Auto Ads by Adsense

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

June 13th - Opfikon to Weesen


"I am very sorry," the hotel receptionist said, "But we cannot allow you to leave your bike cases here for so long --- luggage service is only meant for a day, not for 20 days!" "But I sent messages confirming that you will let me store luggage here?!" "We have no room."

Despite my best hopes, we were still up at around 5am, and the kids were raring to go and hungry. Of course, none of the shops were open the night before for us to buy breakfast, and on a Monday morning, nothing was open until 6am at the earliest. After many mishaps trying to get into various super-markets, we gave up and ended up at Backerei Backstein, which sold a Schinken Gipfel which would get the kids to ask me to come back there weeks later, as we were about to leave Zurich.

After that, it was time to pack for cycling and leave the hotel. Disturbingly, the quarter-turn mount I had wanted to depend on for navigation had been left at home! Then, while trying to checkout, the receptionist told me that they wouldn't hold my luggage for the 20 days beteween then and our return on July 2nd! That put me in a bind, and the receptionist tried to reassure me by saying that I could keep the luggage at the airport! I stared her down, "How am I to get all this to the airport?" I asked her, "And when I come back now I have to bring it back from the airport as well." I must have looked pathetic, because she negotiated some sort of deal with the hotel's conference marketing department, and then proceeded to charge me for storage. "Let's see now... you have 5 pieces of luggage. The airport will charge 5CHF per day per piece. That's clearly too much." She was negotiating with herself, so I bit my tongue and stayed silent. "I'll reduce it to 3CHF per piece per day." When someone gives you want you want, you keep silent, so I nodded and paid the 285CHF in storage fees.

With that, we were off! Well, not really. I'd noticed that there was a pharmacy across the street, as well as an e-bike shop. In a repeat of my earlier trip to Spain this year, I'd forgotten Boen's inhalers, and hoped that like Spain, I'd be able to buy the inhalers in Switzerland. Well, no luck. Ventolin was not an over-the-counter medication in Switzerland, but they pointed me at the doctor's office around the corner. Upon visiting the doctor's office, they informed me that they had no appointments that day!

Boen was not in immediate distress, and I hoped he would hold out until we got to Austria or Italy, where a less stringent pharmaceutical regime might be in effect. I had one more outstanding task. I visited the m-way E-bike Outlet around the corner from the doctor's office, and showed my front derailleur and asked if he could help. "We only work on ebikes during the summer!", he said to me with no indication of irony. I was batting 0 for 3 for the day, so gave up and started riding towards Swiss bike route 29. I had scouted it out on Streetview from California, and spotted the entrance and was delighted to find it right away.

Of course, in my jet-lagged state, I was immediately fooled by a sign that said "city route" into thinking that was the urban version of route 29, when in fact, it was a sign that pointed us to Zurich. We looped around several times before giving up and just riding to Zurich and then heading East along the lake, a far cry from what I expected to do on Route 29. I cursed myself for being too lazy to layout a route using ridewithgps or garmin connect. It's easy to view the route online at home and think you'll be able to follow it when in reality in a jet-lagged, un-caffeinated and stressed out state you're just unable to think properly.

Along the See-Promenade the riding was no problem, but once outside of Zurich proper, we were forced to share the road with cars, though frequently the sidewalk was wide enough and pedestrians few enough that we could just ride on the sidewalk, hopping off it on occasion to bypass a parked car or so. Soon enough, we found a supermarket and went down to the water for a nice lunch. The forecast had called for rain that day, but we would not encounter it, though it would cloud over for all of 15 minutes when we were having ice cream in the village of Jona.

In Jona, I used the Garmin's navigation feature, and it had us driving out onto the bridge before doing a U-turn, which was very strange. I did a scouting trip on the e-bike, and sure enough, what happened was that there was a dedicated underpass under the bridge, which dumped you out onto the official route 9.

 Navigating that was a challenge on the triplet, especially since there was glass on the bike path which I never would have spotted without a scouting run, so I had to get the kids to dismount before getting back on, but after that, Swiss Route 9 proved to be a beautiful scenic ride along the lake. At the far eastern end of the lake at Schmerikon the route signs once again failed us and Garmin routed us along the main highway. Out came the smartphone on Xiaoqin's bike, where it was attached with a Nite Ize Handleband holder. With that, we finally found our way back to Route 9, which took us to the Ziegelbrucke trainstatin, after which the triplet promptly dropped the chain off the middle chainring from the rough surface.

The nice thing about having no front derailleur is that putting the chain back on was easy! Find a stick, pull the chain out with it, and drop it back in the middle. After that, we made it into Weesen with no problem, and found our holiday apartment.
The apartment had a kitchen, but we were too tired to cook, and the kids were too lazy to even walk to the restaurant, so we got on the bikes, rode for 3 minutes, and parked the bike and went in for an early (by European standards) dinner. I hoped all the sunshine had given us disabled my jet-lag. I did laundry (the apartment had a washing machine, and I brought detergent) and then we went to sleep, hoping to find a bike shop the next day who would solve our derailleur headache.

No comments: