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Biking in Germany – Episode 2 – For Whom the Bell Tolls

09 May Posted by in Sports | 3 comments
Biking in Germany – Episode 2 – For Whom the Bell Tolls
There is  a joke in the US when teenagers first get their driver’s license that all other drivers should be ware. Although there aren’t bike licenses in Germany, my fellow bike path users should be ware of the American Wicked Witch… I now have a modern day bike basket, but instead of a little dog, Toto, I have a baby in tow-tow.

Moral of the story… I really need to learn that ringing my bike bell in Germany is okay. I’m apprehensive to use it in fear of coming across as rude. How ridiculous is that?

Every day I try to take Fynn on a bike ride and I am thankful when I don’t run into too many people on the recreational trails. Not literally, of course, I’m not that incompetent on a bike. But I prefer going at times when there aren’t a lot of people with whom to cross paths.

Today, however, my bike routine occurred during a higher traffic time; several baby buggies and dog walkers. No runners though.

With so many fellow path users, are hand signals required? I thought these were reserved for roads with cars. Twice I’m thinking I should have used hand-signals to avoid confusion, and once I really should have used the bell.

A man was walking his dog (which actually did look like Toto) ahead of me going in the same direction. He and Toto were consistently staying to the right. Just as I approached, Toto veered toward the bike and then suddenly back to the right as I was hitting my brakes. I was still far enough behind that there wasn’t a close collision.

But I thought they had already heard the American Wicked Witch approaching since the tool kit in my front pack is extremely noisy clanking over the bumps like the theme music for the Wicked Witch of the West. Apparently, they hadn’t heard me since the man let out a loud, “Whoa!” as I was passing.

Ooops! I guess I have to ask myself:

1.)    What is my fear in using the bell?

2.)    Can’t I put my paranoid politeness aside in the name of safety?

I am too worried that by ringing the bell it will come across as rude.

I guess its time to get used to ringing my bell, since having one installed is required by German law obviously for safety purposes. (Cue Anita Ward’s, “You can ring my beeeeEEEEeeeell, ring my bell.”)

I’m so glad I can give bike advice based on what not to do.

On the positive side, I now have a bike computer that keeps track of my time, distance, and kilometers per hour. (Great, another feature to distract me.)

I can’t help but again commend the metric system though.

The fact that I am used to MPH makes me feel like a complete speed demon seeing how fast I am going in KMH.

The other day I got my bike up to 30 KMH. It’s also probably the top speed for my bike while having a baby on board. That’s a whole 19 MPH, but it sounds so much better in KMH.

New items that enhance my biking pleasure:

1.)    Bike Computer 

2.)    A map, purchased at the city of Krefeld tourist office 

3.)    A front basket/carrier 

4.)    A repair tool kit 

5.)    A Bike Pump 

Let’s hope I don’t ever have to use the tool kit while on a ride. I can’t imagine trying to repair a bike with a toddler around.

I always make sure I pack my cell phone (Handy) along too though.


  1. Mona Raub05-09-12

    19mph?? That’s pretty good. I’m happy to maintain a speed of 15mph and that’s with nobody in a carrier on the back.

    • Mommy05-09-12

      I should clarify that the 19 mph is only on the open road. I can’t go that fast on the trails. I average 9 mph for just under a 40 minute ride. See, that’s why you should set your bike computer to the metric system. It will make you think you’re going faster:)

  2. Heinz05-10-12

    I wanted to thank you for your blogs. I really enjoy them and are now telling others about them.

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