Sapiens – on a folding bike

Basel, here I come! Well, perhaps not just yet.
It’s been a fascinating day. Leaving Gatwick there is a touch of deja-vu. Let me explain; last week, on our way to Vienna (yes, we really are jet-setters) we encountered technicians working on an engine as we boarded the plane. Not something to bolster confidence in the flight you may say. Within an hour, courtesy of Lufthansa, we had been transferred to another plane and had duly taken off.
This morning, as I board my EasyJet, technicians are working on the on-board computer; nothing trivial, you understand – it’s not for the pilot to play solitaire. This is the computer which is programmed to control the entire flight. I wonder what part the pilots actually play in the process. Not to worry, though; it’s sorted within half an hour, and we take off – and do actually reach our destination, Stuttgart, safely. So, as I said, Basel here I come.
My intention is to cycle across the Black Forest, or the Schwartzwald, as I shall call it, on my trusty folding bike. Oh yes, the title? What’s Sapiens got to do with it? Well, apart from the fact that I’m a proud member of “Sapiens”, as well as a proud Brit and European (sorry!!), I shall from time to time introduce some philosophical anthropology to raise the tone of the blog. You have been warned!
Having assembled the bike, I leave the airport at about 10.45 local time. Quite late. Can I get out? I always have been able to in the past but I have this fear that one day I won’t without hopping on a bus or getting a taxi. All is well however; I exit without event. But which way to go? A young lad working on telephone wiring, puts me right …. in perfect English. Sickening!
Within twenty minutes I’m sweeping down a sinuous wooded valley with all my senses being sumptuously feasted: buzzards and kites overhead; the sound of cuckoo’s and woodpeckers; the buzzing of bees in a field of rape-seed oil; the intoxicating scent of pine trees; and a warm but gentle breeze in my face. And the sun is shining. This is what it’s all about!

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I pass an advertising sign saying, in English, “Inner balance, Wellness (sic) and Massage” What a load of crap – and people pay good money for it. They should try a bike ride instead.
Soon after I encounter a forest track going my intended way. Should I take it?
“Beware, beware the Forest of Sin
Few come out though many go in!”
It certainly looks creepy – and it’s 18km long!
Well, as you’ve guessed, I do take it ……and it’s fantastic!  18 km encountering only one horse rider.

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And I do get out!

I enjoy “lunch”, a triple portion ice-cream and a coffee in Herrenberg, a delightfully traditional small German town

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Continuing into what turns out to be a long, anything but lazy, afternoon, I discover more forest tracks; they’re hard to spot, but once you’re on them they’re fantastic – impeccably signposted at every twist and turn. And, being Germany the kids don’t fool around with the signs.
I encounter a slow-worm and a black squirrel. Black, I hear you ask? Surely you mean grey, or perhaps red? No – it was definitely black; or very dark brown. I shall have to look it up. Oh yes – and the flies. Somebody told me the Schwartzwald can be plagued by flies. Well, at this time of year they don’t constitute a problem, but you certainly do notice them. Of course, at the speed I cycle they don’t, in any case stand a chance!
Stopping for an “afternoon tea” consisting of an iced doughnut and a yoghurt bar washed down with a drink of water, I continue to the attractive town of Dorn-Stetten, my intended resting place for the night.
But will it be?
Well, you’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out.
And what about the homespun philosophy? That will have to wait till tomorrow as well. Perhaps a double dose!
It’s been a fascinating day.

Distance travelled        53.4 miles
Elevation gain                      4,477 ft
Average speed                    9.3 mph
Maximum speed             35.8 mph

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