It’s a perfect morning, one of those crisp autumn days where the leaves are just beginning to turn golden brown. After a bracing ride uphill along a busy road we pull off into a quieter street and squeeze between the expensive cars on the ‘no parking’ section in front of the Kindergarten entrance. I take Middle Son to the door and wave goodbye as I leave. The mist clears as I climb through the slowly waking village to the crash of the Xtracycle gears changing at random intervals -I really must adjust the barrel twister- and after a dirty look from a driver in a BMW for daring to be on the section of tarmac he was planning to use as a short cut, I cross the main road. There’s not much traffic yet, so I can get across fairly quickly and follow a leaf-strewn shared use path under dark clouds, and a bright sunrise from the east turning every bit of moisture into silver. On the main road alongside, Audi and Mercedes sports cars barrel past at daunting speeds, drivers hunched over the wheel, talking on their mobile or drinking coffee, trying to shave those vital seconds off the morning commute, apparently oblivious to the fact that the supply of dinosaur remains they’re burning up is rapidly dwindling.
A few metres further on, and I come to a tall pine standing alongside the road. From here I can see close to a thousand square kilometres, to a long section of hills in the distance which mark the edge of the Rhine/Danube watershed and contain several castles so impossibly fairytale like that they would be world famous in a country less liberally endowed with buildings with pointy bits. Between me and them slight wisps of cloud linger in a valley containing Tübingen, centre of learning in Germany for hundreds of years and Metzingen, started by a group of  Celts before records began. If you ignore an unfortunately sighted block of flats, its perfect, and I get to see it every morning in the company of a couple of other cyclists and some dog walkers.
The road here is made of concrete slabs which give a gentle ‘ker-chug, ker-chug’ sound for a few hundred metres down the hill. As I pass a barn I flush a bird of prey -either a hobby or a peregrine- which flies alongside me for a few seconds before vanishing south.
The village is in sight as I pass two apple trees standing tall in the recently harvested fields. After a brief but exciting slalom through some apples that fell in the night, I join an arrow-straight road downhill into the village, past the house of the local sculptor who displays his stonework on the grass verge for people to enjoy, through the play street, and into the middle of the village with its 400 year old wooden framed houses glowing in the sun.
I park the Xtracycle under a canopy so it’s safe from any rain that may decide to fall, and go inside to work, with two thoughts in my mind. Firstly: I really should whine less about living in an ‘urban’ area, and secondly: why do perfect days like this only happen when I forget my camera?

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