Just an update...

I have been living in Germany
for most of the last year.

I live in the Northern Lowlands
about 25 Klicks from Belgium or
Holland in two different directions.

Life here without a car is entirely
doable... My first car is a TREK bike
with front basket, two panniers and 27 gears.
My second car is a brand new Mercedes City
Bus that takes me where ever I want or
need to go... then of course, the Zügen hier
are the best too...

I do all our shopping with a front basket and
two paniers made of heavy cloth, lined I might
add with cardboard fruit crates to keep the cloth
from entangling my rear wheels. Girlfriend is so
thrifty she will not allow me to buy REAL ONES, but
I am getting into living like a pauper too. A skill that
may soon be quite necessary.

There are no real hills here, so even loaded like a donkey
I can circumnavigate the town in 2.5 hours hitting
two or three or more shops for bargain items, and get
home without being completely worn out.

Forests surround the edge of all these cities here...
In 25 minutes I can be in dense forest that was
fought over by the Romans, Gauls, Saxons, Germans,
Dutch and allied forces in WW1 and 2. All these forests
have servicable bike and foot trails that one can spend
hours, days or weeks wandering around in. History here
does not date merely to the American celebration of
the exinction of the American Indian. It goes back
250,000 years to the beginnings of the Neanderthal man.
And the relics from all these times... including more castles
in this area than anywhere else in the world, old Water and Wind
Mills, Roman artifact museums, Art museums and more... make this
a fascinating place to live. I am doing my best to learn the language...

I don't drink alcohol. So the great beer hier ist not of interest.
The German brown bread, Bratwurst and fresh fruits from Italy,
Greece, Spain, Israel and South Africa, as well as the cheap high
quality meat and poultry make meals around here fun and sustainable.

But to be clear, and stay on topic. It can all be done by Bike, everyday
of the week all year long. I am even gearing up for the Winter, and my
Mountain Bike style setup will allow quick trips out to the market between
storms too.

For Recumbent Bike Fans... they have many of those here too... older people
mostly ride them that I have seen. They are called LiegerRäder Lying back bicycles... And most of the LiegerRad are lower to the ground and shorter than
the US counterparts, most, with only 16 inch wheels with thin width tires. And you can get them on a Bus too, in the Center section for a couple of extra bucks...

With luck and proper planning I get to spend the rest of my
life here with a woman I love dearly who also likes to get out
and see the world via bus, train and foot (and once in a while on
a bike although sadly she is not well suited to more than 5 kilometers...)
At some point the money is going to run out but we have a house here that
is paid for, with a bus line right out side the door. And even Junker bikes are
available around here at a cheap price if it ever comes to that...

It damn near killed me to think this far outside the box... and dangers abound
that could crush me like a bug... but for one of the first times in my life I am starting to enjoy life in a way I imagine most people do everyday...

Ned Goudy, 58
Maas-Rheinland, Deutschland