The average life expectancy of a washing machine is ten years and if excessively clunking noisily or if your machine gives off a fugue then it’s probably telling you the end is nigh.
Washing Machine Blues
If you live a clean life, you may push a machine beyond the average, but for a cyclist especially when mad for cyclo cross, gravel or MTB trails then the heady mix of winter cold (snow!), wet, mud and storm damage will collude to wage a war of attrition on your washing machine and your bike.
I can at times find it hard to keep motivated in the winter and therefore I can be reluctant to venture outside for anything but a gluhwein. I also like to stay close to home riding a well-known route allowing me to bail out in case the weather might turn adversely against me.
The reason for my seasonal trepidation is because the wild green trails can be more like swamps/bogs during autumn and winter where sometimes a pair of flippers, a snorkel plus a wet suit might come in handy.
My intention is to keep riding and not to indoor pedal, because I stopped that nonsense when I gave up racing. If the weather gets very bad, then I take a rest and mutter loudly asking who broke the weather?…
I won´t be abandoning the gravel in the months to come and I will still venture out to revel in the muck and then wearily when at home, I will clean my myself and cycling clothes in addition to bringing my bike back to life with a soapy sponge (that also includes me). I simply won´t be riding gravel as much as I might like, but I have a plan.
I will mix riding on the road and potentially mucky gravel trails with tours of the local concrete and asphalt/tarmac routes that connect farmers’ fields and small villages in the Göttingen area (and seemingly across continental Europe). The latter option should help to satisfy to a degree my inner graveleur when the gravel might be best to prudently avoid during very wet phases.
Carpet of detritus
Like a cheap pub carpet, although not so sticky, a smooth asphalt farm road can be hidden under a layer of detritus
The farm roads are anything but smooth and a challenge in themselves. The pitfalls of riding them include mud running off from the fields creating an ice like surface and the clods of mud thrown up by tractor tyres come in a variety of sizes which can hammer your front wheel away. Nor should we forget that sections are often not well-maintained or become damaged by farm machinery meaning deep potholes can lurk out of sight.
In their favour is that they are less likely to be waterlogged or swamp like. The three sections of gravel on this ride seemed well drained and are short in length.
Add rain to make slippery
Some of these farm roads I know and feature on both the Gö Strade Bianche and All Along the Watchtower rides I have created, but now I want to avoid those sections which lead onto extremely muddy gravel. My intention is to link the asphalt, tarmac, or concrete (Betonweg) farm roads together (I began my first scout on November 1, 2021).
I note that at times designated cycle paths in Germany can begin on smooth as silk asphalt only to suddenly turn into dirt or gravel.
I am hopeful that with tender loving care; I, my bike, and my washing machine will survive the winter. If the washing doesn’t make it, I could always recycle parts into a record-breaking bike ala Graeme Obree.
The Ride – 61km
The ride includes two sections of mild cobbles at Obernejsa and at Friedland with the majority of the roads covered being farming made up of concrete and asphalt. In addition I rode cycle paths and the minority of kilometres are open public roads.
I headed out to Sieboldhausen which is visited four times to ride a figure of eight that includes one passage via Lemshausen plus Volkerode twice from differing directions although upon the same roads. I then weaved through Obernejsa (where there is a baker) onto Klein Schneen again on a mix of farm roads and cycle paths to Friedland, followed by Groß Schneen (another baker is here) before we head back to Gö via Ballenhausen and the Wendebachstausee where it is too cold for a swim….
I have ridden many of the farm roads on my road bike succesfully although at times I did need to clear mud and debris from around the rim brakes and the close clearance frame etc., for this ride I was on my CX/Gravel machine.
Garmin Connect: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/7818977418
Scouting Ride 1 – November 11, 2021.