Pseudo-Review #5: R&M Charger GX 4000km

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Trees falling like crazy ’round here. Storms, über-wet ground, and, perhaps, top heavy Germans.

Pseudo-Reviews begin here.

It’s been a long cold wet winter, dear worst-rider. No. Seriously. The weather has been so dismal the past few months here in the Germania tribe of #eurowasteland that I’ve barely ridden the R&M. Although I’ve been living in the old country for well over twenty-five years now, this past winter season has been extreme when it comes to all things wet and cold. That in and of itself is worth worst-writing about (or am I already doing that on this worst-blog?) Nomatter. Speaking of weather…

I was in The Homeland recently… Can you believe you can call it that now? But perhaps they shouldn’t stop there. Perhaps they should/could call it Orwell’s Homeland. But I digress.

I was in The Homeland last October for a wonderful visit. Spent some beautiful days in Baltimore. That’s right, dear worst-rider. When the police aren’t shooting people and when the automatons aren’t walking around like Zombies, and when the f’n sun shines like there’s no tomorrow, Baltimore is actually a great little city to hang around for a few days. This particular visit left me with the impression that October weather in Baltimore is the best weather in the world. Add to that the fact that once I stepped foot back in the old country, about two weeks after my Homeland visit, it started to rain and didn’t stop until yesterday. I kid you not!

I’ve experienced wet and cold weather living in this part of #eurowasteland. But in my twenty-five years I can’t remember it being this bad. I’m kinda ashamed I didn’t do more worst-riding for the past few months. But I’ve set my riding weather limits to seven degrees celsius and trees being uprooted due to flooding ground water. Yea, limits. (See pic above.)

bike review 4000km_3
Shelf space for bike stuff. I’m actually regretting have bought two knob tires (tyres); I’m probably gonna go with more street oriented tires after current set wears out.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think this break from the R&M has done me some good. It’s aloud me to readjust my e-bike senses. That is, getting back on the bike after only sporadic use during the past three or four months has allowed me to re-orient myself with it. Not only that but while it’s been in my basement turning a year old I’ve finally started fiddling with its parts. For example, for the first time I adjusted the air shocks–even though I’m not quit sure how-to do it. I also re-adjusted my thud buster seat going back to the middle rubber mount from the highest (hardest) setting. I also have a new rear tire, although that wasn’t my fiddling. And the Bosch system was updated. So let’s go there first, shall we.

Just after returning to the old country last October–in fact, the day I arrived–I was also scheduled to bring my R&M in for a check-up and frame replacement. As pointed out in this pseudo-review, the dealer delivered my R&M with paint damage on the frame.  If I hadn’t insisted on having the damage repaired I’m sure that the dealer–and perhaps R&M???–would have gladly let the damage slide at my cost. I say that because, 1) I had to wait something like eight months for the frame and 2) after the dealer finally replaced it and I picked up the bike, they said/claimed the following:

“You know, we replaced that frame, which would normally have cost around five hundred or so in labour, for nothing.”

My response: Whaaaaaaaaa?

I don’t know about your experience with customer service, dear worst-rider, but such a comment is common-place here in #eurowasteland, especially in certain parts of Germany where people really do believe they $hit roses. But enough of my worst-writing vulgarities and limited intellect as a somewhat disappointed high-end e-bike consumer.

So. During this money grubbing check-up my frame was replaced. They also replaced both rear brake pads, which I questioned (more on that in a sec). I also had them install a new rear tire even though it could have probably gone a few hundred kilometres more–but that was my choice. I was thinking at the time that I’d kill two birds (with one stone) and  bought a second tire (see pic above where said tire is neatly folded and waiting). I’m now thinking that was an error on account I’m almost sure I want to go with more street oriented tires in the future. Maybe more on that later. They also updated my Bosch system with the new eMTB riding mode. Let me say this about eMTB:

Whoop-di-fcuking do!

In fact, I might even ask the dealer (it’ll be a new dealer by then) if I can return my Bosch system back to the old riding modes. With four modes of riding, I really don’t see the reasoning behind eMTB, which seems to only combine the top three levels of riding. In fact, the other day while going up a short but very steep hill using eMTB the motor kicked a bit too hard and caused a wheelie. To prevent a backward flip I had to jump off the pedals. Indeed. Unwanted wheelies during steep ascensions… I’m gettin’ too old for that $hit.

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There’s an owner’s manual for a lot of Suntour forks here, just not for mine.

As far as the brake pad replacement goes, there is a problem with the rear brake calliper on my R&M. In my opinion, the frame mounts are not properly aligned for this calliper setup. The brake pad that is on the outside of the disk is always rubbing. I know this because the rear wheel never spins freely. Although there is a way to adjust the position of the calliper on the frame mounts, it can’t be moved enough to one side to prevent the rubbing on one of the pads. Once I get a new dealer, I’ll be addressing this issue. Otherwise I’ll be replacing pads mostly because of this unnecessary rubbing.

Actually I don’t have anything more to say about the tires on this bike. I love them. So I might just go one more set and then go to street tires. I don’t know. I’m confused about tires.

The front forks have no manual.

The pic above is a screenshot of the CD that was delivered with this bike that is supposed to contain an owner’s manual for my forks. The only problem is, there is no manual. The good news is that my bike was delivered with a cute little air pump specific to these forks. This is helpful because they are springless air forks. If, by accident, you let out all the air–which I did–you’ll need this pump to get going again. Either that or you’ll have to ride home with useless, impotent front forks. (Sounds worst-rider erotic, eh!) And there is one other problem. Because there is no user manual for the forks, how much pressure can I put in them? Since I fiddled around with air forks back in the day when I was a real-man motorcyclist–as opposed to a wuss on an e-bike–I figured I could fill the forks till they don’t move anymore, which I think was around 150psi. Right now I’m running something like a 100psi and they’re still a bit hard. Or is it 10psi? Who the fcuk cares. And you know what they say about hard (forks) and men in their fifties, right? Ok. Enough.

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R&M heaven or how they look after turning a year old.

Btw, my better-half’s R&M Mixte is definitely gonna skip the eMTB Bosch update. The main reason is because the update seems to be just another gouging mechanism for dealers. You see, Bosch doesn’t charge for the update. But dealers do. Go figure. Also. The Mixte is mostly used on roads, so it really doesn’t need eMTB.

In the last few days I’ve been able to go on longer rides with my GX, even though off-road is still very very wet–in fact so wet that even my extra wide tires sink a bit much for my taste. We’re planning a new tour up on the Baltic Sea at the end of May, though. We’re looking at about ten days of riding and maybe 1500km along the German north coast not far from Poland. Looking forward to it.

Oh. As far as battery life goes… I’m gonna have to worst-write something about that (again) soon. Reason? During the first 2000km I could go 30km before the first notch on the battery gauge would disappear. Now I can barely go 15km. After questioning a dealer about this he said that as soon as it gets warmer I should have all the power back. I’m skeptical. Even though the Bosch e-bike motor is great and I trust the Germans engineered it well and Hungarians put it together well, the battery–or the batteries–is a different story. Indeed. Batteries are the weak link here. But I digress.

Good riding, baby.

Rant on.

-T

Pseudo Review #4: R&M Charger GX At 3000km

charger GX in the woods

As stated here and here, I’m a big fan of Riese & Mueller e-bikes. In fact, after my better-half bought me the Charger GX last spring, the only time I’m not on this bike is 1) I’m pooped from riding it and 2) the weather sucks. Since the power of this e-bike eliminates the need to consider weather, especially wind as a riding factor (wind can be pretty severe on this part of the Rhine) only heavy precipitation keeps me from riding it. I use this e-bike for everything including grocery shopping and errands (utilising trusty and ageing Ortlieb saddle bags and the rear rack). After becoming a single-car family, I’m somewhat surprised how little I’ve missed having a second car. I suppose if we lived more remotely instead of on the outskirts of a city there’d be more reason to have a second car. But knowing what I now know about e-bikes, I’d actually continue without a second car until circumstances dictated otherwise. Of course, every time I drive our remaining car I’m also reminded of how $hitty it is to drive in Germany anyway. I mean. Come on. Just get a load of the traffic between D’dorf and Köln—most of which is hindered by severe construction (as though the Germans are just now learning how to build Autobahns). I’ve been riding my R&M between the two cities and other than an extended, boring passage which feels somewhat middle-of-nowhere-ish, I don’t mind the extra time it takes to ride the forty or so kilometres. But then again, I’ve not actually done a direct comparison of riding or driving from D’dorf to Köln. Maybe I should do that someday. Especially considering parking. But I digress.

