Ebern cycling club: the bike is a loyal companion

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The members of the ebern cycling club are all enthusiastic racing cyclists between the ages of 26 and 78. And the club has a long tradition: it was founded in 1895 by official order, and then, like many clubs in the turmoil of the war years, it went into hiatus. The enthusiastic cyclists have existed in their present form since 1999.

Frank hoff was the one who reactivated the club in 1999, gathered cycling enthusiasts around him and led the cycling club until 2004. During this time, in addition to rides, there were regular meetings at the stammtisch. "After 2004 the cycling club was integrated as a department in the TV ebern. Anyone who had a desire to race could become a member", says bernhard schmidt.

Harald barth, wolfgang barth, rainer haseloff, frank hoff, bernhard schmidt and mario siegel were the "founders" so to speak of the current cycling club. It is not a registered association, but in addition to its departmental affiliation with TV ebern, it also belongs to the ebern sports and cultural association. Currently 41 members are active. Bernhard schmidt acts as department head, mario siegel as his deputy.

Hambach and itzgrund

It's saturday afternoon. Little by little, six athletes in club jerseys arrive at their meeting point in the parking lot of the aktivmarkt at the "strasser kreisel in ebern a. Strass in the austrian zillertal, the godfather town of ebern, was already a destination of the ebern cyclists.

On this saturday some spontaneously met for a short tour. "This works mostly via whatsapp", explains maik werner. A tour over the hambach and along the itzgrund is planned. After a short discussion, the club starts pedaling.

The journey starts in the direction of untermerzbach at a speed that is nothing short of astonishing. The two seniors are josef gebhardt from ebern and rainer haseloff from rentweinsdorf. "We are 78 years old, whereas gebhardt is three months older", says haseloff. He was forced to ride a bike when he went to school at the age of 14. "I had a school trip of 15 kilometers. Since one was happy to have a wire donkey", he says.

Into the "race haseloff started in 1978 and has since then kept records of his tours and routes on the computer. "Over the past 15 years, I have ridden an average of about 11,000 kilometers a year. 165,000 kilometers added up." Of course it did not always go without injuries. Several crashes, mostly due to black ice or leaves, have been recorded. "My worst injury was a pelvic fracture", he says, and smiles: "now, at my age, the mountains are getting higher and the kilometers longer and longer."

The cyclists have meanwhile arrived at hambach, between ebern and untermerzbach, a popular winding route for motorcyclists. This is maik werner, peter schauer, norbert arndt, stephan elflein, jurgen janicek and michael lang. It is impressive with what speed and lateral position they take the curves and roar in the direction of untermerzbach.

Every first friday of the month the cyclists meet in their clubhouse "at peppo's" in sandhof. "Last time it was not possible because of corona", says schmidt. Norbert arndt from eyrichshof will also be taking part in the bike tour on saturday. At 57, he will be the oldest member of the six-strong group on that day. He has been cycling for ten years. "Hobbymabig i ride about 2500 kilometers a year, with my mountainbike another 1500 kilometers or so."

Which joint ventures stand out? "We had a training camp for ten days in mallorca. In the spring we have a cycling week in sudtirol or karnten, where we tackle several passes like the stilfser joch, the karer- and mendelpass, the penser joch, the jaufenpass and the timmelsjoch", explains bernhard schmidt. From the 27th. June the cyclists take part in a bavarian tour.

The racing cyclists have a uniform appearance thanks to their jerseys. Who has the most expensive bike, the head of the department can't even say. "Our members have mainly carbon bikes with high-quality components, the prices are beyond 3000 euros and are open to the top", so schmidt.

And what should you look for when buying a racing bike?? "The important thing is what you want to use it for. Care must be taken to use the right coarse. In any case, a test ride should be arranged", according to bernhard schmidt. He also considers it important to keep an eye on service, which is why the bike shop should be nearby. "The best place to go is the nearby suppliers."

How many kilometers each rider rides in a year depends on his or her personal condition. Whoever has the most kilometers "under his belt" says he could not say. Some have ridden beyond 15 000 kilometers.

One such person is maik werner from ebern, who has been riding a road bike for eleven years. "This year I think I will reach the mark of 20 000 kilometers", he says. His current bike he has since 2016. And had to dig deep into the pocket - 4500 euro.

On tours, he says, there are sometimes technical problems such as flat tires, broken spokes or torn pedals. Even crashes can't be ruled out. Schmidt complains about the lack of understanding of some drivers who overtake at too short a safety distance, which must be 1.5 meters.

It's nice to get in touch with like-minded people on some tours. "It's a great feeling to talk about rides, technique and bike specific topics", says schmidt. Cycling is not just about getting on the bike and pedaling, he adds. It is necessary to understand what is going on in the body and, through training, to be able to estimate what one can expect of oneself. Stephan elflein says: "the calf and thigh muscles are particularly important."

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