Distance: 2 miles
Time on bikes: 0.25 hours
The alarm goes off early and it reminds us of getting up to go to work. Bene’s sister is taking her bicycle across to Kehl for its first service and this works out well as we have some oil and brake fluid to return to the shop because we managed to eventually find Castrol oil and have decided not to change the brake fluid.
They leave just after 8 am and Carl decides to also get up so he can take the bikes for a test ride after their full strip down and finish the list of jobs by changing the oil and filter. Both bikes run lovely and are pulled back into the garage for Carl & Bene’s Dad to tackle a simultaneous oil change.
For those that are not aware, Carl speaks almost no French. Apart from Bonjour, Merci, Mange Tout and a few other bits of vocabulary that’s really about it. Bene’s Dad speaks almost no English, but the two of us have managed to strip the bikes and reassemble them and will now tackle the oil change together, with no language assistance from Bene.
It really would have made a fantastic video as the two of us converse with a series of hand gestures, grunts and facial expressions to get the job done. It’s like being back before the magic of language was developed by humans, but it makes you realise that it’s not a complete barrier and we enjoy getting the job done together.
Bene gets back a bit earlier than we expect, but just as we’re finishing the bikes. We get cleaned up and have a lovely lunch of lamb which had been roasting on the rotisserie during the morning and getting our appetites going with the aroma around the house.
After lunch we have a game of badminton with Claire before heading out in the car to get some shopping and a plant for Mothers Day tomorrow. We also buy Bene’s Dad a few bottles of wine as thanks for his help with the bikes. We’ve saved a fortune in servicing thanks to being able to use his garage and tools, and not to mention his assistance and enthusiasm with his blow torch.
When we get back, we manage to summon the energy to put the plastic panels back on the bikes and they are now ready to go back on the road. It’s a lovely feeling to put the last few screws in, and amazingly we only have one washer left over in Bene’s bucket of parts disassembled from the bikes. Not bad, and I’m sure it wasn’t that important.
We’ve decided to take the family pushbikes out for a spin along the local cycle paths which run alongside the river. Although Flo has her new bike, picked up from the cycle shop at lunchtime after its service; the other bikes are shall we say a bit vintage. Bene’s Dad has implemented several modifications to the bikes and it’s with some trepidation that Carl and Bene get on her parents tandem.
As we head off, it takes a bit of getting used to the tandem. It’s a bit fidgety and the brakes are almost non-existent. We both feel a bit vulnerable in shorts and t-shirts after being used to wearing full bike kit when riding, but we soon start getting used to it. After a few miles we need to do a u-turn on the cycle path and utilise an adjoining field to perform the manoeuvre. Unfortunately the effort of riding through the grass proves too much for the weld joint that Bene’s Dad did when modifying the crank assembly on the bike and suddenly Bene, taking up the rear, has no input into the forward motion of the bike.
This problem only means that she can now sit on the back and relax with Carl doing all the work. After a couple of miles, Claire is keen to have a go on the back of the tandem and as she’s a bit lighter than Bene, the lack of pedal input is less significant.
We continue and change bikes around a couple of times before eventually getting back home. Bene had done the final uphill leg on the tandem with Claire on the back. This took a bit of effort and we’ve all gained a bit of an appetite. We relax outside and enjoy a light meal on the terrace before retiring inside for the evening.