charger gx picking up sushi
Picking up Sushi for dinner.

Inspections & Dealer Krapp.

The “Service” notice keeps appearing on my Bosch Intuvia screen. I think I’ve had two of the service inspections done so far. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what the dealer does with the bike during an inspection. The process is not at all that transparent and the bike doesn’t feel like anything has been tightened, changed or oiled when I get it back. Hell, they don’t even clean the thing. Of course, there’s some kind of checklist they have to go through—which they arbitrarily hand to me after I pay. In the end, as usual, it’s all just a waste of money–and time. Then again, I can’t update the Bosch firmware, which has been updated twice since acquiring the bike, hence the two inspections I’ve subjected myself to. Which brings me to the following question: Why do dealers have to charge for a firmware update if Bosch doesn’t charge for it? Oh wait. Who would pass up a chance to rip-off customers of 25,-euros if they can? (Sarcasm off.)

Replacing Frame.

Luckily, my dealer and the people he hires are a bit ditsy. That leaves me plenty of space to criticise, criticise, criticise. As mentioned in a previous post, R&M has provided a new frame for my e-bike due to damaged paint when it was delivered. I’ve had to put off frame replacement though because my dealer is unable to cope with not only e-bike demand but e-bike service. Now get this. The replacement frame was delivered in June. The dealer requested that I wait till the fall to replace the frame because he was too overwhelmed with “seasonal” business. When fall came around, due to my schedule, I requested that we do replacement in October. We finally set a replacement appointment for Nov. 2. When I arrived Nov. 2 (the morning after jet-lagging from international travel the day before) the dealer told me his mechanic was sick and I’d have to leave bike with him for two weeks. That was/is unacceptable. We’ve now changed the date to Dec 5 and I have insisted that an appointment is appointment—he shouldn’t tell me that he needs two weeks to replace the frame when I bring it in next time. We’ll see how that goes. (And by-the-buy, let it not be told that I could easily give up my GX for two weeks because, well, I could always use my wife’s Charger Mixte. The only problem is, I don’t want to give up my GX—at all!)

rear tire 3000km

Tires.

There is something fantastical about the knobby tires on the GX. As far as biking goes, regular or e-biking, the Rock Razor tires are huge, bulky, and kinda ugly. I have to deal with countless comments from fellow bikers about how my tires are… not really bicycle tires. Seriously. I mean… I have pedals. Wheels. A Frame. Handle bars. And there are still some people that think I’m riding a monster-truck on two wheels. With that in mind, the huge tires on this bike are so well designed and made that, other than the noise they give off on flat roads, they are like the best friggin tires I’ve ever experienced on a bike. You would think, due to their size, width, knobs, etc., that high speed turns on roads would, at the least, be edgy. This is not the case. They don’t get unstable, wobbly or feel the least uncomfortable. Of course, off-road, they are even better. There is no terrain that I won’t ride across on these tires. Whether riding through sand, mud or rocks, nothing shakes them.

Then again, they don’t last forever. As you can see in the pic above, my rear tire no longer has any bite. I’ve ordered a new tire to replace it which will be added when I get new the frame next month—and probably just in time for winter. I am indeed curious how these tires will handle the wet, cold and sometimes icy winter weather around here.

Battery.

Juice be told, baby. I really wish I had access to the Bosch system in order to see how my battery is performing. I should be into the hundreds of recharges on the battery by now. I think it’s recharge limit is around 700. I guess it’s held up well so far. But… In 3000km I’ve noticed how the battery has definitely weakened. I’m getting at least 20-30km less battery than the first 1000-1500km. I really started noticing the weakening after 2000km. Of course, if I had access to the Bosch system, I could see if, perhaps, I’ve let the e-bike spoil my legs a bit—which could be the  cause of higher battery usage.

