where I was when: 26 September 1982

On September 26, 1982, I went on 110km bike ride (not a race) in Gartringen, Germany with the local bike club (RV = "Radverein" Rad, bike, + verein, association). I know this because at the end of this event I received the small pewter plate above with the date... and the plate now hangs in my kitchen.

I lived in Germany for all four years of high school and two consequences of this were a) that I didn't get a drivers license (let alone a car) until my junior year of college b) In high school, I took a bike everywhere, or public transportation...

These influences are still with me today. The not having a car in high school experience meant that I missed out on the whole adolescent car=freedom thing. In my mind, cars=expense & aggravation. I think people should feel guilty about driving: So many bad things come from the car culture. Pollution sprawl & money for fanatics in Middle East just to name a few. I would find it really interesting to live in a real urban area where cars are just a nuisance and living without one is more easily possible.

But now I live about 8.5 (mostly uphill) miles from my job and am thought eccentric because I persist in riding my bike to work even though it takes a pretty big commitment and a certain fatalistic acceptance of the possibility of getting clipped by a vehicle... it is a busy road, and people drive way too fast and aggressively.

And I have to say that when I was in high school I went for some really impressively long rides by myself in a foreign country and I would bring a small amount of money (like 10-20 DM -- these were pre-Euro days) and I don't recall that my parents ever particularly batted an eye... 'come back whenever'. They had their own circumstances to deal with I guess.

I also remember that once I got it into my head to ride from Gartringen (west of Stuttgart) through the Black Forest to the Rhine River (ie, the French border) & back in one day. Those were the days... now with the Internet it is possible to look up housing possibilities online and it would be quite interesting to go back with a bike, stay in an inexpensive guesthouse, and ride on some of the same roads again.


Kooliegoolinda said...

While you were biking around Germany, I was probubly being weaned - which makes me smile. Anyway - Just wanted to let you know that I think your habit of biking, and the story behind it is good, and interesting. I feel the same way about television - I grew up with out one, and have to say I think that they are a digusting waste of time that spatters my brain with usless information. I don't have one to this day.
Also - your pic with the Rolls is a great shot!

Jeff said...

Thanks for your comments! I am always surprised when someone reads what I write here. Come back sometime...

cara26 said...

I actually lived in Gartringen in '83 and '84. I went to high school at Patch American High School. What school did you go to? Was it German or American? I spent 7 years total in Europe (5 years in Belgium).
Also while you were in Gartringen, cycling, I was celebrating my 14th birthday on September 26th, 1982!!!

jgauthier said...

cara26, I graduated from PHS in May 1983. Maybe we rode the bus together? I also had a sister, Kim, who was two years behind me... Those were the days. My family was not affiated with the military, my dad worked for IBM, we paid tuition to attend DOD schools. There is an email link on my profile if you have further questions... PHS has a website still!

Did you ever take English from Mr. Brunner & Mr. Minette? I have an English degree from a fancy liberal arts college but I still remember some of their lectures (particularly on the Old Testament -- Job!).