Cycling Statistics this month
This month I cycled a total of 542km, largely commuting/.
And this is where I went:
Although November was quite cold we also had some bright, clear days when Klaus and I managed to get out for some rides together.
Tile-bagging, the final tile!
I had set myself a challenge to get my Veloviewer square up to 25×25 for the year 2019. Veloviewer divides the world into 1km squares and if you cycle at any point into that square, you get it credited to you. If you do several consecutive squares then you start building up your ‘max square’. Last month I tried to complete my 25 x 25 squares but was foiled by a path which was ‘no entry’.
I had already seen that I could get this square from the other side of the Rhein, which would mean a pretty long ride (86km) just to get this one square, but I hoped I could give it a go and complete my challenge.
As I was using up a lot of overtime in November I had a number of days off and one very cold Monday morning I decided to have a stab at this tile.
I had decided to cross the Rhein at Wesel and then come back over the Orsoy/Walsum ferry just to make it a round trip. There aren’t that many Rhein crossings where we are so this was what made it a long ride.
Because the temperature was 1 degree and with a lot of wind chill (it was actually very windy) I wrapped up my face well!
Because you are warm inside a velomobile I was wearing winter cycling trousers and a normal long-sleeve jersey with an underlayer beneath, but on my head I had a buff on my hair and a buff around my neck/to cover my mouth, plus this fleecy head, mouth and neck warmer. My clothing choices were almost perfect except my bad arm got a bit cold leaning against the side of the velomobile as the chill was transmitted through the carbon to my titanium!
I cycled on main roads pretty much all the way to the bridge at Wesel, but just before switched onto the Deich cycle path (having had to negotiate Drängelgitter, but I managed them without getting out of the Milan – bonus!)
I crossed over the bridge and could see in the distance where I would cross back – the power station with the mega cloud coming out of the chimney (not the nearer one)
After crossing the bridge I turned right and followed the Rhein, knowing that the main road takes me through the missing tile. And indeed it did!
I arrived at the Orsoy ferry, still feeling a bit chilly on my arm. Due to the cold weather my Durano Plus tyres were very slow (this is always the case when the temperature drops below 7 or 8) and as I didn’t want to hang around my motor was on level 2 or 3 (I usually cycle on level 1) to give me that extra assistance, but my overall speed for this ride at 29.4 km/h was a little less than I would manage in the summer with level 1 assist (15 Watts).
I did the ride non-stop and was very happy when I got home to see that my route planning had worked and that I did, indeed, have the tile!
Klaus and I didn’t have so many chances to cycle together this month as the weather wasn’t always great and we were busy. However, we did manage one Sunday morning ride with Ralf the Cookie Monster and also were able to have a ride together to our favourite café in Winnekendonk.
And the ride back was lovely!
I have continued to complete my 8000 steps per day (which is roughly 6km) to see how long a streak I can get. On 30 November I achieved 78 days straight, I am now trying for 100 days.
Poppy is usually keen to come with me, although not when it is raining! You can see by her face below that she was not happy so I took her back home again.
But mostly we were able to time our walks for the better weather.
Politics and the Election
I try not to talk tooooo much about politics/Brexit on this blog as it is a difficult topic. Brexit will have only negative consequences for me, and I doubt there are any real positive consequences for people in Britain, so I am vehemently against.
I was pleased that my postal ballot papers arrived early enough for the General Election on 12 December and sent them back. I voted tactically to try to unseat the Conservative party candidate. Fingers crossed!
As in the previous four years, in November the choir that I sing with has its two concerts.
We practice all year for this so it’s always a bit of a risk that you get a cold or something and miss both concerts, although this year they were nine days apart.
The first concert took place in Anrath, which has somewhat tricky acoustics.
We were singing Brahms’ “ein deutsches Requiem” which I had not heard before this year. The concert went OK but we really messed up one of the Brahms pieces so we all felt a bit bad after this!
The second concert took place over a week later in Krefeld and this one went rather better.
Klaus and I also attended another concert together, this time in Düsseldorf. This was a concert by Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp, who Klaus has seen a number of times.
A visit from the UK
The daughter of some friends of mine from church in Colchester is currently having her year in Germany as part of a degree in German at Sheffield Uni (my Alma Mater!) She is studying in Münster and as that’s not too far away I offered for her to come and visit. She ended up coming over on a Sunday afternoon as we were having the St Martin Parade later in the day and she actually knew about this (her teacher at school, a German lady, had got the class to make lanterns, sing the songs and have a mini procession near Colchester). Anyway, Klaus and I picked Nicole up from Uerdingen station as there were issues with the train and took her to Landcafé Steudle for some cake.
The absolute shocker was that Nicole said she hadn’t had any cake yet in Germany – and she’s been here for a couple of months!
Klaus got into the spirit of the thing by eating Zwiebelkuchen (onion cake). It’s really a flan.
We then had a cup of tea at home before Nicole and I went to Kempen for the St Martin Parade. We parked at my office as lots of roads are closed and walked into Kempen. We wandered around a bit so she could see it, had an apple doughnut each and bumped into St Martin and his helper.
We then went to our chosen waiting spot near the railway station and got ready for the parade.
Nicole’s train was leaving at 18:15 and she had to catch it as the next was an hour later. Unfortunately the parade didn’t actually arrive at our spot before then – I heard it as I was walking back to my car after seeing Nicole onto the train. But she got to experience some of the atmosphere of St Martin which is really a big thing in Kempen.
It was good to see Nicole and interesting to hear her experiences of studying in Germany and also job applications in the UK for when she finishes her degree. We wish her all the best with her further studies!
When we were in Berlin Klaus spent some time looking for a waterproof coat and we ended up finding some Barbour jackets in Peek & Cloppenburg. He said he had always wanted a Barbour and so tried some on and really liked one of them. However the price was rather high, I think about 340€. I said we should do some more research.
We did some more research later that day and found the identical coat available for £150 in the UK, so he went ahead and ordered one, plus the hood, and it duly arrived two days later.
I may be living in Germany but the cultural assimilation works two ways!
I also had a rather expensive month as I had a number of expensive purchases. One of these was a new iPad (my Mum will have my old one) and I decided to upgrade to an iPad Pro. And of course I had to get the Apple Pencil for it. Klaus has also bought himself an iPad and an Apple Pencil in the last few months so our collection of Apple Boxes is pretty impressive (and does not include the box from my 27″ iMac).
As it happens, one of the iPads has already been given away and another will go to my Mum so we haven’t actually got five iPads between two people… we have three.
Cakes this month
There’s not much more to report from November. Klaus and I have both worked quite hard this month (he was away at a Trade Fair at the end of November and I have a new colleague who I had to support and train so worked more than my usual hours), but we have also had time to relax at home and enjoy the changing seasons. Tomorrow is December when the festive season really starts – we will mostly hide away from all that!