Before I leave Columbus for Xenia today, I have planned a visit to a bicycle shop. Since it doesn’t open until 10 o’clock, I leave the motel relaxed and at just before ten. It will be a very sunny day and with more than 100 km I have planned a lot. Especially when I consider that I have no idea how long the repair of my freewheel will take. Or if it can be done today at all. But I think positively and under loud crackling and creaking, I reach after only 10 minutes the bicycle shop. Now it gets serious. Can they help me?
I slept like a stone. No wonder, after yesterday. Nevertheless, I manage to get out of bed early and after a rudimentary breakfast, I’m on my way today at half-past nine. I have to because today will certainly not be as long as yesterday, but with about 120 kilometers it will be anything but short.
Today’s gonna be a tough day. That’s already clear from the beginning. It was already very long-planned with good 130 kilometers and now some additional kilometers come by the hotel change yesterday still on top. Since there is no second road at the Ohio River on the side in the state of Ohio, I would have had to drive there on the Interstate. That was too dangerous for me and so I planned an alternative route. It’s about the same length but has a lot more vertical meters. Ugh!
Until I had packed everything and sat on my bike, it was already 09:30 am. But that’s okay, I’ve set myself a little less than 100 kilometers for today and therefore have no time pressure. The weather is great, the roads rather less. As in so many cities in the USA, most of the roads are run down and full of potholes, cracks and sometimes even ten centimeters lower-lying manhole covers, because they are constantly mended around. This is also the case in Pittsburgh. Using pothole slalom I follow the instructions of my bicycle GPS on the way out of the city.
A week ago I arrived by ship in Philadelphia and today I am already sitting in Pittsburgh. In the last six days, I have done 676 km and I am very satisfied with my performance so far. No aches and pains, no wince, everything is fine and everything is working flawlessly. But it was time for me to have a rest day. The last two stages over the Great Allegheny Passage were very demanding and so I won’t even touch my bike today. That also deserves a rest day.
Yesterday was a bit later (and it was also a very exhausting day) and today I didn’t get up out of my mind. Although there was no breakfast in the motel, which always costs some time, I didn’t leave until half-past nine. Today’s destination is the big city of Pittsburgh, where I will have a rest day tomorrow. I booked an Airbnb for two nights. That’s not right in the city center, so I’ll have to add a few more kilometers and drive over 130 kilometers today.
It’s gonna be weird today. I have to overcome the so-called Mountain Divide, the highest place in the Appalachian Mountains. All rivers on this side flow into the Atlantic from where I started in Philadelphia. All rivers on the other side flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Compared to Switzerland, the mountains are not the highest, but today I have a climb of more than 40 kilometers in front of me. That’s going to be awesome.
Last night at the Hancock Motel, I slept pretty well. So good that I got up quite late. The breakfast in the motel was, as usual, a disaster, I was content with orange juice. Today will be physically quite exhausting, because I will follow the whole 100 kilometers first the Western Maryland Rail Trail and then again the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail, of it nearly 80 kilometers on unpaved gravel roads. Hands, arms, shoulders, and bottom will be extremely demanding.
The night at the Colton Motel was pretty good. It was quiet and I slept well. The breakfast, however, was a joke: A muffin shrink-wrapped in plastic! Nothing else! And that was offered as “inclusive breakfast”. I know that in American hotels and motels breakfast is often underground, but I call this bold. I do without it and prefer to go on my way.
The night at the Country Squire Motor Inn was quite good, but they refer to a café next door for breakfast. Of course, this costs extra. But it’s on the same property. But it has a great selection there. I have pancakes and orange juice.
The weather forecast for today is relatively modest. Rain and high temperatures are announced. I’m looking forward to it because yesterday on my arrival I already had to suffer from the high humidity.
As I wrote here before I boarded the Independent Horizon on August 2nd, 2019. On August 4th at about 2 pm we left Antwerp almost fully loaded. First we went down the river Schelde into the North Sea and then across the English Channel into the Atlantic Ocean. There we drove straight on for days until we reached our destination. In a dead straight line. Pretty much directly to the west. Exactly the same direction at the same speed of about 30 km/h (19 mph).
