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A Meandering Mind

October 29, 2009

I am quickly learning that the life of a solo cycle tourer allows for plenty of time to think. Some days my mind darts from one thing to another. On other days it seems to be a vacuum. Thanks to a friend, Claire, I have a dictaphone that helps me record my thoughts.

It wasn’t only the river that meandered yesterday. Here a few things I asked myself as I pedalled through medieval villages in the Tauber valley running south from Wertheim. Some of them are questions I ask myself daily, some are one-offs. Some I answered immediately, some really don’t matter and a few I am still trying to figure out:

1. Why do so many German pensioners live in run-down caravans?

2. When will I bump into another world cyclist on his or her own adventure?

3. Why would anyone want to own a dog that looked more like a small horse?

The medieval city of Wertheim

The medieval city of Wertheim

4. I wonder if it will be warm enough in the tent tonight to sleep without a hat and gloves?

5. What will I do when I get back to the UK?

6. How cool would it have been to be one of The Beach Boys?

7. Why does my beard look so cool in the mirror and so pathetic, ridiculous and ginger in photos?

My ginger beard

My ginger beard

8. How will my daily routine differ when I get to a warmer climate?

9. Why did the moustache go out of fashion in the UK, and yet in Germany it is still worn to such devastating effect?

10. Shall I shave off my beard to create a handlebar moustache?

11. Why do I occasionally scoff at small cultural differences instead of celebrating them?

12. What would I have achieved today if I had been at home in England?

13. Does the fact that I cycled 110kms today mean I achieved anything worthwhile?

14. If the first half of German footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger’s surname means “pig,” what does the second half mean? Surely his name isn’t Bastian Pigfarmer?

15. Shall I risk taking what looks like a sneaky short-cut?

There you have it. 15 things I spent most of yesterday considering. Let me know if you have any answers.

Thanks to Huw Downing for the picture of the school in Brussels

Thanks to Huw Downing for the picture of the school in Brussels

Today I am being kept busy with more questions, but I am also in a race against time. Two friends who live in Berlin are driving to Passau, the “Venice of the North,” to meet me for the weekend. Another, Jamie Gilmour, is coming from London on Saturday to cycle with me for two weeks. It will be great to have some company, and it’s good timing. I have a couple of cricket matches lined up in the next couple of weeks, first in Vienna and a week later in Budapest. I hope he has remembered his jock-strap, as well as a spare hat and gloves for the tent.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 8:20 pm

    Hi Oli. Good luck on your journey. Glad I subscribe at the beginning as so often I’m playing catch up on these stories from close to the end. I’m enjoying your posts.

    No answers to your questions but they did make me laugh. If you find out why run down caravans are so popular with the pensioners make sure you let us all know. I hope it doesn’t come down to economics. That would be sad.

    Munch those carbs and remember to drink lots.

  2. October 29, 2009 9:17 pm

    Ha! Your mind works like mine – all over the place! That’s nice to know. Glad to see you’re upping the miles per day even if it is hurting – I’m sure it will get better.

    love Viv x

  3. Hannah Durden permalink
    October 30, 2009 10:39 am

    It is Mouvember as of Sunday so I think you should have a different style moustache for each week of the month. If you’re in Germany no one will notice/care/laugh but it will amuse all your followers back in Blighty to see the updated style each week. Suggestions: 1.) Bill Carling (handlebar and massive sideys), 2.) the Goat 3.) freestyle 4.) Hitler

    Gosh, can you tell it’s a Friday?!

    • Charlie Blewett permalink
      October 30, 2009 4:32 pm

      …and you can enter one of those German moustache competitions…give it a little waxing, carefully shape a little curl on each end and bob’s your uncle, you’ll scoop the international all comers trophy!!

  4. Tessa S permalink
    October 30, 2009 1:45 pm

    Steiger means “supervisor” (specifically in mines), so technically, Schweinsteiger would mean “supervisor of pigs” (providing that the pig was working in a mine).
    It would also have been cool to have been one of the Beach Boys, providing you weren’t Brian Wilson.
    Have an awesome weekend! xx

  5. Ray Higginbottom permalink
    October 30, 2009 2:31 pm

    oli, back in the seventies, the golden age of long hair, beards and taches ( ask your dad and Mike about them), I asked myself the question – Why are my whiskers ginger and my hair dark brown? One for you to ponder over the next few days..

  6. Alex permalink
    October 30, 2009 3:16 pm

    I was intrigued about your comment on Bastian Schweinsteiger’s surname. With the help of google’s German-English translation page I am reliably informed that Steiger means “Overman” but i’ve no idea what that means even though I’m English! I prefer to make use of a liberal translation of the verb “steigen”, which means to climb. Therefore his surname could mean PigClimber. I’ll leave you to think about all of the connotations…

  7. October 30, 2009 10:13 pm

    Definitely a handle bar moustache mate. I am about to start mine for the charity month of Mo-vember!

  8. Nick Hillman permalink
    October 31, 2009 8:17 am

    Hi mate,

    caught you on Radio Berks yesterday, sounds like you are doing well!

    as for the questions – sneaky short-cuts are never a good option no matter what is going on!! The handlebar moustache is a great idea!! perhaps even some shaped sidies to match!! and finally that fact that you cycled 110kms in a day will always mean you have achieved something worthwhile!!

    one for you to ponder – what is actually the best type of moustache considering the pros and cons of looks, practically etc… ??

    have a great next couple of weeks and some good cricket, i have heard their quite decent over there!!

  9. Guy Rigby permalink
    November 1, 2009 9:44 am

    What it is to be young! I, too, have been thinking about a whole host of issues but unfortunately I can’t remember what they were.
    And yes, cycling 110 kilometres in a day is very worthwhile.
    Great blog. Keep them coming.

  10. Charlie Van der Gucht permalink
    November 2, 2009 11:11 am

    According to a very reliable looking website the literal translation of Bastian Scheinsteiger is,

    “God will protect the man who sleeps in a barn with the pigs”

    One to bear in mind on the road!

  11. Satie Macca permalink
    November 3, 2009 5:17 pm

    Peaness! you are amazing, going to track your progress every week! Good luck with it all xxx

  12. James Taylor permalink
    November 4, 2009 1:06 pm

    will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark?

  13. Michael Barnett permalink
    November 5, 2009 6:17 pm

    Oli, Just let your beard grow and when you get to oz get someone to measure it.
    Maybe people would consider having a bet on what the length is ( all proceeds going into the charity pot) .

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