Road train

Road train

Several weeks ago beautiful wife went off on a training day somewhere and I had all three boys for a whole Saturday. On the basis that there’s nothing small boys like more than to get outside and have fun, I borrowed a bike trailer from a friend so we could go exploring. The boys leapt into the trailer, and then took some persuading to come out again so I could find the seat belts. I took this as a good omen for the journey, and set off. As soon as I did, Smallest Son started giggling. This continued for much of the journey.

A bike plus trailer is pretty long: with an Xtracycle it’s much longer, not so much because of the Xtracycle itself, but because the long arm on the trailer is intended to hook around the back wheel, but has to be attached at the extreme rear of the Xtracycle frame. The resulting rig feels like a road train and the trailer seemed impossibly distant but once I’d got used to it, we had a great time. We decided to go out to the edge of Stuttgart so that we could avoid the roads and so Eldest Son could get some experience with road riding, and also some segregated cycle lanes and crossings.

Towerblocks in the mist

Towerblocks in the mist

We made our sedate way up to the hill above the village, down the other side and past a farm, to a playground. Unfortunately this part of the cunning plan, to let the boys run about on a large playground,  went awry because the melting snow made the everything was far too soggy to play, so we carried on along the cycleway into Sillenbuch. Incidentally a local cyclist tells me that Stuttgart is considered to be anti-bike in comparison to other German cities.  I didn’t think it was that bad, but maybe after growing up in the UK my standards are too low…

Anyway, we reached the U-bahn/Metro station in Sillenbuch, where I made a grand turn rather like a carnival float, and we went back the way we came for a bit before following the U-Bahn for a couple of towns and then wiggling through the fields home, We arrived home looking thoroughly healthy, having managed ten kilometres with some climbing (which is an impressive figure from Eldest Son, who is still on his small beginners bike: I was well pleased with him). We’d also had a great time talking, chasing each other, and seen someone cutting a tree, a buzzard flying overhead, a Kestrel hunting, and numerous other free and beautiful sights you don’t get on an autobahn or in a theme park.

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