Posted on July 29, 2008 by rodney
Tags: tour

Arrived in Zürich yesterday. Had a bit of a disaster-riddled yesterday morning. First thing, in my morning bike inspection, I found a crack in the back rim. This time it was a proper crack. Decided that it would be pretty dull in this little village near Bischofszell, and the bike shop – if there was one – probably wouldn’t have the right rim. So I decided to ride anyway to Zürich. Luckily the wheel stayed round and I got there without injury to bike or myself.

Went to the ATM in Bischofszell to withdraw some Swiss Franks, and discovered that I had most probably left my card at the Chinese restaurant the night before. Oh well, no worries. I have a second card and can cancel the lost card. Must get going, to get to Zürich early so there’s time to visit the bike shop. Oh and by the way the restaurant was bloody expensive, more than twice what the same dish would cost in Perth.

Then I was cycling through the nice woods, and my foot came out of the pedal and I kicked my front pannier bag. The cleat on my shoe had finally worn out. My foot kept coming out all day, and I would either kick the bag, or hit my ankle on the crank.

Arrived in Zürich and, with only moderate difficulty, found the centre, then the camp site. And it wasn’t cheap camping. Plus you had to pay for warm showers, so I had a cold shower. For reference, I visited the youth hostel. They were 48 franks for a night in a 5 bed dorm (the exchange rate for AUD to franks is 1:1), so that made me feel better about the price at camping. There was an internet cafe for 18 franks / hour. Daylight robbery! Since then I found one for 6 fr. Still, not cheap. So be thankful, you’re getting a gilt-edged blog entry.

Everything is closed on Sunday. A lot of bike shops are also closed on Mondays. I found one which wasn’t, but they had no room for repairs, until next Monday! But the guy offered to change the wheel on his own time Tuesday (today) afternoon, which was pretty nice.

Anyway this morning I checked one of the smaller bike shops which was closed yesterday. He replaced the wheel today. The rim he had is slightly wider, but I think that’s OK, because it should be stronger. Wasn’t too expensive either.

Found VB in a supermarket for 2.60 franks. Had to buy one for me, and one for the dude in the bike shop.

Despite these troubles, Switzerland has been a really lovely place to visit. It’s obvious how stinking rich this country is. I believe this is because they all have Swiss bank accounts. The countryside is great. Outside the alps it’s hilly but not soul-destroying. All the cows have bells. The cycle route signs are so good I got from Austria, through Liechtenstein, to Zürich with only a 1:4.000.000 map of Austria. (On it you could see a few Swiss towns on the Rhine). There are also good rollerblading routes. Whatever tickles your fancy I guess. There are national routes as well, so you can look ridiculous and rollerblade across the country.

Back to how disgracefully rich the Swiss are. I had to check the Omega shop on Bahnhofstraße. All the display watches were set to 10:10AM, but the prices were wildly different, and some prices were just wild. This totally put Heinz’s €20.000 each speakers into perspective for me. There are a handful bums and beggars around but they are negligable, compared to the total wealth. Perhaps the rest all got ran over by BMWs.

I haven’t got time to upload my GPS tracklogs and photos. Take my word, the photos are gorgeous, and the altitudes are quite high. Last Wednesday afternoon I took the bus from Krimml to Königsleiten (the top of the Gerlospaß), saving a 500m climb. It was raining that day and bloody cold on the way down. But on Saturday I pulled the finger out and cycled Arlbergspaß. This was my exit from the alps for tour 2008. From Feldkirch I went through the top of Liechtenstein, across the Rhine to Switzerland, north to the Bodensee, then across the middle land to Bischofszell then Zürich.

(Unfortunately google have eaten my map. So this only shows the route up to Innsbruck. Sorry.)