June Challenge: A bike for all seasons

We moved from Munich to Gauting one year ago and have now experienced all four seasons in our new surroundings. Here are some pictures from our local rides in different months and now.

Sheep on one of our standard loops – February 2020
On one of our rides the sheep were gone – then the next day we saw the reason why. They were getting a hair cut. Poor thing doesn’t look happy at all! June 2020
The fields between Pentenried and Frohnloh prepared for planting – April 2020
The countryside with a new look – June 2020
A chapel we pass on our rides through the woods – March 2020
Same chapel taken from a different angle – June 2020

Now a before-and-after story:

In March I bought a new bike. A while back Em asked how I was doing with the new bike. I think I can answer the question now.

I soon noticed that the gearing wasn’t good for me. Even the best e-support has limits if the low gears aren’t low enough. I was very upset for not being better informed about the gearing ratios and stuff, and the fact that the guy in the bike shop didn’t advise me well didn’t help. It was fine for local biking with minor or short climbs, but I knew I would have problems touring with panniers and in hillier terrain. I was really kicking myself and wishing I had my old bike back, even if I couldn’t get my leg over the top tube.

Then Janos had a bright idea. Maybe a smaller front chain ring would help. We went back to the bike shop and explained the problem. “With that bike you should be able to ride up Mont Blanc,” was the reply I got. But they were obliging and installed the smaller chain ring.

Yes, it helped, it helped a lot and once I got used to the gears, which are farther apart than on my previous bike, I was again happy with my choice.

Then unexpectedly things got even better. My cardiologist put me on a new medication… and wow. Unless my daily rides got me a lot fitter all of a sudden in two weeks, the new med must be responsible. I am not laboring up the hills in the lowest gear, not gasping to catch my breath, really feeling much stronger. I am amazed. So that’s what it feels like when you get enough oxygen! I have an appointment with my cardiologist next week for a follow-up EKG. Let’s see what he says. Whatever the reason, I am feeling pretty good! And I am still glad I got the smaller chain ring.

Kilometers on my previous bike shortly before I sold it – March 2020
Kilometers on the new bike – June 2020

I'm a US born ex-pat, having lived most of my adult life in Munich, Germany. Cycling and photography are my favorite things.

9 response to "June Challenge: A bike for all seasons"

  1. By: Rocky Posted: June 12, 2020

    You live in a beautiful area! That great news about that the smaller chain ring helped. I needed to do the same thing with my survey that I use locally. Even better news about your new meds!

  2. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: June 12, 2020

    You just know when the gearing is right, don’t you. No-one else can tell you because it’s between you, your legs, lungs and the bike. I’ve noticed how riders who travel long distances without difficulty imagine someone with less power can do what they do!

    Good luck with the medications too. May the benefits of the change be long lasting.

  3. By: Scooter Posted: June 12, 2020

    Good news about the gearing of course, but it’s really great news about your response to your new medications. Breathing is really important!

  4. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 12, 2020

    Good to hear the gearing issues are pretty much resolved.
    Enjoyed the photos — especially the field. Amazing how quickly they turn green.
    Glad the new meds are working well for you.

  5. By: Bill Stone Posted: June 12, 2020

    “My cardiologist put me on a new medication… and wow.”

    Suzanne, can you please let me know the exact name of this medication? Both the brand name and generic name would be really great. Any chance a side-effect of hair regrowth? Anyway, if you have any to spare, maybe you could mail me some. Thanks.

    • By: Suzanne Posted: June 14, 2020

      Not sure you need hair regrowth, or more oxygen either, Bill! It’s called Verapamil, also Calan, has an antiarrhythmic effect (the reason I am taking it), relaxes the blood vessels and is also used for high blood pressure.

  6. By: gregblood Posted: June 13, 2020

    I always feel so bad for freshly shorn sheep. They look like they’re cold, and it just isn’t fair. But I’d rather see a shorn sheep than the kind of haircuts people give poodles in which they cut most of the fur extremely short except for the big puffs of fur on the feet, head, and tail. To me, that just looks terrible.

    Oh yes, nice before and after pictures too.

  7. By: NancyG Posted: June 13, 2020

    I love those seasonal comparison photos. What a difference months or weeks can make. Nice idea for photos of places you often ride. I may borrow (steal?) this idea for myself. ;’-)

    So pleased that your bike is now doing what you want it to do, AND that the new med is such an improvement for you.

  8. By: The Navigator Posted: June 14, 2020

    Those are excellent now and then shots! So happy you’ve got the bike sorted so that it is right for YOU. And it is wonderful to have a new lease on life with the new meds. I empathise with the breathlessness, as last year the bacterial infection was killing red blood cells faster than my body could make them. I had severe hemolytic anemia for a bit (before anyone could figure out why), and that lack of oxygen was so debilitating. Do a bit of an activity, sit down and rest, do a bit more, sit down and rest. I’m so happy for you that you are feeling so much better!

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