Six Wheels in Germany – August 2022 (Month 101)

Welcome to my short August round-up.

Short because not much has happened. But here is a brief sum-up.

1st Wedding Anniversary

Klaus and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on 27 August.

As will not be a surprise, we planned one of our mini-honeymoons (number 10), this time a bit further afield. We went to Hotel Schloss Wolfsbrunnen in Schwebda which is near Eschwede, north east of Kassel.

We took Zuzanna the Z3 so after two hours on the motorway decided to go a more scenic route – this extended our journey time a fair bit but it is worth it. I think we were driving for nearly 5 hours in total.

We stopped for Wedding Anniversary Cake (courtesy of my Mother) in Brilon where we found a lovely café with an excellently helpful young lady serving us. And she served us cake of course…

We had a bit of a walk around Brilon and then set off for the final 2 hours to Schwebda.

Our hotel was actually a younger castle than most of the rest we have stayed in as it was built in 1890. It looked in very good condition and was nice inside and out!

The castle is on a hillside looking down onto Schwebda/Meinhard.

Photo by Klaus

It had a grand front with a red carpet.

Photo by Klaus

The view down to the village and the lake was also lovely.

We went for a wander around the grounds.

Photo by Klaus

And from there walked down into the village and to the lake area where we sat on a swing.

And spent some time looking at the lake and just relaxing.

My colleagues gave us a candle as a wedding gift last year and we decided to light it each wedding anniversary. So I organised myself enough to bring it with us – here it is taking the view from our window.

In the evening we lit it and burned it for an hour. I have a feeling this is a candle with a 90 hour burn time so I guess it will outlast us!

We had a meal in the hotel restaurant which was lovely – with a main course of venison which was locally hunted and really tasty. Klaus also enjoyed some Martini, wine and grappa as we didn’t have to drive anywhere.

We had a lovely evening and then also a bumper breakfast the next morning before checking out and heading home. We decided this time to drive the country route to Winterberg and then go from there on the motorway home.

I had been to Winterberg before with James when we cycled the Ruhr River (the Ruhr source is in Winterberg) but this time Klaus and I made our way by car directly to the town centre. It was a lovely drive there in good sunlight with some empty Sunday morning roads across hills.

We went though a village which turned out to be twinned with Manningtree which is round the corner from where I used to live in North Essex. And, even more amusingly, it had an excellently-named corona testing station.

At Winterberg we found cake – one that we shared.

And we had a bit of a walk around Winterberg where the shops were actually open on a Sunday. I found myself in a shoe shop and bought some rather nice boots for the autumn.

We then drove home on the motorway, put Zuzanna in her new garage (we have rented one a bit closer that is lockable) and then spent the next few hours checking out possible castles for future honeymoons. It’s such a lovely time to spend together.

The weekend before we had visited friends Dirk and Martina in Soest. They had a delayed party to celebrate their birthdays (which were during the worse Corona times) and we drove the 3 hours to see them and some of their friends and neighbours. On the way we wanted to stop for cake and so I did some googling whilst we were zooming along the A44 and I found something suitable… which it turned out we had visited before when returning from Soest in our velomobiles. Very nice cakes were had!

We had a lovely evening with Dirk, Martina and their friends and neighbours – Klaus likes to catch up with Dirk now and again as they have known each other for 10 years or so through photography. We had to leave just after 9pm as I was really tired and it was a 2 hour drive home. Lara had been doggysitting and had had a good evening with the other Lara and some friends eating ice cream in Kempen.

A little bit of cycling by me – and a lot by Holger Seidel

This month I haven’t cycled much at all – I’ve done just one long ride (as you can see in the Wheel below).

Klaus and I were about to go out for a ride one Sunday when we got a notification from Ralf that he was out on his trike, so we arranged to meet in Kempen and to cycle to Auffelder Bauerncafé together. Which we did!

The cakes were great of course!

I also had a real Bike Maintenance Fail this month.

Readers of my blog will remember that back in March I got a puncture on my way home from work and couldn’t get the tyre off the rim. I had to call Klaus to rescue me and it took him a good half an hour by the roadside to finally get the tyre off. I was then concerned that the other would be impossible to remove if I was out somewhere on my own so I had a go at removing it at home – with no success. Frank my landlord helped me and we ended up having to cut off the tyre and it was a major job.

So anyway I decided this month I should probably deflate the tyres and squash in the bead to prevent them sticking again – the old Continentals had been on for two years before the puncture episode so I assumed deflating and re-seating them every few months would be a good idea.

So I took all the air out… and no chance to remove the tyre. So I had a bit of a go with some more tools – no luck, but the tyre straight away started to come apart. (The silver marks on the rim are from last time’s attempt).

So after my lunch I decided I needed to do a proper job on these – there was no way I was going to ride Millie with the knowledge that a puncture would require the Broom Wagon. So I went into our bike garage to look into the box of tyres – I wanted to return to my faithful Durano Plus which had always been good to me. They are no longer made but I remembered I had built up a small stock.

The first 8 tyres I pulled out of the Tyre Box were Continentals again! Oh no! I had already vowed never to put these back on this rim as there was clearly a problem. Then I found some Nutraks (I don’t run them, not enough puncture resistance – they are good on the Quattrovelo though), some GoCycles (way too fat for a Milan), a Marathon (for the trike only!) and eventually 5 Durano Plus. Phew! That would be good for about 4-6 years with my current velomobiling rate. Klaus will try the Continentals on his Quattrovelo as he has different rims, I have the Ginkgo tubeless ready rims which it turns out are known to be a problem with wired tyres from Continental.

So I got lots of tools (various screwdrivers, grips, WD-40, Isopropanol), laid Millie on her side so I could access the wheels better, and made a start on the other tyre. I deflated it, hoping against hope that the bead would pop off the rim. No.

After fighting with it for a good half hour I ended up with the delightful sight below.

Tyre completely trashed, no doubt the tube holed too, but the bead still firmly stuck on the rim. The two wires you see there are unfortunately not the entirety of the wires in the bead.

At this point I gave up as my hands were killing me and I was making no progress. Millie was now unrideable, we would have to cut both tyres off at the weekend, deep joy. I hope that the rim tape isn’t too killed either, as I had planned a Büllhorsthof Velomobile Ride for the Sunday and 9 people had said they were coming. Next month you will find out if I was successful with my tyre amputation and was able to cycle to Büllhorsthof with the rest of the group or if I had to experience the ignominy of travelling by car.

In my headline above I mentioned Holger Seidel. He is a velomobilist we have met a number of times and he made an attempt at the Germany South to North record – and was brilliantly successful! This in a prototype version of the Bülk, a Velomobile developed by the team behind the Milan. Here is his Strava ride.

His total time was 29 hours 57 minutes which shaved 3 hours off the previous record set in 2018. We spent a lot of the morning checking the tracker to see how Holger was doing. We were also simultaneously following the Duisburg Iron Man as Lara the daughter of our landlords was participating, as was a colleague of Klaus’s, so we tracked their success too. they both did really well. We were just sitting in a car the whole time returning from our Honeymoon so were being very lazy!

The world of work

There have been a few changes for me at work this month.

Firstly, I ended up changing offices. When I first started working a year ago I shared an office with the lady Lucia who was training me. I assumed this was forever but after two months, when she had handed everything over to me, she moved back to her old office which she shared with our colleague Janita (they both work in sales). So I ended up having a fairly large office all to myself, including two full-sized desks.

Anyway, a new chap is starting work with us at the beginning of September and as he is involved in the finances of the company he needs his own office that can be locked when he is not there. The only suitable office was mine. So it was suggested that I move into the office with Janita and Lucia – there is space for another desk in there. So that is what we did, I took over a desk they had there already and they sorted out lots of space for me in a bookcase for all my files and generally made me very welcome.

Ready for the move
Moved in! Spot the air conditioner on the wall behind me, very useful!

Here is my old office waiting for its new occupant.

As I have mentioned previously, part of my job was being involved in the implementation of a new ERP system. The company chose Microsoft Business Central (we previously used Navision which was an earlier version) and the Go Live was the beginning of June. It’s been quite tricky to get it working properly and we have lots of issues, and the training from the implementation company has been very poor, so I decided I would try to find a book on Amazon to help me with the software. This ended up being surprisingly tricky as all the books were for developers who customise the software for clients, not for the end user like me. Eventually I found one that looked OK, but slightly unfortunately for me it was in the German language. I bought it anyway, especially as Business Central runs in German on my computer at work.

I am now halfway through the book and it hasn’t been massively helpful but there were a few useful tips and tricks. However, I have to fight my way through lots of VERY long German words. Here are two examples for your delectation.

Klaus is used to these long words – he spent last week having to carry out at work a “Arbeitsplatzgefährdungsbeurteilung”.

Anyway, that’s all I really have to report for August 2022. All the cakes I ate have already been featured above – but I am sure September will have some cake delights to share.

Till next time!

One comment

  1. Re: Puncture Repairs and Difficult Tyres and Getting Home
    Several years ago I started carrying one of the small canisters of emergency inflate and seal things. I got it one winter when I realised my fingers were too cold and thus ineffective should I get a puncture. I had to use it for the 1st time earlier this year and I was impressed. I used the Vittoria Magnum Pit Stop ones (2 sizes depending on your tyre sizes) but there are several similar things from other brands. You take tyre valve cap off and open as to pump tyre and just push the canister on and hold on for a short time. It puts sealant in and re-inflates tyre. My puncture bubbled slightly for a short time and sealed and tyre was well inflated (700×32). I dislike slime living in the inner tube and emergency thing does mean the inner tube would need replacing once home (it’s an emergency “get home” not a proper repair). But it only takes a few minutes, hands stay clean and doesn’t need fingers limited by cold, etc. No removing tyre and tube at roadside (but if course you still have to do at later at home or get a bike shop to do it …)

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