I’ve been a frequent commenter on Brother’s Bike Ride (hereinafter: BBR), but this is my first entry. I take it most of the readers here know who I am, but in case you don’t: I’m Brian’s son. My wife, Antje, is from Germany and I have a cyclocross bike over here. I work as a translator from German, Swedish and Danish into English and used to commute to work by bike when I lived in Brooklyn. Back then, I would ride an average of 2,500 miles a year. These days, it’s more like 100 if I’m lucky.

I spent most of Friday in my Holger’s car (Holger is my brother-in-law) trying to get to the Hamburg airport to pick up my dad and Tim. We were at least two hours late picking them up due to a traffic jam. I learned that when there’s an accident on the Autobahn, the practice in Germany is to let the police arrive and have pictures taken in order to be able to reconstruct the accident instead of moving the cars to the side of the road. I guess insurance companies are seen as more important than inconvenienced drivers? All told, I think Holger and I spent eight hours in the car on Friday.

After we dropped the guys off at their hotel (Hotel Neptun in Kuehlungsborn), I ate a little, drank some coffee and proceeded to put my dad’s bike together before we were scheduled to go to Ulrike’s and Holger’s for a barbecue. I managed to finish building the bike right before we had to pick up the guys from their hotel to take them back to Kroepelin. I felt very pleased that I was able to finish in time. His bike was actually my design and every time he’s packed it up to take it on the BBR trips, he’d come over to my house to pack it up. It was our October/February ritual.

We ate like kings at Holger’s. He has a tendency he apparently inherited from his mom of making too much food. Tim had had more than enough to eat when another large amount of chicken, steak and sausage came off the grill and was being offered again. I told Tim it would be seen as culturally insensitive if he didn’t finish everything. There’s was a split second of utter horror in his face before he fully processed that I was kidding.

The next day, we picked them up from the hotel again and brought them back to Kroepelin. I took them on my usual training circle of Kroepelin, Steffanshagen, Kuehlungsborn and tacked on Rerik for a trip of roughly 25 miles. The ride was really great and I’m glad I was able to serve as a guide for it (only got lost once!). Afterwards, we celebrated my son Neil’s birthday with family and friends (20 guests in total if my count is right). I still can’t believe he’s two years old already. We got him a firetruck and a Koala t-shirt – both were very well received. I got to video chat with my kids a few minutes ago (as of writing) and Neil proudly showed me his Koala t-shirt under his bib (his stuffed koala is his most important possession – even more than his cars!). After most of the guests had left, and especially after Antje and I put the kids to bed, I started getting really anxious about getting on our ferry. (Again, Holger to the rescue.)

I’m not sure how much time had passed once I insisted on heading to the ferry terminal. We made it in plenty of time, of course, but it felt like forever because we were driving an appropriate speed for having three bikes on a trailer off the back of the car and for taking the Autobahn the whole way instead of the shortcut through the Warnow tunnel, but at the same time: It was the Hanse Sail festival and the Autobahn made more sense. Despite having tickets for the TT Line ferry, we were told the board the Stena Line. We rode our bikes into the belly of the ferry, got on board, tried to go to our berth which they were still cleaning (badly… there were hairballs all over the floor) and found a place to sit down until we were convinced they’d be ready. Dad and I had a beer (Tim abstained as usual… he’s really not the beer drinker I thought he was. What’s up with that, Tim?)

We finished our beers in the berth. We took showers and were in bed by 12:00, I think. I got the top bunk above Tim. Both Tim and I felt like we didn’t sleep a wink, but while my dad’s snoring kept me up, my snoring apparently kept Tim up and Tim’s snoring kept my dad up, so at least we had confirmation that everybody slept a little.

I had set my alarm for 6:00 a.m., but I didn’t need to: they woke us up with an announcement about the ferry approaching the harbor right at that time anyway. We left the cabin shortly after the mandated time of 6:30 only to wait until we were allowed down to where the vehicles were.Once were were allowed down, the ferry was open and we were able to watch as they maneuvered the ferry into the harbor and lower the bridge for us to ride into Trelleborg. We were the second to leave after a motorcyclist and our trip had begun for real.