Yesterday some of my colleagues at the Institute invited to come along for a bike tour from Erlangen to Bamberg, a nearby city. I don’t have my own bike with me. Instead I’m borrowing a fairly primitive 3-speed (no that’s not a typo – that’s three- not thirty-speed) old-school bike. These things are designed with inner-city travel in mind, not long bike tours, the ones where you sit upright and the handle bars come up in a V-formation. Hence, I was reluctant to go on a long bike tour. But, my colleagues assured me that it would be a leisurely stroll and my bike would be more than sufficient. So I hesitantly agreed.
Initially they said it would be around 30km in total to Bamberg, from where we would catch the train home. At 30km they looked at the signs and said “Oh, it seems that we’re roughly half way”. So we continued on, until, at about 55km, we reached Bamberg. So much for the leisurely stroll.
Bamberg is a very nice city. It’s quite small, about 50 kilopeople, but also very historical, with much of the old-city preserved and many beautiful churches. After having lunch in a beer-garden on a hill overlooking the old-city, my colleagues democratically decided that we should ride the return trip instead of catching the train. So, by the time I got home late-evening I had ridden around 120km in total. Now you’re probably thinking “what’s he winging about? 120km on a bike isn’t THAT much”, and ordinarily you’d be correct. But let me tell you something, riding 120km with three gears, where you have to pedal at 5Hz the entire distance, just to keep up with the leisurely pace of the others, oh boy, never again. If this 3-speed technological marvel of a bike can last you for a 120km bike ride, then I’m surprised man hasn’t jumped over the moon yet.
Having said that, I should complement Germany on its nice bikeways. It’s a cyclists dream here. You can ride virtually everywhere, whether it be within cities or between cities. I wish Australia would be more like this.