The temptation was waiting at kilometer 90, just behind the village of Nierstein near the town of Mainz. Once again I was on a diversion (this time, for a change, exemplary signposted) and had driven for a while through vineyards. In the villages I had seen a lot of people sitting comfortably in “Strausses” drinking new wine and eating onion tart. The sun was shining and I thought: If I would not try to ride as many kilometers as possible for “School up! River down!”, I would now for sure take the time to set in. I remained hard and continued cycling with my folding bike. Behind Nierstein, below the “Red Slope” – named after its clay sandstone ground and known for its excellent Riesling wines – about 30 people blocked the bike path.
As I wriggled through, I realized the reason for the blockade: winemakers served their wine for free. “Do you also want to drink a glass?”, one of them asked me. I had to think of Abdel-Kader Zaaf. The Algerian professional cyclist had drunken wine during a stage of the Tour de France in 1950, had laid down under a tree to cure his hangover and, after waking up, had driven in the wrong direction. So I declined the friendly offer. Later in Mainz, I passed another serving of wine, but this time the temptation was not so great. After all, I had driven at that point 111 kilometers and wanted to go on for another one or two hours.
One week on the road
Nine and a half hours after the departure in Altrip near Ludwigshafen, I stopped exhausted in Bingen am Rhein. The look at the odometer compensated me for the hardship: today 149 kilometers. I would never have done the last sixty kilometers if I had succumbed to the temptation behind Nierstein. Then I would probably have laid down as Abdel-Kader Zaaf once did – and like him would have later driven back. For a week I am now en route along the Rhine for “School up! River down!”. The result: a total of 868 kilometers, so far no noticeable breakdown (the chain jumped off twice, but that does not count), and I also remained without any falls. I wouldn’t mind if things continued like this. Tomorrow in the direction of my hometown Cologne.
Date17. September 2017 | 22:16
TagsAid project: School up!, Altrip, Bingen am Rhein, Folding bike, Mainz, Nierstein, Rhine, School up! River down!, Wine