The “commuting” bike has been attracting attention at work because it is now fitted with metal spikes on the tyres; apparently these are bit revolutionary in this region. Normally, fitting spike tyres on the bike is the best way to ensure a long spell of warm, dry weather, especially as this is the warmest part of Germany with a Mediterranean climate and is known as the “German Tuscany” in the tourist information brochures but the day after I fitted the tyres it snowed all morning, and then over lunch time it snowed, and all afternoon, then in the evening evening by way of variation it snowed a bit more.

On leaving work I discovered that the unfenced road to my village was now an adventure in improvised navigation, especially as it was still snowing, and contrary to the German stereotype of efficiency and logic the road wanders all over the rather flat landscape because apparently it was really important for everyone to experience that field just there, and also because it is theoretically a traffic free route and thus only a couple of cars had ventured along it, so I had some tyre tracks for guidance and that was it.

The snow had drifted randomly between the trees in the forest, and drivers using the route as a convenient shortcut had skidded in the slush, (spraying snow for good measure) and the mess had since frozen solid in places. Winter tyres for bikes are a marvellous invention but when the front wheel finds an interesting groove in the ice it’s going to follow, spikes or no.

The result was probably the slowest, most carefully executed and certainly ugliest cycle commute recorded in southern Germany, a form of forward motion that developed as ride, wobble, panic, dab, scoot along a bit; repeat.

Eventually this section ends at the edge of my village where the cars had broken down the snow a bit more, so I could accelerate a bit and trust the spikes to break through the snow and slush. The last couple of kilometres were merely a bit damp as opposed to white knuckle territory.

Well, if it was always a Mediterranean climate it’d be boring…