Goodbye Switzerland

ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND

I started the morning in Nurmijärvi, Finland, not far from Helsinki.  I took a flight from Helsinki to Riga, Latvia, connecting to Zürich.

Riga, Latvia

I have been watching the weather in Bormio, Italy, with my decision to be either to travel to Italy or go home early. My return flight is planned for July 3.

After I arrived I checked the weather forecast for Bormio which showed 100% chance of rain for the next three days. It was almost that same percent chance I would go home instead.

The forecast for Zürich was about the same although I didn’t have to worry about snow on the mountain. But having arrived it was a beautiful afternoon.

If I was going home, it would be on Thursday. With rain forecast for tomorrow, I will be tearing down my bike. Today will be my last time to ride in Switzerland.

City riding is not ideal but the ride around Lake Zürich is nice. But I didn’t want to circumvent the entire lake.

I loved the ferry that crosses over the lake. The price is right (CHF 3) and it is a lovely ride.

Program sold at Kiosk at the ferry

I simply went for a ride around the lake. It was beautiful.

The main road was blocked headed back to Zürich. Looked like a rich boat owner had an accident and a crane stretched across one lane of the road to lift it out of the water.

I stopped at the river and took a couple more photos. A commuter passed me and I followed her wheel which took me under the highway to the street I needed to return to Wollishofen.

Zürich – I will miss you. Except for that Barney Fife cop.

 




Pissed in Zürich

ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND

I arrived yesterday and quickly built my bike. Something was wrong. I felt a rattle in the fork although things were tight. I caught up to a cyclist at a light and asked for a bike shop.

Unknown cyclist but nice guy who towed me to Cyclone Bikes

He took me to Cyclone Bikes where a young woman wrench (that’s cyclist talk for a mechanic) told me I simply had tightened the screws on the fork before the top. I just needed to reverse the order. I did and felt ready for the Alps. I also bought a CO2 cartridge.

Things worked perfectly after that and my exploring and warmup would be finished for the day. I went back to the apartment of Corinne Kolb who graciously let me store my stuff while I biked across Switzerland.

Corinne Kolb and Stelvios

Today was a beautiful day, I tried to map a ride which would do more than circumvent the lake although that looked like a nice ride. I added some of the hillier terrain in town.

My plan was to head up to the zoo which is next door to FIFA headquarters. From there I would stay north of lake before coming back to it at its southeastern end.

From downtown I started climbing immediately. It’s about two miles all uphill all the way to the zoo. I visited the FIFA HQ then could not have Garmin pick up the way out of there. With the lake as a landmark, I started back towards the lake, although sooner than I wanted to.

Hotel Restaurant Erlibacherhof

But the route along the lake is nice. I came to a ferry, which took me by surprise. I should have adjusted but I didn’t.

I went to the Kiosk concession stand by the ferry and had a nice conversation with the woman making me a hot dog. I admired the ferry and she said I should take it. I told her I was going around the lake and that would cut my workout short. What she should have done is what I thought of as I rode back towards Zürich.

She should have suggested that I cross the lake on the ferry then ride south back up to the ferry on the east side. Take it back over and complete a figure eight. In other words, I was going clockwise and could cross the lake then go counterclockwise back to the ferry and cross again, finishing clockwise. A perfect figure eight.

Instead I crossed at south end as planned and as I was riding up the west side of the lake I thought about the ferry more. When I got there I went to the front of the line and never made my final decision until the ferry worker waved me on. So I did an over and back. Same distance but not as sexy as if I had one a figure eight.

I really enjoyed the time crossing the lake but it would have been better one quarter of the way across and again at three quarters of the way.

When you ride on the streets in Zürich there are sometimes bike lanes which is basically 1/4 of the full lane. Sometimes the lane ends abruptly and directs you up onto a sidewalk for a few meters or a couple hundred. Some are marked better than others.

Transition from walk to bike lane

Corinne had told me horror stories her cyclist-boss had said about the police. They set up traps and wait. I found one.

Going uphill on the lake road, I came to a construction zone. There was a red light and I was first at the light. To go, I would be first and slow up a hill, holding up traffic. There was no bike lane because of the construction.

To the right was a bike path. So I thought. There was nobody on it as far as I could see and it looked like any of the many bike lanes I had seen. I rode up it when I heard someone calling. It was a policeman. I suspect I could have ignored him (not heard him) but I went over to him.

He started speaking Swiss-German which I did not understand. When it was apparent, and I was wearing my AUSTIN, TEXAS Livestrong jersey, he switched to English to tell me I was on a sidewalk. I apologized, told him I truly didn’t know, and hoped that would be end of it.

Instead he said that would cost me 40 CHF and asked if I had cash. I did not. But he would take a credit card. He explained how on a bike I might hit people. I started to ask “what people?” (there were none) but thought better of it.

I was pissed. I tried to do everything right and police should have some discretion to educate and not just punish. But he was young and perhaps hadn’t learned when to bend. He got his 40 CHF and left me with a negative feeling about biking in Zürich.

Nearing the apartment I turned on Widmerstrasse (or the street leading to it). I went under some tracks and there was a couple walking bikes. Strange, I thought. The road kicked up a little for 25 meters.

Couple pushing their bikes up the street with steps

And then it turned hard right. And straight up. I couldn’t even look down at Garmin. My guess is more than 25%. On my left the sidewalk was steps. Steps!

I think DO NOT ENTER except Bikes and Buses. I think.

I was less than two km from the apartment then went and sent Corinne my adventure. Told her that I told the cop I knew a good lawyer but they didn’t know her. She laughed at me.

The week can only go better.