The Bike: Friday Came on Tuesday - Touring Tuscany - CycleBlaze

March 31, 2009

The Bike: Friday Came on Tuesday

Waiting, waiting, waiting. We have been waiting over two months. The new Bike Fridays should have been here last week at the latest. But Wednesday no bikes, Thursday no bikes, not even Friday. Finally on Tuesday we get the phone call from the German dealer where we ordered our Bike Fridays. They have arrived and we can come and pick them up.

In the morning I do a few errands on my Koga Miyata, one is to buy the same tried and true saddle I have on my Koga.

Koga, I am being unfaithful. Did I sense a reproachful look, that you were asking why I need another saddle? Do you suspect that a new bike has entered my life and that you will have to share my affections?

"Was I not good enough? Did I fail you?" Koga asks. My proud, beautiful Koga.

Koga, you must understand, let me explain. You know, not this year but next year, soon enough, I will turn 70. I need more help in the form of buses and trains when the hills are too high and the destinations too distant. Bike Friday is a cheerful and versatile little fellow and allows himself to be folded and put in a bag or even a suitcase, if need be.

Yes, with all the positive expectations, excitement and new possibilities accompanying the Bike Friday, I am feeling an irrational rush of melancholy.

We take the city train out to Ottenhofen, 35 kilometers northeast of Munich. It's again a chilly grey day, only the calendar tells us it is spring. We are anxious to pick up our bikes and are much too early. The village of Ottenhofen doesn't have much to offer so we while our time looking at the local church and stroll through the surrounding graveyard, studded with well tended, elaborate gravestones. Sad stories their inscriptions tell. Of parents surviving their four sons who died in combat far from home, of women outliving their husbands by many decades. But back to the land of the living - the bike shop, Traumvelo, is now open.

Momento mori. The village cemetary
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Andreas Seilinger, who grew up in this part of Bavaria, and his wife Gitti have set up their bike shop Traumvelo in this village so they could have lots of space (rents in Munich are horrendous) and also to allow their customers to take test rides on the quiet country roads. Since Andreas is at home here, the location was perfect in all respects. Just a few more words on Andreas's and Gitti's bike shop - Andreas loves all bikes that are unique. He has specialized in folders, tandems, trikes and recumbents and has an impressive array of bicycles on display. Their service is competent and friendly, so if you're in the area and happen to need a special bike ... .

Traumvelo has unique and exotic bikes
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There they are, bright and shiny, waiting for us: a red bike for the gal and a blue one for the guy.

Andreas puts on the finishing touches
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Yup, one for Janos, too
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For those who are interested in more than the colors, I'll try my best not to garble the technical information. The model is Pocket Llama with a 27 speed SRAM Dual Drive, a combination of a three-speed hub and a nine speed derailleur, a dream to use, as we discovered on the first ride. It has also been fitted with flat bars which can be split in half for easy stowage. Janos's bike is equipped with disc brakes and I have a hub dynamo for the front light, a feature I love on my Koga and didn't want to do without.

Ready for the ride back to Munich
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We're on our way
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This is Bavaria where roadside crucifixes are as much part of the countryside as trees and Bike Fridays are few and far between
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FAQ: "Does it fold up as you go round corners? Does your bottle leak? Would you have been better off with a Man Friday?"
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