Bike social climbing

Social climbing Xtracycle

I had a cold coming on, I’d been working all weekend and would be working all evening. It seemed a far better idea to go out and get some fresh air than to keep going all afternoon as well. So I got on my bike and randomly set off for Hohenheim, the next town.

I went out, down another Scary Hill of Doom, across the valley and back up to Hohenheim, about two kilometres and 200 vertical metres (down and up) away from our village. Hohenheim is centred around the former ‘hunting lodge’ of the Royals of Württemberg. It is now the state university for agriculture, so the house and gardens are kept in immaculate condition and have whole sections showing how the earth looked say, 100 000 years ago.

Bikes, bikes and more bikes...
A tiny fraction of the bikes in Hohenheim…

The idea was to go through Hohenheim, up to a town called Degerloch, round the end of the valley I’d just crossed and back through the forest and home. I had just over an hour before I had to pick Middle Son up from kindergarten. No worries.

Hohenheim is a student town. And where you get students, you get bicycles. I hadn’t thought of that, but there they were: I saw more bikes in three minutes in Hohenheim than I would in a week at home. It was like I’d accidentally arrived in Copenhagen. I rolled down the main avenue, availed myself of the sort of bike path we can only dream of in Ostfildern and then realised I’d been so busy admiring the facilities I’d missed my turning. By the time I’d regained my route (Naturally it was uphill) I was getting tired and a bit concerned about the time, so I resisted the temptation to take pictures and pushed a bit harder in the direction of Degerloch.

Another Scary Hill of Doom
Another Scary Hill of Doom

Of course the thing about riding alongside a valley is that it’s not as flat as you think: rivers have tributaries and here, they are steep sided, like the one I had to cross now. Going downhill was fun, but the endless 15% climb the other side wasn’t, and worse still, I was losing time- only 30 minutes to go and I was less than half way around. Probably not the best moment to stop and take a picture on reflection. Ah, well…

The road to Degerloch dates from the time when the royal family needed a direct route from the palace in the city to the lodge at Hohenheim and it’s as straight as an arrow so I made better progress. I turned to cross the head of the valley with 20 minutes and mostly downhill to go, ran back through the forest and along a (mostly) excellent bike path to reach a Feldweg to our village, crossed yet another valley with the clock showing five minutes to pick-up time, and rolled into the village at a speed which would probably get me thrown out of the slow bicycle movement and narrowly missed a kerb while racing a couple of residential roads to the Kindergarten, only to discover I was the first person there. My watch was several minutes fast. Still, I was breathing easily, if a little rapidly, and thinking more clearly than I had all day.

I was thinking I need to allow longer next time.

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