As far as battery modes go, here’s how I use my battery:

  • Eco: I use this mode for 1-2 hour leg and cardio workouts. This mode neutralises the bikes extreme weight and literally turns it into a workout machine–with a great view (of the outdoors). I also use this mode if/when trying to conserve battery on longer tours. Obviously, with battery getting weaker, having to use this mode more often.
  • Tour: this is my main riding mode. I use this when running errands and/or have to jaunt into the city centre. Usually won’t exceed trips beyond 50-65km.
  • Sport/eMTB: Recent update has turned Sport into “eMTB” mode. This is supposed to be a mix between all of the modes and is determined by pedal speed/cadence, pedal weight/strength, resistance/terrain, etc. I use Sport when I’m on trails or mountain biking and when I’m lazy.
  • Turbo: I only use this mode on extreme hill climbs.

That’s it for now.

Ride safely.

And rant on.

-T

That Moment You’re Out Of Battery. Oh. Great! I’ve Got Another One. Battery, That Is.

challenging tour with ebike.jpg

A pretty gruelling ride yesterday. It started with a train ride that took me and my electrified The Panzer to the badlands at the end of Wuppertal. (Btw, if you’ve never been to Wuppertal, you have to go. It’s worth it to go there and just take a ride on the Schwebebahn.) From there I planned to ride back the whole way to the Rhein and then D’dorf. I got started late after meeting with some folk and drinking a few. Since the sun is beyond it’s summer solstice, and it got away from me quicker than I expected, most of the ride was in the dark. And we’re not worst-riding (writing) about the dark on some paved roads. I was in the friggin woods most of the time. Thank goodness I’ve got some  pretty decent lighting on The Panzer. Btw, the panzer is a Riese&Müller Charger GX Touring (what a mouthful, eh). Now. The distance I travelled wasn’t the farthest I’ve been. It was only about sixty and half kilometres. The challenge last night was something else. Most of the first half of the ride required some pretty serious uphill trekking, including having to get off the bike and push it, albeit with electric motor assist. Seriously. There were these tree roots covering one pathway and I thought I’d have to put that damn bike on my back to get it up (and that’s what she said, eh). The darkness that quickly overcame me didn’t help matters. Anyhow. See elevation and speed profile of pic above. Moving my well endowed, well-over 200lbs a$$ up a hill–see 10km mark in pic above–pretty much wiped an entire bar from my battery. I even had to use the walk-assist of the motor to get up some of the hills. Keep in mind, five bars indicate a full juiced battery. By the time I hit 25km two bars were gone. On flat-land, I can average 15-20km (on tour-assist mode) per bar. And so. In the middle of some serious darkness on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere, and only one bar of battery left, I finally changed batteries at 45km. I was pretty tired at that point, too. I rode around 35-40km through dense woods and trails, up and down lots of steep hills–and it was f’n fun! But this middle-aged fellow was pooped at 30km. Would I do it again? Damn straight. But I’d prefer to do it when there’s… let there be light.

Rant and ride on.

-T

PS The speed profile is a bit whacky. I think the reason it has such a large blank space in it is because, while going down one hill, I exceeded normal bike speeds by whole bunch. Indeed. I clocked well over 60km/h on one down hill short trek. (Oh, it was light out, in Ronsdorf, when I did that.) Yea, baby.

Pseudo-Review #3: R&M Charger GX Touring – 2000KM (And Counting)

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Just off the beach; Fjord in background; cool sandy tires, eh.

Previous pseudo-reviews here (1) and here (2).

Ok. Ok. As I write this I think I have exactly 1958KM on my Charger GX Touring. I’m sure I’ll pass the 2k mark within the next few days as a number of commutes to Köln are in the works. We also just got back from a week-long vacation on the Baltic Sea, at Germany’s most northern point. The original plan was to go by train with our bikes (my better-half as the Charger Mixte Nuvinci) but we couldn’t secure tickets for the train car where the bikes are stored. Next time we’ll have to reserve the tickets probably three to four months in advance. Since there is no way to take the bikes with our car, we went ahead and rented a midsize utility van. The cost of the van is the same as the train. Luckily the eight hour drive through German holiday/vacation season wasn’t all that bad. Someone we spoke to up north said that most Germans this year flew to the Med for their vacations anyway. Good for us.

Btw, if you’ve never been, and you have the capacity to do so, and you’re interested in nature, fresh air, beautiful brackish waters and rolling hills not unlike Tuscany, check out the Baltic Sea coastline of Germany or Denmark. Even though I’ve been living in Europe for a quarter century (sounds so much better than writing 25 years), this was the first time I was at the Ostsee (East Sea, as the Germans call it). I was not disappointed. It is stunningly beautiful up there–but you’ll also have to be tolerant of the rain and coinciding über wetness. When hanging out in the forests in the north, there is an uncanny feeling of the past that lingers around your every move. And not just a recent past. I kept thinking of vikings while there. Maybe even neanderthals. Cool!

The plan for this little getaway was to do all our local commuting with the bikes, including a days trip to Denmark via ferry. In fact, we didn’t use the utility van once. The ferry ride, for instance, took us across the Flensburg fjord. Once in Denmark we rode the 60KM trek back to Germany around the fjord. What a ride it was, too. More on that in a bit.

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Her Mixte with road-going Big Bens performed great, even in some pretty hairy and wet conditions.

Back to the Charger.

Would you believe, dear worst-rider, unlike other bikes I’ve owned, the Charger GX Touring still feels brand new. The Giant TCX cross racer I purchased last summer, which has around 3000KM on it, but of course only weighs 10kilos, and I don’t ride it nearly as much anymore since purchasing the Charger, feels ten years older in comparison. Riese & Mueller have made the right choices regarding parts for these robust e-bikes, including great tires, brakes, screws, bolts, etc.

Btw, I Purchased my Charger GX in mid-February and it was (finally!) delivered at the beginning of May, 2017. I suppose, for some, two-thousand kilometres in less than four months might not be a lot. But as I’ve said in previous pseudo-reviews, we actually replaced one of our two cars with this e-bike. Since I live in an urban environment, I can easily do all my shopping, chores, errands, etc., with it. In fact, I rarely ever ride it anywhere without the Ortlieb panniers. I’m never concerned about how much the bike weighs, either. My wife calls it my SUV. Although I’m not using the front rack much, when I do use it, I’m glad it’s there. Even though the rack is only rated at 3KG, I’ve carried much more than that with ease and comfort. This is, without doubt, an extremely useful and fun vehicle.

Range

I no longer look at the Bosch CX system range estimator to determine how far I can ride on a battery. Instead, I consider the amount of time I’ll be on the bike. The thing is, I’ve yet, even after rides of 80+KM, actually drained the entire 500W battery down to only one bar (out of five). If I’m off on a daily tour I consider whether or not I’m gonna be gone the whole-day or half-day and then determine whether or not to bring a charger–or, better yet, just carry my wife’s battery as a spare. I’m really surprised at how well the Bosch motor and battery work on this bike. It is very impressive!

On a recent trip to northern Germany that included a 50+-KM ride from Denmark back to Germany after a fjord crossing by ferry, I put the battery to its hardest test yet. I did a lot of trail riding, some mountain bike riding and a few long uphill road passages. Remember, fjords were cut out of cliffs during the ice ages. Lots of passages have to be ascended. Anyhow. At about 20KM left for the ride, just before re-entering Germany from Denmark, I hit a number of pretty steep hills. I actually put my bike on “eco” mode while my wife left her Mixte on “Tour” and, when necessary, “Sport”. I really thought I’d end up giving her my battery before we made it back to our bungalow. But that wasn’t the case. In the end, she made it home with only one bar (out of five) but i still came home with two bars. Wow.

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We road km after km through beach front property. Cool!

