Mittelland Route Day 2 from Rümlang to Solothurn

Today I can sleep a little longer and take my time for breakfast. The bike shop doesn’t open until 10 o’clock. I set off in time and drive with my damaged rear wheel very slowly and carefully to the shop. First, my joy is great, it is actually open! But the damper follows quickly: I am told that they already have too much to do. I was supposed to come back next week. The shop is empty, I’m the only customer, the work wouldn’t take ten minutes. But nothing to do. I should look for other businesses on the Internet. Very unfortunate.

But I don’t give up. I keep looking, going from shop to shop. Then I set myself a limit: If I don’t have a solution to my problem by noon, I will cancel the trip. Then it happens, the little miracle: I find a bicycle shop that is open and helps me immediately! The people from Velo Zürich take care of my problem, mount a new tire and, for safety’s sake, a new tube if the old one is damaged by the tire problem. It’s not my dream tire (Schwalbe Marathon Almotion), they don’t have it in stock, but a Schwalbe Big Ben Plus. Not a bad tire and more importantly: It’s new, it’s in one piece and I can continue my journey! Many, many thanks!

It’s almost noon now and I can finally set off again. First I have to go back to Veloroute 5 because in the meantime I have ended up a few kilometers further south almost in the center of Zurich. It will be a very exhausting tour because the second stage is the longest of this trip with 115 km (71 mi) and I only have the afternoon left. So let’s go. Only again to the north, this is very exhausting right at the beginning because I have to overcome the Hönggerberg. There it goes up very steeply. Motivated by the new tire and the solved problem, I make it and then there are a few more kilometers to the Mittelland route. The detour via Zurich cost me 20 km (12 mi). But the lost time is even worse. Now I have to think about it all the time, so I hardly take a break.

At Adlikon I come across the cycle route 5 again, which leads off the main roads through a beautiful landscape. I am in an extremely good mood. Sure, it goes on now! One hour later I am already in Wettingen and reach another river, the Limmat. I treat myself to a few minutes break before I go through the very beautiful, winding old town of the adjoining Baden along the railway line, slightly ascending again into the countryside. The next place to go through is Brugg. On the way there I come across the third river, the Reuss. This river is known to me as Lucerne, as it flows through my hometown. Along the Reuss, we now enter Brugg. For reasons of time, I don’t look at the mouth of the Reuss into the Aare but follow the cycle route further.

Still in Brugg, I reach river number four, the Aare. This is also well known to me because I lived in Aarau on the Aare for some years. That is still about 20 km (12 mi) upstream and the cycle route 5 also goes through there. I intend to take a longer break in Aarau, which is a little more than half of today’s stage. As if I pedal hard and follow a single trail always directly along the Aare. This is a very, very nice section. Soon I meet more and more small villages along the river, which I know from my time in Aarau. I feel that I already need a break but I also know that it is not far to Aarau. This gives me a motivation boost and I reach Aarau around half past three in the afternoon.

As a reward for having made it this far today despite the problems, I treat myself to nice ice cream and something cool to drink at a gas station. I take that with me, because only a few hundred meters further on at the hydroelectric power station on the power station island I lie down under a tree in the grass for a well-deserved break and enjoy ice cream and cola. Wonderful!

But I have only managed a little more than half of the day’s stage and it is already half past four. I’ll manage the rest, but I’m worried about the hotel. Will the reception still be occupied when I arrive? I call them and, of course, they won’t be there anymore! But no problem, they have a key box and give me an access code so that I can go to the hotel and the room myself afterward. Well, I called and clarified that. Now I can drive on calmly.

I took a break of about three-quarters of an hour and am now fit again for the next section. As the last hours, I continue along the river Aare. Here and there it is out of sight, but mostly the cycle route leads directly along the river. I know many of the places in this section very well because I often went with my bike from Aarau to work in Olten and mostly chose this way. In Olten, I almost pass the school where I teach once a week (TEKO Olten). Not far from here on the other side of the Aare I also worked a few years ago (MySign AG).

Also from Olten to Aarburg, I cycle along the well-known cycle path along the Aare. I also cycle this section coming from Lucerne, when I am on my bicycle to Olten for lessons. Behind Aarburg I enter new territory again. Always further directly at or in direct proximity of the Aare, it goes incessantly ever further to the west.

That’s my stomach calling again. The last time I ate something I had in the morning at breakfast in the hotel. The ice in the afternoon doesn’t count, my stomach explains to me. So I take a break, I finally have the key code for the hotel and eat on a bench at the Aare two Landjäger, which I always like to have with me as a nutritious emergency ration. That helps and soon I drive on strengthened.

When I come through Wangen on the Aare, I have to think of an ex-working colleague of mine. He doesn’t live here, but in Wangen near Olten and whenever I read or hear Wangen, I think of him. We spent five good years together at MySign AG in Olten and went through a lot. Besides, there’s always a lot on my mind when I’m on a bike trip like this anyway!

On my GPS I see the remaining kilometers to the hotel melting away. The sun is already low and after this exhausting day, I finally want to arrive and enjoy a refreshing shower. As if by myself my legs increase the cadence, I am almost in sprint mode! The last few kilometers I fly to the hotel in Solothurn and when I arrive at half past seven in the evening, a pleasant feeling of happiness and pride spreads in my chest that I have made it this far. All problems were solved and I was “on schedule” again, as the saying goes.

The reception was no longer manned, but the key code worked perfectly. Unfortunately, the hotel did not have a restaurant. So I plundered the minibar after the shower and plastered my last Landjäger for dinner. Also possible. Because I had no more motivation to leave the hotel and go on the search for a restaurant.

Altogether it was 134 km (83 mi) today and it took me (without breaks and stops) exactly 7½ hours. Not bad. Now the next two days can come, on which clearly shorter stages are lining up and I will hopefully remain spared from problems. I watch a TV-quiz and then leave satisfied into the land of dreams…

Yours
Marcus

Written on April 20, 2019