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Barn fixation continues. wooden barn with very large doors at both ends in a fairly inaccesible valley.

This weekend I made a trip to Bad Urach, in the hope of making a metric century.* Bad Urach is the sort of German town you see on calenders, with a medieval centre, winding cobbled streets, timber framed buildings, street cafés and a chemist claiming to have been in business since 1429. The town has been thankfully well looked after too, with a merciful absence of ugly modern buildings, apart from one brutalist concrete monstrosity that the council must have approved during an office party, but even that was tucked down a side street. The council did manage to make most of the old town pedestrianised so that instead of cars in the centre you get scenes like this.

Of course, just after I took this picture a car came trundling furtively down the road towards the café, probably having taken a wrong turn somewhere. I’m not one to criticise drivers for getting stuck on the wrong road, as I’m especially prone to doing exactly that: my dad still hasn’t forgotten the trauma of driving here while trying to follow instructions like “Turn left here… Oops, that’s a cycleway.” But, dear readers, I would ask one question: if you have unfortunately managed to find yourself driving along a pedestrianised street barely wide enough for your car, and come across a café whose furniture makes it even narrower and thus impossible to pass, do you:

A: Drive back the way you came and find one of the perfectly good, fast roads around the town to get to your destination, or…

B: …get your passenger to alight from the vehicle and move the offending furniture so that you can keep going, because obviously, you need to get somewhere and the furniture is In The Way?

I wonder what they would have done if the tables had been occupied…

*106km as you asked, at an average speed of 19km/h, and my legs let me know about it the next day…

Mill race in the hills near our apartment. The sign says “Cycling is not permitted”

These days you can’t even cycle in the canal, it’s health and safety gone mad…


The edge of the hills.This is one side of a pass into the range we can see from our apartment, when it isn’t raining or cloudy. If I was very much fitter than I am I could have jogged up to the top, climbed a tree, and waved to Beautiful Wife.

I’m not that fit though. And Beautiful Wife was out anyway

According to my bike computer of questionable accuracy this is 25 kilometres from home. There are worse views from a kitchen*.

*For example, the view of a carpark 30cm from the window in our previous apartment…

In the depths of the hills towards Tübingen the forest Elves have made a spring, weary travellers for the use of.

It didn’t seem to give special powers like seeing the future, invisibilty, or even the ability to climb the next hill faster, but on the plus side I wasn’t attacked by any trolls and there were no dead sheep in the water upstream, so I was happy.

What the well-heeled farmer is building this year. Modern barn with rock outcrop accesories.

Where the lions and tigers and bears might be, and the lumberjacks had already been. (Bigger version here)

Very Useful Sign showing the cycle routes to the villages of Schlattstall, Gutenberg, and oberlenningen, and the nearest sewage works, just in case someone needs to know.

I was going to ask for suggestions why anyone in the middle of nowhere would suddenly need this information, but if you have any ideas I’d prefer you to keep them to yourselves. Thanks…

On the way to Tübingen, Andi waiting for yours truly to stop messing about with the camera and decide which route to follow. (bigger picture)

There were a lot of decisions to make this month, but finally things are coming together. Watch this space.

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Last week we went to Tübingen. The week had been bright and sunny, so of course it was overcast. Foolishly I agreed with my co-rider, Andi, that we should try a direct route that he’d found on the map. I never learn.

Andi and I have a different approach to cycling an that’s all there is to it. I look at a map and find valleys and rivers and work out a nice flat route towards the goal. Andi just puts a ruler across the landscape and there’s his route. He doesn’t worry about contour lines, but then to be fair he doesn’t notice hills, just powers up them. At least he’s kind enough to wait for me. Occasionally.

So off we went over the hills and far away, where we found more hills and possibly lions and tigers and bears but I was too busy trying to keep up to notice. The downhill bits were fun though.

And eventually, after a couple more hills, and a secret cycleway through a fence, we went through another forest and arrived in Tübingen, where for the first time in a week, it was raining. On the other hand we also had a tailwind down the valley, which meant I could at least keep up with Andi.

And while I’m here, a question for German readers: If you wanted to make a set of wooden mudguards, what sort of glue would you use, and what sort of lackierung? And where would you get it?

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