The day before yesterday, August 2nd, I boarded the Independent Horizon in the afternoon. There it was still in the dry dock because the propulsion got a new propeller. The next morning the dock was flooded and around noon we drove to the quay for loading. At first, fuel was stored, which took quite a long time, about six to seven hours. Then the container gantry cranes started loading, all night long. It was hard to hear in my cabin, I could sleep pretty well. Now it is the 4th of August and it is just 1 pm through. Earlier at noon, the captain mentioned that now the whole crew is still checking the load securing and we are ready to leave at about 2 pm.
In late summer 2017, after the JavaOne conference, I made a road trip with a car through California and parts of Nevada. I was in Death Valley, Mojave Desert, and Los Angeles and there on the famous Santa Monica Pier. There was the also famous “End of Route 66” sign. As I sat there on a bench and enjoyed the sunset, first thoughts emerged to drive the Route 66. With a car, of course!
Good news! I was often asked, now it is available: Newly there are articles on my bicycle blog also in German! From now on I will publish all new articles in two languages at the same time: English and German. Old articles, which were only available in English, will not be translated into German for the time being. But all new articles will now also be available in German.
It’s pouring out of buckets! But I don’t care, today is the last day of my journey to Barcelona and I only have about 100 km (62 mi) to drive. Under the canopy of the hotel, I pack myself well, from head to toe in rain gear and then it starts. Last stage! The first 25 km (16 mi) exclusively along the busy national road, at least again on a wide side strip. Then it goes on a cycle path off the road. Unfortunately not asphalted but sand, or now in cooperation with the rain mud. I dig my way through. On my last stage, I don’t just let myself be stopped! Also not from a ford through a small river. Fortunately, this river is very flat, so that I can even pass this ford while driving. After all, the way gets better afterward. The weather is modest, but the area is beautiful. It goes slightly up and down through gentle hilly landscapes. But the picture changes suddenly. Nature is still very beautiful, but people have thrown their legacies between the trees everywhere. Commercial waste as well as private waste. This is not a landfill, only a lonely and very beautiful area, but with all the rubbish it looks really bad. Tons of insulation material, building rubble, and mattresses, thousands of rubbish bags, simply thrown out of the car all along the way. Kilometer after kilometer. Very bad!
Second last day of the outward journey! Today I attack the Pyrenees, which mark the border between France and Spain. At this point, they are not as high as the Alps, yet I have respect because I have never been here before and have no idea what is ahead of me today. With about 100 km (62 mi) I have not planned so much for today. Even if it already starts from Perpignan slightly ascending, the “real” ascent to the Pyrenees starts after about 30 km (19 mi) and will last about 10 km (6 mi). At the highest point, there is a small village and the border to Spain.
After yesterday’s very challenging day especially at the end, I hope for a more relaxed one today. At least only just over 100 km (62 km) are planned and they are all quite flat. After the small shock with my trailer yesterday evening I deliberately take it very easy this morning. Above all to test whether my repair can withstand the loads in the long run. The breakfast was again very spartan, as always, this time unfortunately also in a very spartan atmosphere. The breakfast buffet was in the lobby with two tables and four chairs. Well. It worked.
Day number six! With 150 km (93 mi) I have again set myself a good course. Fortunately, everything was very flat and without any significant increases throughout the whole stage. But today, the sixth day, it’s supposed to happen: I’ll reach the Mediterranean after about a third of the day’s distance! This is an important interim goal for me.
Wow! Woow! Wooow! When I woke up today and looked out of the window, I couldn’t believe my eyes: Sun! No rain, not a single cloud, a bright blue sky and sunshine! But relatively strong wind. Although: Hey, it comes from behind! Today will definitely be a great day! With these perspectives I decide for the first time on this tour for my short outfit. Short trousers and shirt, sandals fit to it. Of course special bike sandals. Quickly take breakfast and then off to the buck!
The last three days were quite exhausting, many meters of altitude right at the beginning of my trip and yesterday rain, rain, rain. And so it goes on today: rain. But there are some meters of altitude missing, now the flatter sections of the tour are coming. After a light breakfast, I can’t eat so much in the morning, I start the fourth day. Out of the city, I follow the river Isère, which later flows into the Rhône. The bicycle path along the river is a dream: wide, paved, flat
Today I made it on my bike at a quarter to eight o’clock. The third day in a row with steep climbs and a similar number of meters of altitude as on the last two days. But longer! A new, big challenge that has to be mastered.
