|Shadow image of Steve´s bike on our car|
Bikes play an important role in our family´s life. Not only do we enjoy them for recreation, but due to the fact that we have chosen not to purchase a car here in Europe, it has become our major means of transportation. I use it to get to and from shops primarily. It is also my way to the gym, pool, and train station. It is a passion for my husband who clocks in at least a hundred miles a week. He lives to bike, I bike to live. Now a days I am finding that the exercise I get from bicycling is making me healthier and helping me with things like blood pressure and flexibility. I´m counting on it to stave off arthritis and other debilitation as one ages. Certainly, moving my body is a good thing--more about that in a later posting.
Bicycling is a way of life here in Germany. People are accustomed to making good use of the country´s excellent system of biking paths that lead in and out of the major cities connecting in the small villages in between. Germany lays a bike path for every road it constructs, it´s the law here. As a result, entire families take off on the weekends for long bike excursions to beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, castles, villages, and other picturesque destinations. Often, bikers can be seen toting picnic baskets for a lunch at water´s edge or in the middle of a lush valley or meadow. Being the outdoors people that they are, they have conceived of many intriguing ways to carte baskets, infants, toddlers, and other bicyclists in tandem.
We are always pleased to see bicyclists on our way to extraordinary locations such as our recent trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle of King Ludvig of Bavaria. Perched high atop a mountain, it is only accessable by foot traffic up the levels of stairs. But, to get to the stairs, you can bike up the mountain and many Germans´do bike up the mountain to gain access to the famous castle that Walt Disney visited and later fashioned Cinderella´s castle after.
|Young and old alike bike throughout Germany|
But, you will also see them rising thousands of kilometers into the air as they struggle to crest the peak of a mountain in the Alps. We have learned to admire these adventure cyclists, many of whom are in our age catagory--late 50´s and much older. God bless them for not sitting in their armchair or on the couch and getting out there and showing us that we can still do it if we wish.
Yesterday, I was extremely proud of my 11 year-old (soon to turn 12 on Aug. 17th) grandson when after a full day of swimming with me, he chose to go on a bike ride with his Papa to Starnbergersee (a lake ten miles from our home). The guys left at 6:00 pm and came back after dark around 8 pm. That was a full twenty miles, including some stretches of steep upward climbs through the forest hills. Papa said he sure was a trooper and gave it his all. They rode non-stop and our little Eli was able to keep pace with his more practiced grandpa. Eli, your Mimi loves you so much and is so very proud of your great accomplishment.
Now that Eli has built up his confidence on a bike, the next trip will include the Alps. He and Papa are already discussing the trail map. Good luck guys!