, die ich auf Roller oder Harley nicht wahrgenommen hätte.

April 13, 2014

Voulez Vous? The Odd Couple goes to France.

We certainly don't get tired enjoying this marvelous weather. While it was grey and rainy in other parts of Germany we were blessed again with sun and blue skies. So, naturally we abandoned our chores and hit the road to France instead. 
In Weisweil we stopped at our favourite farm house cafe for a quick breakfast, and then we refilled our gas tanks to the max, knowing that in the land of baguettes, berets and la révolution, most services would be closed on Sundays.
It was early in the day, and we were making good progress. Church goers were busy worshipping, and idiot road warriors were likely still in bed. We had the roads to ourselves.

This is where we were headed. The Vosges. In front of us lied historic village Sainte Hippolyte, overlooked by castle Haute Kœnigsbourg on top of the mountain. But as we were keen on riding we put this on our list for next time around and continued our journey.

The Vosges, although similar to the Black Forest low mountain range in its geological formation gave us a complete different look and feel. This was France alright and felt very much like a vacation.
Stunning vistas and signs of spring everywhere. We were in motorcycle (and scooter) heaven.

In quest for a coffee stop we meandered through several villages but to no avail. Everything was shut down for Sunday in Scherwiller. 
Again we failed to discover an open cafe or restaurant in Ebersmunster. There was an impressive abbey church though, with lots of cars parked in front. Maybe there was a "party" going on in there?
If it weren't for the metal fence on the left, this picture could have well been view into the past.
Since there was no place offering cold or hot beverages, we decided to move on, and cross the border to get our coffee craving fixed back home.

The last leg of our day trip would lead us alongside Rhine. At one point, we had to cross the river to get back to the German side, and we did it our most favoured way: by way of ferry.
All in all we had spent five hours in fresh air, and covered a distance of 182km (111 mls) with an abundance of twists and turns. And now we want even more of this.

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Ein seltsames Paar in Frankreich
Wir werden nicht müde, das großartige Wetter auszunutzen. Was kümmern uns Haushalt und Wäsche, wenn die Vogesen locken. Wir sattelten Harley und Vespa und machten uns auf den Weg. Vor der Grenze legten wir noch eine Frühstückspause in unserem Stammcafe in Weisweil ein und betankten anschließend noch unsere Vehikel, da in Frankreich erfahrungsgemäß sonntags fast alles geschlossen hat. 
Die Straßen waren noch leer, die Kirchgänger beim Gebet und die Sonntagsfahrer und Raser wahrscheinlich noch im Bett. Wir kamen durch Sainte Hippolyte, einem mittelalterlichen Städtchen zu Füßen von Schloss Königsbourg. Da wir lieber die Gunst der Stunde zum Motorradfahren nutzen wollten, entschlossen wir uns, beides links liegen zu lassen und statt dessen lieber in die Berge zu fahren. Kurven und großartige Aussichten. 
Wir fühlten uns wie auf einer Urlaubsreise. Irgendwann hatten wir doch Lust auf einen Kaffee und versuchten erst in Scherwiller und danach in Ebersmunster eine Lokalität aufzutreiben. Leider ohne Erfolg. Unser Bedürfnis nach einer Pause incl. Heißgetränken oder kalten Erfrischungen musste wohl warten, bis wir wieder die Grenze überquert hatten. 
Bei Rhinau nahmen wir die Fähre, setzten über den Rhein und legten den Endspurt ein. Insgesamt waren wir gute fünf Stunden an der frischen Luft und legten dabei 182 km auf feinsten Kurvensträßchen zurück. Wir sind angefixt, jetzt wollen wir mehr!

April 11, 2014

A Beer Garden with a View

We picked up the scooters from the shop today. It had been time for their annual inspection, and we wanted to make sure that the bikes are well prepped for some two wheeled action later the year.
Again we had prime weather, and so we took the long way home. After a while we got hungry, and it was dinner time. We went to this awesome place we knew, an ancient castle on top of a hill to sit outside in the beer garden, and enjoy the view. No alcoholic beverages for us riders though, just some pops, a soup and a salad.
The panoramic view was intoxicating enough.
 Now, let's hit the road!
 Can't wait to go on a major road trip!

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Ein Biergarten mit Weitblick
Heute holten wir unsere Roller aus der Jahresinspektion ab. Da wir wieder ausgezeichnetes Wetter hatten, "mussten" wir natürlich einen Umweg nach Hause machen. Unser Weg führte uns an Schloss Staufenberg vorbei, und da wir Hunger hatten, kehrten wir ein und genossen nicht nur den Ausblick auf der Terrasse, sondern auch einen Snack und... alkoholfreie Getränke. Das Panorama war "Droge" genug. Und danach fuhren wir in den Sonnenuntergang. Wir können es kaum erwarten, mal einen größeren Ausflug mit den Vespen zu machen.