Today I had planned to start earlier. That worked out quite well, after a (due to lack of appetite) light breakfast I left Fribourg shortly after 9 o’clock. Today’s destination is Geneva, Lausanne is pretty much in the middle. I really don’t know what my Garmin smoked, but it predicts a driving time of only 5h 30m! I can’t really believe this but I will see today what the clock shows at the end of the day.
What a day! More precisely, the first day of my bike trip from Lucerne to Barcelona. I left a few hours later than I had planned. That’s what happens when you repack all your luggage at the last minute. This is my first trip with my new Radical Design trailer and I had to figure out how to make the most of the available space. When I stood in front of the door, ready to leave, it still occurred to me to stop by the hairdresser and have a summery short hairstyle - after all, I’m going to the Mediterranean Sea to warm Spain! So instead of at 8 o’clock, I left shortly before 11 o’clock.
At the end of May I am invited as a speaker to a conference in Barcelona. The third year in a row! But this year I don’t want to fly, I want to cover the way there as well as the way back with my bicycle. This will be quite a challenge, because I have a very tight schedule and have to be in Barcelona in time for the conference and back in Lucerne in time for the work. I planned the way there and back differently in order to be able to see as many different regions as possible during the trip. During this tour I will surely reach my limits. Several times. After all it is approx. 2’600 km (1’600 mi) with approx. 21’000 m (69’000 ft) elevation!
During my tour on the Mittelland route I made some rather experimental video recordings in between. Now I have cut them together to a small film, which I don’t want to withhold from you. The video itself is in German, I will try to add English subtitles.
Easter Monday. Fourth and last day of my Easter journey. The breakfast in my hotel was rather sparse. In hotels, I love these little sausages and scrambled eggs. Unfortunately both not there and not my multivitamin juice from which I always drink in the morning. Too bad, otherwise I actually liked it here. Today we only have about 75 km (47 mi) on the program, compared to the last days the shortest stage. Correspondingly relaxed I approach it. Since I was in bed relatively early yesterday, I had a good and early start today. Shortly before eight o’clock, I’m already sitting on my bike and on my way.
After the exhausting day yesterday I take it a little easier now. I sleep more or less well and then take my time for breakfast. Pretty much at 10 o’clock I am ready for the start and go back on the road. It is Easter Sunday and there is still very little going on. But that changes very quickly. The cycle route goes directly along the Aare again and the great weather on the holiday attracts crowds of people outside. The cycle path gets really full.
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.
Today I have to get up early! Pack up the last things and go to the station. From Lucerne, I take the train to Romanshorn, with a change in Zurich. Departure is at 07:10 a.m. on track 6. The good thing about Lucerne station is that it is a terminus station. So I can get to the train at ground level without having to use stairs, escalators or lifts. The bicycle compartment is almost full, I can just get one of the last free places. On the way to Zurich, which takes only three-quarters of an hour, I have time for a small breakfast.
Every year Easter is a good opportunity to go on a trip lasting several days. Four days off in a row and this year with great weather, sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures. It’s no wonder I won’t miss this opportunity! This year I have decided on the Mittelland route, the national cycle route 5 from Romanshorn on Lake Constance to Lausanne on Lake Geneva. According to the plan, it is about 375 km (233 mi), a pleasant distance for four days. For the three nights, I reserved the hotels in advance. So let’s go!
Once a year, all board members of the Java User Group Switzerland meet for an all-day retreat. Each year at a different location in Switzerland. I like to use this opportunity for a nice bicycle tour. This year we met at Lake Thun. From Lucerne, this is a very nice route through the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch and with just over 100 km (60 mi) an ideal length for a full day tour. That sounds like a plan!
Saturday. The sun is shining. So what could be more obvious than to use the day off for a ride? I started relatively late, it was a Saturday after all. The weather was great, a lot of sun, even if it wasn’t very warm. In addition a nice trip with the ferry over the mirror-smooth lake and in Weggis I enjoyed a delicious Bratwurst directly at the lake on a bench in the sun. It was a very nice tour, from which I created a small video with Relive. The recording of the GPX data is available, as always, on Komoot, including some photos.
Welcome to the first post of my new blog! For a long time I was pregnant with the thought, now a new blog was born. If you want to know more about who I am and why I created this blog, please have a look at the about me page. Since this blog is about my trips and travels with my bicycle and the cycling season is about to start, I promise that real content will be added very quickly.