Sunday 3 April 2011

Klassikerausfahrt 03.04. 2011

Getting ready to ride
Photo courtesy of

Today I had the pleasure of joining a great group of around 20 cyclists for the monthly retro-ride in the Düsseldorf area. After yesterday's truly glorious weather, the forecast for today was not nearly as good although temperatures would still be around 12C but there there was a good chance of rain. Leaving the apartment around 10:15, it looked to me like the rain was about to fall but it was still warm enough to wear shorts and short-sleeved jersey.

My weapon of choice was my c. 1987 Chesini, which, since I bought it in October, had only been ridden around 25 kms in total. During the winter, I was helped by my friend Richard to build a new front wheel but it had yet to be tested. Just before reaching Ricci-Sports, the start location of the ride, my rear wheel suddenly pulled forward (am I that strong?) when I accelerated, bringing me to a very rapid stop. The rear wheel is somewhat out of true but I fiddled with the rear brake to get me to the shop, where I could use a flat wrench to reposition it. Otherwise the bicycle seemed very good. I noticed that getting back into the toe clips and straps was taking more practice than I recalled I needed, however!

There were some interesting bikes positioned outside the shop, including a really nice red and white Bottechia owned by Klaus of Eisenherz, who sold me the Chesini, and a lovely golden Gazelle from the Netherlands, as well as some other unusual bikes. The Chesini received some nice comments. I was just hoping on a longer ride it would perform well.

We all trooped into the shop for coffee and chocolate croissants and then it was time at 11:00 to begin the ride. Everyone was very relaxed but we quickly got into formation and headed out towards the west. This took a while as there are a lot of stoplights in central Düsseldorf (and every time we stopped I had to fumble around a bit to get my foot back in when we started rolling) but eventually we crossed the Rhine and were out of town.

Enroute: oldies but goodies
Photo courtesy of

The ride was quite flat but very enjoyable. I took the opportunity to ride alongside a number of the other participants as the traffic was not too bad. We passed through farmland and near some industrial areas and occasionally saw other cyclists. Everyone was good about keeping a lookout for road hazards. Just over 2 hours later we returned to Ricci-Sports for coffee and cake, this being the fine German tradition, having covered just over 50 kms. As we all prepared to leave, the rain began, so the timing was perfect.

After I had adjusted the brakes, the Chesini performed beautifully and by the end of the ride I was having less trouble getting into the clips and straps. I really need to work on this for l'Eroica in October as the Peugeot I will be taking also has toe clips and straps. This is one area (clipless pedals) where there has been real progress over the years!

L t R: Chesini, Gazelle, Gitane

The Klassikerausfahrt retro-ride is scheduled for each month and the next ride will be on Sunday, May 1. Useful information about the rides is posted here.

Of course, after this enjoyable start to the day, I returned home in time to open a bottle of Alt-Bier, make some popcorn, turn on the television and watch the last part of one of the best Tour of Flanders I can recall.


Alex said...

hello Sprocketboy,

my friend Lars, green jersey-golden Gazelle, told me about your ride, and your blog, so i'm saying hello from Berlin.

I hope to join you on one of your Klassiker rides, and if you're ever in Berlin, we'll take you for a good ride here as well!

Sprocketboy said...

Hello, Alex. I will be in Berlin for the Velothon this year but hope to come for a Klassik ride there as well at some point. And you must come and ride with us in the Rhineland as well! I have ridden 2,500 kms in Brandenburg but this area is all new to me.

Alex said...

hello Sprocketboy, sounds like you used to live in Berlin?
i forgot to mention that i had found your blog a year or two ago, and it's interesting that a friend of mine (Lars) then meets you! I was in Duesseldorf on Sunday, but with my girlfriend, who wasn't interested in riding with sweaty men in the rain . .. :-)

i haven't signed up for the Velothon this year, perhaps i will.