Last week I needed to get a can of spray paint to make the Ugly Bike acceptable in civilised society. This would mean going to the art wholesalers, so I planned a route to follow after work.

Then my colleague turned up on his carbon hardtail looking for tools to adjust something technical, so I suggested we could ride to the art shop together as he was planning to ride in that direction anyway. As my bike was at a tram stop at the edge of the city we agreed to meet there after work.

He then cycled up the hill to the tram stop, a cool 200m climb. On 2 bar knobbly tyres.

I caught the tram up the hill, and we rode through the inner suburbs which were apparently designed and built at great expense to make everyone feel grateful for living somewhere else, before reaching fields and a short climb to a thoroughly ugly but mercifully small industrial estate, then more fields to another industrial estate where the Most Dangerous Shop In the World is located.

I was very disciplined and only came out with the spray can I went in for. Honest.

Now rattling nicely on bumps, we went back towards Stuttgart and found the traffic free road back around the exhibition centre. The cycleway through the exhibition centre is apparently needed for more important things like parking diggers. Of course they didn’t actually tell us this in advance, just put a fence across it.

Fine, we will take our bikes and lack of spending money elsewhere.

We zigzagged through pretty villages and along the valley that leads to my village, then zigzagged again to avoid the Scary Hill Of Doom up and out of the valley, and rolled back down to my apartment, where my colleague filled his water bottles, and I forced him to do a test ride on the Bakfiets before letting him continue.

He was slightly late for work the next day. I think I may have tired him out a bit…