Furth Sports & Outdoors
Have you experienced the phenomenon where you and a friend from afar pledge to get together someday and share a common bond but somehow, that someday never seems to come? Work’s too frantic, timing’s no good, the kids need braces, you have a hangnail. Such was the case with Volker and me, co-workers from across the pond who found we both loved cycling. Finally, fortunately, the planets aligned and after a week spent working at our German plants, Volker and I were off on a weekend cycle trip. I used Volker’s son’s bike, mounting my own saddle. That is… I’d meant to mount my own saddle on the bike but forgot to pack it. Oh, well, it was Saturday morning and time to go.
Our plan, actually Volker’s plan, was to bike from his home in Fürth, near Nürmberg to Würzberg and take the train back Sunday afternoon. We’d spend Saturday night in a hotel somewhere along the route. Volker had about 47 maps and at least one diorama to guide us through the maze of Germany’s excellent trail system along rivers, canals, park and secondary roads so my plan was to stick with Volker and practice my German, which was primarily, “Ein Bier, bitte!”
We had an uneventful morning riding along beautiful waterways in sunny weather and rolled into Bamberg for lunch. After a huge, guilt-free lunch we got back on route. I began to notice that I was doing a lot of wiggling on my saddle, trying to find a comfortable position. Volker’s wife, who must have implanted a homing device in him, called to say she had booked us rooms at the White Horse [Weisses Ross] Hotel in Bergrheinfeld, 125 km from home. It catered to cyclists, storing our bikes in a locked room. As it turned out, most of the guests that night were teams of under-21 racers competing in a multi-day race across Germany and we chatted with the mechanics prepping the bikes for tomorrow. My chair must have been very hard wood because my butt was REALLY throbbing.
We pushed off Sunday morning with a warning from the hotel clerk that the weather would be unseasonably hot. Did I mention that my butt was complaining bitterly about the foreign saddle? I think I rode standing up for the first 10-15 km until I finally gritted my teeth and sat down. I’ve broken bones, gotten road rash bigger than Lake Erie, and cracked two helmets but NOTHING hurt like that. Blessedly, it transitioned into numbness and my howls to wimpers.
By noon, the temperature was 33C and we smelled something cooking-us. Volker suggested that rather than follow the long sunny U-turn of the river into Würzberg, we ride a shorter but hilly cross-country route into the city. Volker didn’t seem phased by the fact that his maps showed no complete route over the hill. We found a path and granny-geared on and on, thankfully in serious shade. After several dead-ends and backtracks, we came to a clearing at the top of the hill. Incredibly, we were on an airstrip of an old NATO base that was definitely not on the map. We waved at the security cameras and decided to keep going…somewhere. Volker picked a direction and we headed north across a farmer’s field with furrows so deep our front wheels would disappear and we’d be bucked off our bikes. Amazingly, there was a road at the other end, just as Volker had predicted and we completed the day’s 85 km to Würzberg. Just as my front wheel hit the curb at the train station, I heard that familiar pop…hiss. Not a bad time to flat. Not a bad weekend. Not at all.
Equipment: Bicycles helpRelated to: