Sunday 16 October 2011

Ruhr Roundabout

Taking advantage of the excellent, albeit chilly, weather, Tom thought we should go for a ride on Saturday. Tom, Rudiger and I met in Ratingen at 9:00 at the usual bakery and then proceeded to go out on a circuit of our favourite Ruhr riding, although, surprisingly, I am still quite stiff from l'Eroica.

Things did not go all that smoothly. First I had some shifting issues as we got into some climbs but Tom's mechanical skill and my minitool wrench solved that problem. As we were approaching Essen-Kettwig, Tom suddenly pulled over. One of his spokes had broken and the rear wheel looked pretty wobbly. We popped into the nearest bike shop which, of course, did not have suitable spokes so Tom decided to call his wife and get picked up rather than risk a wheel collapse. He would switch wheels at home and ride later in the day.

So Rudiger and I continued on the route. Rudiger knows all the little roads in the area and some of them were quite marvellous, while some were not in very good condition. All of them seemed to involve a great deal of climbing. We rode through Langenberg, which I had ridden to with Tom before, and it seems there is no way you can enter or leave this place with massive climbing/descending being involved.

Except for getting stuck behind big tractors on the smallest roads, things went pretty well until we go to Wulfrath. I lost Rudiger in one of the roundabouts and it took me a while to realize this. At this point I thought I had put in enough riding for the day and would just go home but I wanted to call Rudiger. I did not have his number, so I called Tom. It turned out that Tom had gone out on his bike and had just crashed on the bike path after hitting a pole. His helmet was broken and he was worried about his thumb. He landed on his cellphone and it was broken so that he had no screen, meaning he could receive calls and not send any. I wished him the best and continued on my ride.

Unlike the much better roads Rudiger would have picked, I rode along the boring bike path next to a busy Landstrasse back to Ratingen before turning back for home. At the end I decided to make a quick trip to the Luna ice cream place in Grafenberg as after 98 km and 1100 m of climbing I felt I deserved it.

Tom had his thumb x-rayed and was relieved that nothing was broken. Rudiger called me later in the evening so I have his number now. Such are the unexpected adventures of cycling!

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