Or possibly “How not to organise a bike tour”.

Over a decade ago, your correspondent went to Amsterdam with a couple of friends and bought a bike, with the plan of riding it back to Stuttgart. We eventually had to catch a train for various reasons, but ever since then two of us wanted to repeat the journey, or at least complete the section we couldn’t manage previously, and we’d decided that this year was going to be the year.

Mind you, we’d said that last year too. And the year before that. ‘Something’ had always got in the way. That ‘Something’ had always seemed important at the time, although we could never remember what it had been afterwards.

So this year we decided that any ride was better than nothing, which is why the planned five person, week long epic became a short overnight mini tour with myself, the Middle Son, and a friend who was on the first tour with me and who from now on will be known as The Godfather, because he is.

With the shenanigans involved with organising even this modest expedition, it’s probably good that we didn’t try anything more ambitious. Case in point, on the day before we started I had to go back to my “work” apartment for various employment related reasons, which is why at silly o’clock in the morning I was not packing with everyone else, but sat on a station on the wrong side of the Black Forest, waiting for a train which I was assured would take me to the town of Villingen-Schwenningen, where I’d meet the others. Hopefully.

Villingen-Schwenningen is made of two towns a few km apart. I spent a happy half hour trundling around Villingen, a town which would be famous anywhere but Germany for its old city, and then set off over the hill to its neighbour, Schweningen, where to my frank astonishment, we were able to meet up first time without long conversations on he phone describing obscure car parks.

After checking that nothing obvious was missing, and a photo op at the official source of the Neckar, we set off for the next large town on the river. This of course was my cunning plan: we’d be following the river downstream which meant hopefully most of the journey would be downhill.

By lunchtime we’d reached Rottweil, another town that would be famous for its old town if it was anywhere but Germany, and which is famous for the large dogs that were originally bred here.

So far things were going well. Even the weather was on our side. As I’d checked and maintained all the bikes before leaving I was also privately relieved that none of them had shown any sign of bits falling off.

After Rottweil there is a long downhill section which I’d ridden on before in the other direction. This is one major reason I’d suggested going from the source of the river as I had no wish to ride up that particular hill again. Once back in the valley we followed the river for the day…

With The Godfather and Middle Son being very tolerant of my strange desire to take pictures of trains…

By the evening we’d arrived in Horb, about 80k north of Schwenningen. We ate Kebabs for Dinner.

The Godfather had found us a spot on the only campsite available. This was good. It claimed too have great views of the valley, which was worrying. We asked where it was and after consulting his Phone The Godfather pointed at a tiny tower up on the hill above the town, in the top left of the picture above. “Just behind there”.

We climbed the hill. There was much moaning.

It has to be said the view from the tower was very nice.

Next morning. After the all important cup of tea and completely forgetting to take a picture of our campsite, we rolled back into the valley.

Soon after leaving Horb we arrived at Eyach, a tiny village and railway station and the turning point of my first (and so far only) 100 mile/160k ride.

My memory for names, numbers and birthdays is notoriously bad, but my memory for cycling routes is strangely long lasting so we made faster progress. This was good because it rained; then it rained a bit more. Finally, it really rained.

Of course this all happened on the only section with no shelter.

With nothing else to do we carried on; we reached Rottenburg, the valley widened and the cycleway tried to take the most indirect route through it. We’re fairly sure the signs sent us through the same village three times.

Tübingen was the goal for lunch, whereupon the Godfather invited us for Pizza, rendering the three kilos of pasta I’d carried from Freiburg entirely pointless. After this we followed the river until we reached my old commute from college.

With typical lack of foresight we live on the top of a hill so the climbing started. The Godfather rode with us up the first hill, then peeled off to go to his home town, leaving us to deal with another valley.

Finally we made it up onto the ridge overlooking the valley and across the high plateau to our village, much to the surprise of Beautiful Wife and daughter who were not expecting us for another day.

Asked Middle Son, who had never cycled these distances before, if he wanted to do it again.

“Yes,” He replied, “But probably not tomorrow…”

*Possibly the only opportunity I’ll ever have to plagiarise this title.