Saddle

There are not many negatives about this bike, except for the hard rear-end and the accompanying even harder Brooks saddle. So let me just say this: riding this bike is waaaaaay hard–especially if you’re off-road or you have to ride on pathways that are full of obnoxious tree root knots (which are abundant here in Düsseldorf and Köln). But get this. I love riding this bike hour after hour. The saddle and Thudbuster combination is perfect. It’s the best friggin seat I’ve ever experienced on a bike. Even though I’m up to the hardest rubber mount on the Thudbuster–and I’m still a little lost on how that thing actually works–I wouldn’t change anything on this setup. My wife’s Charger Mixte has a spring seat-post and a traditional rubber/plastic saddle. I don’t like her saddle at all (but she also hates mine). The Mixte saddle moves too much, literally shifting me backwards as the spring in the seat-post does its job. The Brooks saddle and Thudbuster, on the other hand, although not as flexible, is as comfortable as comfort can get–on a friggin e-bike! I only wish that there was more feeling from the Thudbuster.

charger gx touring brooks saddle 2

My Brooks saddle is starting to show wear. I considered it broke-in after about 1200-1500KM. My only concern about it now is that I over did it with leather treatment. I’ve erased the raw look it had when it was new. But I’m good with that. I’m curious if the leather will start to crack and, maybe, flex more now that it’s broke-in. I’m not sure I want one of them old Brooks seats that looks like it’s been through a century of riding. Even if this saddle fails because of my inexperience in caring for it, I’m buying another one toot-sweet. Learn by doing, eh. Oh. Before I forget. I’ve tightened the leather tensioning bolt on it once (one full turn) and tightened the strings on the bottom that, I guess, are supposed to prevent it from developing wings that could push on my inner thighs.

Have I mentioned how much I love this saddle?

The thing that makes the Brooks B17 the best saddle in the universe (for worst-moi) is the fact that its thick, hard, stretched leather is the perfect place for a human to place not only his/her ass but those damn seat-bones and the infamous perineum. The leather both supports and cushions and allows you to actually sit on your seat-bones. Even after three or four hours of riding I do not get the same amount of numbness as I do with conventional seats. Heck, this saddle is even better than the fancy (Selle) race bike seat with those centre cut-outs that I have on my cross-racer.

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Maintenance

There’s really nothing to report regarding up-keep of this bike. I’ve actually allowed myself to get a bit lazy lately when it comes to cleaning it. But I still regularly clean and oil the chain and derailleur. The chain gets a thorough cleaning every fourth or fifth ride and less thorough cleaning every other ride. Even if that’s overkill, I’m good with it. Other than adjusting distance of brake levers, there’s been nothing to do with the brakes. The rear disc brake does rub a bit, which prevents the rear wheel from turning freely when I’ve got the bike off the ground. I’m gonna have that looked at during the next service appointment. It looks like there’s no more room to the move the brake calliper to free up the disc.

Chain

As far as my choice of the “Touring” model of the Charger GX, i.e. the one with the chain and derailleur, I wouldn’t have my final drive any other way. Although I get a kick out of my wife’s Nunvinci hub, it just can’t compete with the efficiency and precision of this chain setup. I ran across a fellow Charger GX owner recently who has the Rohloff hub. Watching him struggle through gear shifting reassured me that a conventional chain with an excellent derailleur is the only way to go–even if you have to get your hands a bit greasy to maintain it.

rear tire 2000km
2000KM rear tire

Tires

As you can see in the pic, my rear wheel is beyond its heyday. I would say that my road to off-road riding is about 70-30. I noticed during recent mountain biking that grip isn’t as good in the rear as it once was, but it was also quite wet at times. I suppose this type of wear is to be expected for knobby tires that are mostly used on the road, which actually speaks for them. The question then becomes: what do I replace the tires with? Do I stay with knobby tires? These knobby tires do not feel like off-road tires–even on paved roads. Or do I go with more street oriented Big Ben plus tires? A bit more thought required.

Nuff for now.

Rant and ride on.

-T

 

Half Century Knee And The Slight Bump Of A Car Upon It

Got hit by van the other day. Can you believe it? The know-it-alls say that that line of distortion in the X-ray could (could!) be a tibial plateau fracture. Yea. The van hit my left knee.

Cool!

Update: It’s not a fracture. Whoopi. And get this, I get to get my first MRI so they can see whether my meniscus is damaged.

Seriously?

An MRI?

Hold on there a sec, chippy!

Between you and me, dear worst-reader, this whole health insurance coverage thingy that I’ve got over here (in Germania) that pays for all this great care is really, really over-kill. Knowing that the bone isn’t broke is enough to know that the swelling is caused by some slight meniscus damage. Ice packs, keeping leg still/braced for a couple of weeks will be the ultimate outcome with or without a corporate sponsoring MRI. But what do I know?

Rant & ride on.

-T

PS I’m too old for this $hit.

Hit By A Van Almost Down By The River And It Was Obviously My Fault. #Hooray!

hit by a van
It’s true. Behind the tall building in the background is the Rhine River.

What an exciting afternoon in good ole Germania. Have I volunteered, dear worst-reader, what I actually think about my expat host country? Well, there’s no time like the present to NOT volunteer such things. With that in mind, I was hit by a van today while riding my new über e-bike through the city. As you can see in the pic above, I was on the reddish bidirectional bike path and the van was blocking it while trying to rush into traffic. After using my bike’s bell and giving off a whistle, the female (in the pink/purple sweatshirt who was in the passenger seat) looked me right in the eye as I approached the van. Then I noticed, to my own detriment, that the driver of the van, the guy on the far right with the striped short-sleeve shirt, didn’t even bother to look both ways before entering traffic. Without very little consideration on my part–or being a bit brain dead as only I can be while riding a bike–I proceeded to continue on my route thinking (blindly hoping?) that the eye-contact I had with the passenger-chick was enough, so I proceeded to circumvent the van from his front. Obviously (obviously?) that was my error. And allow me to reiterate: The driver never looked to his right–even though he was blocking a bidirectional bike path. And so. Just as I was in front of the van the driver proceeded onto the roadway hitting me on my left knee and knocking me off my über e-bike. Fortunately I caught the fall with my right leg and didn’t body slam the road. I then limped off to the side as a young man–the thin guy with the shoulder bag and the blue jacket–came from around the corner and picked up my bike (not pictured but you can read about it here). The young man then proceeded to start asking me questions as I was dealing with the pain that the van had shoved into my left leg.

left leg hit by van
Those other scars below the current skin abrasion from today’s van are from another brain-dead bike fall last year after which I always ride with a helmet now!

“Are you a doctor,” I asked the young man.

“No. I’m a medical student,” he answered.

“Should I call the police,” I asked the young man.

“Not really sure. Don’t know if they can do anything,” the young man said.

“Aren’t you supposed to always call the police in a situation like this,” I asked.

“Not if it’s not serious,” the young man said.

“Was this situation my fault,” I asked.

By that time everyone had come together, see top pic. As soon as I uttered the word “fault” everyone, EVERYONE, Germans one n’all, answered:

JA!

eagle in van that hit me
American steel doesn’t want me dead. Yet.

And so, dear worst-reader, heed this as you bitch & moan about #Trumpism and the world of greed you have created: there are only two things that mean ANYTHING today–especially in good ole Germania. One, of course, is money. The other is The Automobile and all that that entails. And so. While traversing through Germania make sure you watch every possible way and direction from where a car/van can hit you. Because even if you are hit, it WILL be your fault. On the other hand, if you do get hit, I hope you too will be hit by a car from your home country that has an American Bald Eagle in its grill. Yeah, baby.

Rant & Ride safe.

-T

PS I’m fine. Just a bit of knee pain but I’ve got it wrapped as I worst-write this.

PSS The down by the river thing:

“You kids are probably saying to yourself, “Now, I’m gonna go out, and I’m gonna get the world by the tail and wrap it around and put it in my pocket!” Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re probably gonna find out, as you go out there, that you’re not gonna amount to jack squat!” You’re gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!” -Matt Foley SNL