Now that the tour comes to its final showdown – Doomsday is only 6 cycling days away, it is time to talk about my long time trustful and strong friend and companion ‘Mrs. Wiggley’, who was with me through pain and joy though out the many cycling years. ‘Who am I talking about?’, you may ask. Sure, my bicycle – I lately call ‘her’ Mrs. Wiggley because of the wiggling and wagging movements she developed over time when I ‘ride her’. Together we are ‘Mr. and Mrs. Wiggley’ – as baptized by fellow cyclist Jos – and you can recognize us from far away as there is no other ‘couple’ displaying the ‘wagging tail’ all day long, making you think we enjoy every single inch and peddle stroke of the tour when we ride together. Do we like it, even on very hard, cold, wet and dirty days? Yes, to some extend we do, because you need to enjoy cycling if you voluntarily do these kind of tours and ‘hardship’.
Our relationship started in late 2007, when I bought ‘her’ to do the Tour d’Afrique with me and completed the first kilometers in Cairo. We are now almost 5 years together – not that we share home and bed (although at some places she is allowed to sleep over in my room, when there is no secure bicycle park) – but we shared many hours and kilometers together on the road. In total it is more than 40000km or more than 3000 hours of cycling together. We have been 2 times to Africa and now to Central America for the Doomsday Ride. Besides these epic multi week/month tours, we cycled thousands of kilometers in Germany on weekend trips and to bring me to work and patiently waiting for me to get me back home again. Together we have double the miles on bicycle then on my fancy TT Roadster, in the same timeframe.
I must admit I haven’t always treated you well . Often you were just ‘dumped’ in the dark bicycle cellar after using you, dirty and wet as you were and not cleaned or maintained for many weeks. But you almost never failed on me. If so, then just to give me a hint to better watch your signals to be more safe and prepared when we go on the road. So we always found our way back home, even if only walking and pushing.
During the long tours I always tried and happily succeeded to lose weight to relieve you from unnecessary load, as I packed you with a lot of extras during the days.
We have been though the roughest, hottest, highest and most beautiful parts of Africa and Central America together. Whenever I couldn’t help you personally we could visit the ‘bike clinic’ and consult our tour mechanics Luke and Paul to gently lay hands on you and help us out of our miseries, to get fit again for the next stages. I am confident, that we will both master the final 6 days and 630km of cycling to arrive in 1 piece at the Lamanai Temple in Belize on December 21st.
Now, after 5 years of good and reliable partnership and often hard ‘riding’, I promised my ‘Mrs. Wiggley’ that ‘she’ may retire after returning from this tour. Her links and joints developed a kind of ‘arthritis’ that may not be fully cured anymore, leaving her in pain with every peddle stroke. This said: ‘No more long distance flights in dark cardboard boxes! No more long days on the road’. I will probably ‘frame the frame’ and give it a well deserved display in my apartment.