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DAY 16

DATE: 22:07:2010
Pullman with pedals
Here's the interesting meeting of the camp of last evening: a 5-seater pullman-tandem, on which a family probably Anglo-Saxon is traveling. They have the classic bike bags and a two-wheel trailer and bring everything needed for two giant tents, kitchen included. The afternoon before the father carefully controlled chain and gears. The morning they leave after us but they easily surpass us greeting with 'Buongiorno': their cruising speed in the plain is between 35 and 40 km/h!

I am trying to reach them but it is not easy; snap a few photos from afar and then lose them. It is a sign that, in tandems, the more places there are the more efficiency increases in terms of fast speed. It was not in fact a team of professionals, there were two normal-bodied parents with three children aged 14 down. The formation was: father at the controls, steering and brakes; mother in second place; children follow, in strict order of height: to the third is assigned the map on the handlebars, while the last has the gearshift. Communications via interphone. Everything perfect therefore?

Not exactly. A vehicle so long - at least 10 meters including trailer - needs a lot of space for curves. The pilot has a great responsibility: If the steering is turned too much, some knee behind may ends up against the wall bordering the cycle path. And curves are there... even if they aren't exactly like the hairpin curves of the mountain. Another problem: how do car behave if the cycle-pullman goes on ordinary roads? Do they easily surpass it, or risk to close it because of its inordinate length? And trucks, lorries? From the top of the cockpit do they well perceive the dimensions of this beast?

After that pedal pullman has surpassed us smoothly, we find them looking at the view from a pitch. We do not stop and go on, but soon a shudder run through me. A car with the 'Medical emergency' writing goes with extreme speed and sirens against our direction, that means it goes to the place where we saw the cycle-pullman for the last time. Then it is followed by an ambulance, and then by another one. I think the worst, and I tremble for that family. I hope nothing serious happened... although I know that to someone, over there, something serious has surely happened. This is life, and we go on... I would suggest: trying to learn from experience.

The Rhein-Radweg route is now a highway for bikes on which you travel expeditiously; bend after bend, you feel Europe - indeed, the World - which runs beneath the wheels. The atmosphere is charming and attractive to Koblenz. Here is to suggest the Brustolon ice-cream shop, which I had known two years ago and is confirmed as one of the tastiest ice-cream shops I've ever tasted. His plate of spaghetti with fresh fruit is the best Lunch of the Cyclist you can imagine: you feel immediately energy and freshness, and you can leave without siestas.

After Koblenz industrial areas return. There is also a nuclear power plant, but from its exhaust chimney no vapour comes out: I suppose it is closed because it was so also two years ago. Therefore why not dismantle it? Maybe they can't...

We arrive at Remagen, at the same camping of the trip of two years ago (when I had taken precisely the Mainz-Remagen-Bonn path). Dinner in the same pizzeria of the other trip, which however this time proves a disappointment. For dessert we move to the nearby ice-cream shop of lungoreno: here the owner is very friendly with our enterprise and gives to all us something to drink. I ask an orange juice and taste it with great happiness.

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