For the last three years, around the beginning of June, a small and humble town east of Cologne turns into a Mecca for vintage roadbike afficiando’s. I am not talking about l’Eroica-like scenes, but still. As a prologue for the market that is held on Sunday, the guys from Klassikerausfahrt.de organized a small tour around Rommerskirchen-Nettesheim. Alltough the route was exactly the same as last year, it felt completely different. That could also have been because of the fact that this time I didn’t use the car to get there, but (like I should have) went by bike instead. I went together with Tom – a very enthusiastic cycling friend who really knows his way around – and those 28 kilometers in 30˚Celcius were a bit more than a warm-up.
Luckily for us we had some time to rest, eat and drink something and get ourselves checked in. While we walked around a bit and all the other riders (50 plus in total I’d say) got their starting numbers, the clear blue sky turned in to a gray cloudy one. It hid the sun, but it didn’t make it any cooler. Just more humid and sticky.
At 15:15h the whole lot got moving and the first group (espresso) took off. Including me and Tom, but about a quarter in I already knew I was going to join the second and more relaxed group, the cappuccino group. I managed to keep up, but at the half way station where we were welcomed with cold watermelon (ermahgerd!), coffee, water, bread, apples, pears, and a lot more delicious stuff I decided to wait for the second group to arrive and join them. The heat and the trip from my home to Nettesheim was a bit too much I guess.
This second part of the tour was way more pleasant. I wasn’t trying to keep up all the time, but could actually enjoy the weather, the views and the route. Of course, racing down the Allrather hill going 55 km/h is fun too, but riding relaxed is more my kind of riding, I guess. Before we could drink our well deserved cold beers and have something of the grill, we first had to make it through the “Hohlweg”. A medieval narrow pass with lots of plants, loose rocks, tree roots, dirt, and other nasty stuff that 21mm tubulars do not like. But we were all warned, so in we went. Climbing our way through and at the end of this green tunnel of hell we were welcomed with an applause.
The fact that I drove my bike to the starting point meant I had to drive it back too. I wasn’t really keen on the trip back because I was tired, hungry and it was getting dark. Luckily we – Tom and me – went with two other guys who also wanted to get back to Cologne as fast as possible (Thanks Micha! Thanks Stolli!) so we joined forces. And raced down the Venloerstraße and parted ways in Sinnersdorf. At around 22:00h I was finally back at home and drove the furthest I ever went in one day: 125 kilometers in total.
Tom also wrote a little bit about the trip and made a lot more pictures too. He also drove is Bullit cargo bike to the market on Sunday! His words and pictures can be found on his blog: Kölner Radfahrer.