So here I am, sitting in my warm-ish kitchen, reflecting on the last week on the bike. To be quite honest, there isn’t a tremendous amount to report. It seems like winter is finally here. How are you enjoying riding in the winter? Are you still riding, or have you already put the bike away and resigned yourself to a long winter of packed U-bahn trains and buses, you wimp? I completely understand if you have.
It hasn’t been an easy week of cycling: every journey has felt twice as long as it normally would; pure drudgery. But hey, at least it’s been relatively dry. And being the pigheaded man I am, I’ve insisted on riding my single-speed for as long into the winter as possible, even though it’s about the most ill-suited winter bike one could ride. There’s a feature on the site about winter cycling: click here to see why this bike is impractical.
So, about this recently-acquired single speed. I’d wanted a new one for a while, wanting something simpler to rip around town on (my other bike, a touring bike, is a weighty beast). A couple of weeks ago, I got it into my head that I needed to own a particular model, found a very cheap, pristine example of that model on eBay Kleinanzeigen and started scheming its acquisition.
There was one small problem: the bike was in Paderborn, not Berlin. You’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly where Paderborn is, neither did I. I pulled up Deutsche Bahn’s website and entered the necessary parameters to see how, and for much I could get to Paderborn. It turns out that Paderborn isn’t the easiest place to get to from Berlin; you could probably get to Ulaanbaatar faster. On the plus side, it seemed like I could go the whole way with ‘nahverkehr’ – (local transport) and much cheaper. The problem was, was that it involved 3 trains in each direction. Still, given how cheap the bike was and how cheap the train ticket was, I decided to go ahead.
After 6 hours and 3 trains (Berlin Hbf – Uelzen, Uelzen – Hannover Hbf, Hannover Hbf -Paderborn Hbf), I finally arrived. The kind seller picked me up, and we started driving towards his flat. After we entered the building, he motioned for me to go down into the cellar to his workshop (where the bike was). You’d be forgiven at this point for starting to think that this story closely resembles the plot of a slasher movie – I was starting to think at this point that I might not leave Paderborn at all, let alone with a shiny new single speed.
Everything was ok with the bike, and I wasn’t subjected to anything more in the cellar than a short history of Paderborn, Gott sei dank, so off I rode back down to Paderborn Hbf, with the seller accompanying me, on a bike his father had apparently given him in 1980.
Now I had the bike in my sweaty mitts, it was time to get back back to Berlin. I won’t bore you by retelling the second half of the arduous journey blow-by-blow, but let it be said that it was no less exciting than the first half.
So the moral of the story? Well, there isn’t one; apart from, if you see a great deal on a nice bike in the middle of nowhere, go and get it, try not to get kidnapped or cannibalised in the process, bring it back and ride the snot out of it. Pretty happy I did.