Nettetal – A very leisurely group ride (Tuesday 14 August 2012)

Today I had an appointment with a vet – for Poppy to have her tapeworm treatment that she needs to have as part of her Pet Passport. I had booked the appointment a few weeks ago and nearly had a disaster with timing (I had put the appointment in on my phone as 8:45am, which was the correct time, but now I am in a different time zone the phone was displaying it as 9:45. Fortunately I checked with the email from the vet!!) but I arrived on foot in plenty of time.

I stood outside waiting with another lady and her dog as it was a nice warm day. Here is a pic of Poppy waiting (not a very good pic I’m afraid)

This was, of course, before she realised she was at a veterinary surgery. As soon as we were shown into the consulting room the penny dropped.

We were left alone in the room for a bit – the receptionist said the vet would be along shortly – and I spent the time studying a poster of different dog breeds and working out their names in English. What was very interesting was that the room was full of various treatments (Frontline, various boxes of tablets etc) and I could theoretically have stuffed a box or two in my bag with no-one the wiser. I can’t think of a veterinary surgery consultation room in the UK that has any medication available – they always have to go and get it from somewhere else for security reasons. Interesting.

Anyway, I didn’t pinch anything of course, just waited and then when the vet came in she got the worming tablet for Poppy. She had a hollow tube dog chew thing which she broke into pieces and attempted to feed a piece to Poppy without tablet but Poppy wasn’t having any of it. We decided this was because she was up on the consultation table; as soon as I put her on the floor she decided treatment was over and happily ate the treat and then the next two pieces, one of which had the Milbemax tablet in. Easy!

The vet completed the relevant bit of the Passport and then I pointed out that Poppy’s microchip hadn’t been scanned so she did this (the receptionist was supposed to have done this) and it worked OK.

We had a little chat and I mentioned that I am getting eating alive at night by mosquitoes here. She chatted about some holidays she’s had in Denmark where she and her husband have had terrible trouble with mossies but that they now take an insect repellant for horses with them that works brilliantly. She asked how many more nights I was here and I said three, at which point she handed me three individually-sealed wipes of this repellant stuff and said I should use that before I go to bed. It was free of charge too – how nice!! I was charged 15€ for the whole consultation and the Milbemax so I thought that was pretty good value – I can’t remember paying less than about £25 for anything at a UK vet.

Poppy and I walked back, both wilting a bit in the hot weather. After some work I took her out again before having lunch and then heading out for the cycling group ride.

You may remember this picture from yesterday’s report:

I had decided to go on this ride and headed off for the 2:30pm meeting point.

When I got there it looked like this:

In total there were sixteen of us – four men and twelve women (interestingly in the UK a cycle ride would probably have the opposite male/female ratio). Unsurprisingly I was the only recumbent trike, every other bike was one of these huge aluminium German monstrosities with enormous saddles. Several of them had electric assist (you see this on about a quarter of German bikes in Nettetal – it’s a really good idea for people who struggle with hills). I introduced myself as they all looked a bit nonplussed that someone had randomly turned up but when I pointed out that I’d seen the sign they got excited that it had achieved something as it had apparently been up for ages with no results.

We set off, heading towards Grefrath on a route I’ve now done a couple of times.

The pace was, as I had expected, very leisurely. Our rolling average was about 8.3mph and it turns out some people at the back complained it was a bit fast. What was interesting was that their Tuesday rides are normally about 50km (32 miles) which is a fairly decent distance but at that speed must take a fair while! They had told me at the outset that this would be a shorter ride as they were having a barbecue at the tennis club at 5:30pm as a special treat. I was invited but I declined because of looking after Poppy.

Anyway, we ended up doing a big loop around Lobberich/Nettetal as you can see from the GPX track

After five miles we stopped at the Breyeller See for what seemed like a very long break.

Several people were complaining it was all a bit fast and they were tired and hot, so we had some drinks and stood looking at the water. Several people were talking to me about the trike, they were all interested in how many gears it had. There was a lot of standing around and not doing much – I was beginning to get slightly itchy feet as we’d hardly come any distance!

Three people separately asked me if I was from Holland. I was wearing my Union Jack cycling Jersey and had a union flag on the trike so I thought this was surprising but they all assured me that my accent was 100% Dutch. Which seems so weird, but which is something I have been told multiple times. I think it must be that they rarely hear Brits speaking German so they go for the nearest likely accent and, let’s face it, if you live in Nettetal you must come across a heck of a lot of Dutch people speaking German.

The ride leader lady took a couple of group shots of us. True to form I was gurning in both!

We continued on eventually, the ride leader slowing it down a bit. I tended to ride alongside her chatting – she was telling me a bit about the area and the rides. It turns out they are a tennis club but they do other things and they will be doing a two week Rhine cycle ride with the group fairly soon. They are going from Speyer to Köln but are getting someone to drive the bikes down in a van rather than taking them on the train, and that someone will also move all the luggage daily.

It was mostly cycling around fields as before but was very nice scenery. It was very hot though and I could have done with a bit more speed for a bit more refreshing wind!

When we got to Breyell there was a bit of a discussion as several people in the group wanted to stop at a café but the leader thought they didn’t have time to do their full route and then get to the tennis club for the barbecue in time. The discussion went on for about five minutes and in the end they decided to go for the café stop (hurrah! I hadn’t had a cake or pastry yet today!) and so they headed for one in Breyell centre.

It was right next to this huge tower

And I ate this!

I also ordered a cup of tea and had a long chat with the people on my table about the optimum way to make tea. One very amusing chap commented that did I have a preference as to what colour the cow was that produced the milk (I had been very specific about everything else!) Several of them were interested as to why I had visited Nettetal and I explained about riding through it a couple of years ago on my way to Düsseldorf. I found their accents a little hard to understand sometimes, especially as I am a bit deaf, but it was good to chat to people.

The ride actually went past my Apartment on the way to the Tennisplatz for the barbecue but I continued past as I needed to go to the supermarket to get some food for this evening. I commented that I could smell rain in the air and the ride leader pooh-poohed that. I waved goodbye, thanking them for letting me tag along for the 12 mile ride, as they arrived at the Tennisplatz. I carried on to the supermarket a quarter of a mile on and went and got myself a pizza. Of course as I came out of the shop it was spitting with rain. I got home to the apartment before the rain really set in but since then we’ve had two hours’ solid of thunder, lightning and mega rain. I suspect their barbecue is slightly soggy!

All in all a good day but I would have liked to get a few more miles under my belt – 13.74 just doesn’t feel like enough to counteract the cake and biscuits I am consuming. I shall do more tomorrow!

Total distance: 13.74 miles
Moving time: 1 hour 39 minutes
Average speed: 8.3 mph
Average heart rate: 104
Maximum heart rate: 155
Calories burned: 421

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