Conducting a self-supported bicycle tour is much like directing an overly crafted home movie. You spend very significant time on tiny, yet substantive details, and the outcome is overwhelmingly experienced by no one, aside from the director.
While the above is very true, I hope at least one or two tidbits in these many, too many really, posts about this bike tour has been of some small interest, and/or, more importantly, might induce you to dip your toe or entire soul into a tour of your own.
It’s quite worth it, really. Directing included.
My latest David Lean-meets-Steven Spielberg conundrum concerns wrapping up the following:
- Getting to Frankfurt tomorrow.
- Getting a bike on the train from Frankfurt to Hannover.
- Selling the bicycle to a gent living in Amsterdam who is traveling to pick it up in Hannover.
- Donating the bike to a relief organization if that sale falls through.
- Catching a train from Hannover to Copenhagen.
- Schlepping four panniers’ worth of touring supplies in a duffel bag.
- Flying home.
Most, if not all, of the above should be accomplished by this Saturday. My last day to plan such shenanigans will happen here in Guntersblum (the Germans really do have the absolute best fake expletive town names, e.g., “You guntersblum, your mother is a Ludwigshohe, and you face is uglier than a maihammer. ”
And that’s just the towns I’ve toured through in the last four days. Gutersloh, a northern German village I visited in a previous tour still takes the town name cuss word cake, in my humble opinion.
But I digress from my directing.
Tomorrow’s ride to downtown Frankfurt will not only involve a downtown (always a bit of a challenge), but also a 90 degree German afternoon, a ferry ride, and the crossing of the Main River on a highway. I’m guessing (movie directors have to do that, from time to time) the Germans have a nice, juicy river crossing there for bikes/peds, but you never know.
More than anything, directing these last scenes of what has been a exuberantly delightful tour is a tad bittersweet. A death of sorts, which reminds me that I just read some Carson McCullers in which she poses the question (THE question, really): “For how can the living go on living when there is death?”
And while the tour is not quite yet dead, it is this theme which pervades my Summer’s little home movie. The vastly talented singer-songwriter Warren Zevon once famously remarked to David Letterman and the world to “enjoy every sandwich.” I’ll steal the essence of that line and merely switch it to “enjoy every spin, every pedal.”
Now, far closer to the final spin on this 2017 bicycle tour, that idea means much more than it would have, had I even considered it, heading out of Lisbon in early June. Death is like that.
I’ll post a more typical journal, with photos, of recent days spent spinning in the next day or so. For now, here’s one possibility for my Big Hollywood Ending before we wrap this thing. I call it “Enjoy Every Sandwich In Its Original Form.”