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This week life intervened in a rather frustrating manner, so rather than sit around making the family depressed I spontaneously got on the new bike to see if I couldn’t get my head straight.

I decided this would require more than a quick pootle around the fields and set off for one of my favourite loops, along a valley known as the Siebenmühlental, back down the Neckar valley and over the hills to our village. I also decided to try a new route in the hills.

This would either mean I got around a hill or would give me some new scenery to look at as I winched my way by.

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I took a new route for this ride and stopped to read the information on this monument by the side of the road. It commemorates one Walther von Horwe, knight from the middle ages who accidentally killed his own son while hunting, and as penance went on a pilgrimage to Rome. Clearly finding this wasn’t enough to show his remorse he resolved to carry a wooden cross on the journey.

The pillar commemorates the point where he collapsed under the weight.

Continuing from this cheery monument, I wiggled through some of the outer suburbs of Stuttgart and on to the Siebenmühlental cycleway.

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Which it turns out is just as lovely in the early evening as at silly o’clock in the morning.

 

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Having navigated the low pass into the Neckar valley:

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…I nearly missed the turning for the bridge over the river. I need a bit more practice braking with drop bar brakes.

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I’ve never cycled here in the evening before, which meant that for the first time the sun was in the right place for taking photographs. This proved to be a big distraction…

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Church of St Laurentius in Nürtingen

Past Nürtingen I turned out of the valley and into the ‘rolling hills’ between there and our village. I know the route here well having cycled it at least once a week when commuting to college some years ago, but today I decided I needed a bit more distance and legwork to work off the emotions from earlier, so I went exploring…

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Sunsets: the mediocre photographers best friend.

I thought I’d be clever and get all the climbing done at once, so rode up to the ridge before turning towards the forest. This resulted in my following a track that petered out into nothingness. After asking a friendly dog walker for directions, I ended up going back down the hill…

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And having gone around three sides of a square, I went back up along the track I should have followed in the first place…

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By now the light was fading so I braved the trolls and other forest creatures, and after apparently making a few oncoming cyclists nervous (they had been wondering why a light was apparently floating through the trees at waist height) reached another town, from which there is a bridge over the valley to our side.

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Not this bridge. It was a bigger one, but this is prettier.

By the time I was back on our side of the river, the moon had risen:

 

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Thank goodness for hub dynamos.

Approaching the village, 60k riding and what turns out to be a lot more climbing than on the normal route.

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The bike is riding well, although the headset is a bit funky, and I really need to work on that handlebar tape…