Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Flaming Knees

She-who-does-not-want-to-be-on-my-blog on the Rhine, on a previous bike trip

Were I to be murdered today and my body stripped of all identification, the police would be able to learn the following things from my corpse: given the sunburn on the back of my hands and on top of my knees, I was probably biking. Moreover, I was biking mostly in a northerly and easterly direction, given the burns on the backs of my legs (indicating directionality, much like moss on a tree trunk). Also, that I was wearing aviator-style sunglasses, my shorts went precisely to "here," my socks precisely to "there" and I evidently dropped a blob of sunscreen on the centre of my right knee, leaving that joint with an appearance not unlike a pink-frosted doughnut with a creamy centre.

All of this is the result of a 60-odd kilometer bike ride Amynah and I took with Sami the Finn. It was only supposed to be 45 km, according to the guidebook* I purchased, but we took a fifteen kilometer detour in order to have fresh baked “tarte aux quetches” (it’s like a plum) cooked by one of Amynah’s lab-mates, who was looking after her parents house in a tiny little farm village in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty good, but not 15 km of good.

Given that I had taken a 30 km bike ride the day before into Germany (past a facility that had been, at various times, a sanatorium for epileptics, to a hospital for epileptics, a death camp for epileptics and now a research centre for epilepsy). In any case, Given that it has been raining for about a month straight, we’d not been biking much for the last while, so a 90 km weekend in the blazing sun was not, perhaps, the best advised decision I’ve ever made.

Sami the Finn is up for another, more ambitious ride this coming weekend. Amynah and I might be washing each others hair.

* Even eliminating my poor French as a factor, this has to be one of the worst guidebooks I’ve ever seen. The “map” consisted of a hand-drawn loop with town names scattered on it: no landmarks, distances or sense of scale. The accompanying “directions” consisted of gems such as “cross the village and take the small road that leads to the woods.” Cross the village in which direction? Small road compared to what? How do we know it leads to the forest unless we go to the end? Does this street have a name? (“Petit rue de fôret” would be too much to ask for, I guess).

No comments: