Beautiful wife has been making some comments about fitness, specifically mine, and at the same time eldest Son has been looking at the pictures I’ve taken on day tours and decided he wants to do some exploring himself. So I suggested we go on a long tour together. It’s a tough life.

We decided to go follow a cycle route along the Siebenmühlental (‘Valley of the Seven Mills’). This former railway line is a popular bike and walking route, so much so that it can get a bit crowded, but for its 20km length it descends gently. My cunning plan was that Eldest Son could get into his stride before anything more challenging turned up.

To cross tha main Autobahn to the south of Stuttgart we have to go through this massive car park on the edge of Stuttgart’s airport and exhibition centre complex. According to Wikipedia the construction cost 73 million euro, and has 4200 parking spaces.  It ‘s always been empty when I went through it, which makes it a mighty expensive bike bridge.

A few kilometres later and we reached the top of the valley and the cycle way.

I was just thinking how this looked like some remote valley on the edge of the Alps, when a plane appeared about 50m above the trees on the final approach to the airport.

Autobahn bridge crossing at the other end of the valley, just before we left the railway and turned to follow the Aich river. We follow rivers because it’s easier than climbing hills all the time.

Eldest Son wanted to have lunch as close to the river as possible. Brooks saddle is getting more comfortable, slowly.

Afternoon riding towards Nürtingen. The cycle lane was less than perfect and at one point asked us to get of and push our bikes over a bridge, but at least we weren’t dodging cars on that road. (we ignored the sign too, rebels that we are)

I’d promised Eldest Son a 60k ride, so when it became obvious the planned route would only be 50, we decided to go a bit further.  This is the old over the Neckar at a town called Wendlingen. Fortunately it’s now exclusively for bikes and pedestrians.

Cycleway in foreground, Autobahn on three levels in the background taking up most of valley. Am I the only person who thinks this is crazy?

I was a bit concerned about Eldest Son at this point because he’s covered 50k and still had at least 10k to go, including the worst of the climbing: unless you drive up a cliff on a ride, you always get the worst climbs on the edge of Ostfildern. I don’t know why I worried though, because Eldest Son paced me easily and even pulled ahead in some places. That was just the heavy Xtracycle holding me back, of course, not age or lack of fitness.

Final score according to bike computer in aging hand. Eldest son showed no sign of stiffness and has been seen looking at maps for new places to explore. I have a feeling we’ll be riding again soon.