If God had intended man to walk…

… she wouldn´t have let him invent the bicycle.

Can´t remember where I heard this one, but seriously, on a bike you can take in many more experiences than on foot, but still it´s not so fast that you miss overly much, like, say, in a car. The best examples for this are RTF rides – not too fast and intense.

Here´s some inpressions from the Gütersloh, Levern and Dülmen RTF rides. All three have very well chosen routes, and good food at the control points. Let´s start with the Gütersloh ride; 2nd post today, so I won´t write much comment, just where it´s necessary.

Here´s before the start, half past seven in the morning, my bike still leaning to our trusty 21 year old, Belgian built Volvo 740 with 344,000km on the clock. It runs on LPG so we can afford the 25,000km per year we usually cover.

Some of the steel we encountered.

A typical control post in a school yard. I mention it because this…

… was what was to my right when taking the photo of the control. Just to get the focus right: Steel frames are in the minority in German RTF rides. On a good day you have, say 10 per cent steel.

This was the food we got at the stops; quite nice. Cake, wafers, bananas and warm ice tea. Molten tea. Oh forget it, it was sweet and did the job.

Kwadie are a small Bielefeld maker who made their own frames until 15 years ago. This one certainly is grand, never mind who brazed it up. Nowadays Kwadie are restricting themselves to services not including brazing frames – for reasons of pricing, as they said in an e-mail. I wonder if they have found out yet that there is a market for high quality steel framed bikes at a high price point.

And this was what awaited us on the way. It is Wewelsburg Castle, built from 1603 until 1609. In the thirties it was used by the Fascist government as some sort of academy; today it´s a Youth Hostel (far more peaceful) and a museum. It is situated near Paderborn in East Westphalia – or is is West Eastphalia? Molten tea.

Now the Levern run. Stemwede-Levern is that small a place (about 30 km from where we are) that I bet it´s not even in Wikipedia. Wewelsburg Castle is. Here in Levern this thing about riders being considered guests applies.

Here´s before the start, half past eight in the morning, our bikes still leaning to our trusty, 36 year old, Belgian built (I think) Citroen AK400 with about 200,000km on the clock. Levern is so small that we thought the Volvo might not fit in, so we took the 2CV van.

Here´s the famous Levern fruit´n´nut cake. It´s artisan made and tastes wonderful. About 4o0 riders showed up, and still there was no shortage of bread. Some years ago the weather was absolutely beastly, and less than 50 riders came, so there was no shortage of fruit´n´nut cake for weeks, even here at home. This is what it looks like uncut, at the second control of the 120km ride:

However, this is what we did at the second control <gnash>. My son had picked up a staple – that was a first for me. The roads were not too good, but stapling them together – well.

And this is where the third control was:

The van they transported the first control stuff in. Certainly not to be taken into France before the transfers are re-done.

Half an hour into the ride. I think it´s even moated.

A quick turn left…

… reveals that there´s some climbing ahead. This is super nice about our nick of the woods: The Teutoburger Wald and Wiehengebirge ranges of hills grope into the Northern German plain, and you can choose hilly or flat rides, according to your predilection and the wind.

A ´bent at the start. Note the novel prop stand.

Now Dülmen, ridden today. Whitsun is always Dülmen time, although next year if I can find the time I´d just love to try the Dutch Eilfstedenrit. We´ll see.

The Dülmen run is called the Wildpferdecup, the Wild Horses Cup. No idea where the cup is, didn´t see any, and no rider behaved like a wild horse, either. The secret is that in Merfelder Bruch, about 7 km from Dülmen, there is the last herd of wild horses in Germany. They are not really all wild, and it seems they are rather small too, but once a year the young stallions are caught and, to the mirth of the tourists who come from far afield to witness it, are auctioned in order to regulate the horse population of Merfeld, or soon there would be more horses than people. The horses are left alone most of the other time, only in very cold winters they receive some additional fodder, no doubt because they hold an ancient title that gives them the right to it. The place is that rural that I wouldn´t be surprised a bit if each new A mare in the herd inherited it from her predecessor.

This is in Dülmen proper and gives a good impression generally. The next two buildings also are in Dülmen.

This is a view from the Baumberge range of hills into the Münsterland. Not much of a climb, and the snap under it shows why the Baumberge, Tree Hills, have their name.

A standful of bikes and one of them must be mine.

And a really nice jersey, to my mind, designed by a cycle club from the Ruhr, Bochum, to be precise.

But back to the raison d´etre of the post, a few snaps of some steel framed bicycles.

This Pinarello frame (a club machine lent to youngsters) is a prime example of the often seen, but still strange combination of flashy, expensive chrome work and cheap tubing, Cromor in this case.

An emerging pastime of mine, photographing trash cans.


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