Sometimes the brain doesn’t work…. A Rohloff always works

So says Claudia, our warm smiling host in Niederstetten, Germany. I had made the simple error of light-heartedly comparing what I imagined to be the internal workings of the human brain to the fantastic and fantastical inner workings of the wunder-hub which provides the gearing for our bikes, with its mystifying planetary structure.

Take a peep inside…

The Human Brain

And for the geeks out there, the genius is nicely illustrated here.

This is undoubtedly the most critical single item of our journey. If this goes wrong in the middle of Tibet, without an expert bike mechanic in sight, we are well and truly ……. (well you get the idea). It was in expressing this view that I was straight-facedly chastised by Claudia. It just won’t fail, it is desisgned, engineered and manufactured in Germany and they just don’t make things that don’t work….. and so we have discovered (so far). All the key pieces of kit we have seem to have their origins in Germany. Claudia’s momentarily serious face softens once more into a familiar broad-grin as she injects a element of realism, “It might fail in Tibet, but it is really really unlikely”.

Enjoying a devilishly good tipple with Sergi and Karl-Albert

Enjoying a devilishly good tipple with Sergi and Karl-Albert

And so we have pedalled onwards, leaving behind Mittel Franken and its fabulous beer (Faust beer is my favourite so far -which Karl Albert, our wise local historian in Miltenberg Am Main, was only too happy to share with us). Fascinating days tracing the early days of Juliana’s (Francesca’s mum’s) life are detailed in a previous post.

And onwards yet to the Austrian border, through proud Bavaria, again with its wunder-bier and a Brauhaus safely positioned on every street-corner. Lest we forget, the towns and villages we pass through have been replete with Fasching (spelling? This is apparently connected to “Fasting”) celebrations and plenty of dirndls. For those of you unacquainted with the splendour of the dirndl and its juxtaposition to the ale…..

A Bavarian uniform of sorts

Almost our final act before leaving Germany was to try out a slightly alternative form of transport. One upon which Francesca and I could commune in perfect synchronicity and harmony. Needless to say our 10mins on a tandem was sufficient experience to re-instate the status quo ante and restore us to our familiar steads which now whisk us through Austria….

A few moments of perfect shared harmony

It is now late and there is much more to write but you will simply have to await The Sound of Music and Styrian tales that I promise will follow shortly…..

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4 Responses to Sometimes the brain doesn’t work…. A Rohloff always works

  1. Ian Aitkenhead says:

    Another message from LB-C (with apologies for the delay in sending it – I’ve been having Internet problems):

    George – I was delighted to talk to you on the Internet. What I suggest is that we meet in Dubrovnik the weekend of 8-10 April. I will arrange for my flight on the Friday and book into a suitable hotel for Friday/Saturday nights.

    Hope your progress through Austria is smooth and that the weather is kind.

    All the best,


  2. 4unterwegs says:

    Hello Francesca! Hello Sam!
    We have received the maps yesterday. Thank you. We hope it was helpful and next cyclists can be lucky if they need. Thank you very much for the present. Its a sign for the future und smells very natural. Now we know what kind of stuff in your big bags you’ve taken. Many presents 😉 We’ve seen via your album, that you’ve met many nice people, who are so involved in cycling with so different equipement like we are. Hope your head and your wallet can resist the appetite. Better we hope not. We can imagine that you were to greedy and you couldn’t resist the snow, no more waiting until Obertauern.
    Good luck

  3. 4unterwegs says:

    Hello Francesca! Hello Sam!
    We wrote already a notice of receiption of the maps, but may be it wasn’t posted correctly. We received yesterday the maps. Hope it was helpful. Now the next cyclists may use these again. Thank you for the present. A sign of the future and it smells very natural. Via your album we’ve seen, that you’ve tried many different kind of bicycles. Hope you’ve enjoyed much. in about 6 weeks we will visit Germersheim a spezialcyclefair. We’ve seen that skiing in the Alps was a great adventure. Enjoy your trip. Take care. We’ll stay tuned.

  4. Davide and Nina says:

    Ciao Francesca and Sam. As I have said before and will say again, you two never cease to amaze us. We have just read your latest detailed, intriguing, fascinating and brilliant newsletter. We both love to read them so much. It is so good to see you are both safe and well and still keeping the end destination in sight. Have finally registered with warmshowers and we will some day hopefully use the site. We have already a French couple coming to visit us sometime in July – retirees of course!! News from Italy is that we are at present in Siena, having ridden over the past seven days from just north of Rome to here. As you can imagine, the scenery has been breath taking. I am thrilled with Nina’s increase in fitness.. and because of it, she is enjoying it so much more. So, one way or another… Hong Kong here we come !!! Do hope you can get to see this reply where ever you are. We both love you very much.
    Lots of love, Davide and Ninaxxxxxxxx

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