The Year in Review – 2017

Other years I have listed my 10 most memorable rides. I thought I would do it differently this time and not concentrate on rides but experiences.

Most American Looking Foreigner – On the ferry from Gertau to Beckenreid, I met a 30ish woman. She was wearing a Specialized (American Co.) kit. She was on a Cervelo (Canadian) bike. She had a Garmin (American) 510 bike computer. She was wearing Speedplay (American) walkable cleats. But she was Swiss. Lived just up the road and had completed a Luzerne loop. I told her my suspicions which she found very interesting and not creepy at all.

Biggest Douchbag – The sidewalk cop in Zurich. In a city where bike paths and sidewalks are all asphalt and bike lanes are directed up on sidewalks, I got caught on a sidewalk, sans people, in an area then Ben would later find was a cyclist trap. The cop did not care that I was from out of the country, in fact, I think he targeted my Austin (Livestrong) jersey. Didn’t record my name. Just wanted 40 Swiss francs.

Best Ride in a Circle – Our annual trip to the Velodrome at Trexlertown, to honor pediatric cancer survivors and we too, could take a lap against cancer.

Most Wheel Problems – Broke a spoke on my rear wheel on my Domane. Had all the spokes replaced and a new wheel built. The new wheel seemingly went out of true and it took 2-3 trips to get it tuned in. But it ate tubes. Two in one mile on a ride in Bedford Co. Switched to my original wheel and it locked up. One week later while riding to Punxsutawney a piece of gravel (chip as in chip and tar) busted out my front spoke.

Favorite Day – Climbed the Klausen Pass then descended to the beautiful Lake Luzerne. The views were tremendous in the mountains and alongside the lake.

Best Hotel – Seehauser Hotel in Beckenreid, Switzerland. A beautiful room overlooking a breathtaking lake with mountains in the background. An excellent restaurant and wonder staff. Easily my favorite.

Shortest Country Visit – I biked from Switzerland into Austria long enough to find someone to take my photo. Still spent 20 minutes or so. Runner up: Germany – on a three country ride with Ben Z., our initial time in Germany was less than 10 minutes but then re-entered and spent 30 more minutes of riding.

Best Decision – At Hotel Rischli, I was given a pass to ride the tram to the top of the mountain. Too tired to use it (not wanting to go back up the mountain I rode down) I set it aside. In the morning I was all in and rode five miles back up the mountain to the tram and went to the top of the world. And discovered I had been here before.

Fastest River Ride –  Staying in Thun, Switzerland, I jumped in the River Aare and was swept away by its relaxingly fast current.

Reflections on the Year – 2017

NUMBERS: The thing the stands out is my mileage was way down for 2017. I did not hit 8,000 miles, or even 7,000 miles, as I did the past two years.

In the past, I chose my Top Ten Moments/Rides, which were sometimes 11 or 12. This year I just want to look at moments.

BEST EPIC ADVENTURE – In June I rode across the Swiss Alps from Austria to France (almost).

BEST STOLEN WATER – In late August I did a ride from Cumberland, Md. into Bedford County. As I returned to Cumberland there is about a mile hill at 3-4% and two young women were walking their bikes. One, Mary, was a cyclist from D.C. Her friend from Cumberland was not, hence they were walking. It was hot. Mary was thirsty. She took the second bottle from my bike and downed it.

BEST PHOTOGRAPHER – I stopped in Switzerland and asked Marcel to take my photo. Great young man.

Marcel the Photographer

QUIETEST RIDE – On May 17 I joined 60 other cyclists including the parents of Jamie Roberts, Bob and Eveline Roberts, as we rode in the Ride of Silence in Rockville, Maryland.

ONLY 4430 MILES SHORT – On June 3 I rode 70 miles on Day 1 with the Texas 4000 as they headed of for a 4500 mile ride from Austin to Anchorage, Fighting Cancer Every Mile.

TOUGHEST CLIMB – It wasn’t long but it was steep as I rode Henrietta Mountain Road near Saxton, Pa. It compared to Hurricane Mountain Road (NH), Mount Washington (NH), and San Pellegrino (the mountain, not the drink) (Italy). Ouch.

BIGGEST DOUCHE – Some cop in Zurich who ticketed me for riding on a sidewalk – a sidewalk that looked like any other bike path and in an area I found out later was a trap for cyclists. Couldn’t even let this American slide with a warning and a Welcome to Zurich.

MOST AMERICAN SWISS – On the ferry to Bochenride, I saw a young woman on a Cervelo Bike. She had a Garmin 500 GPS. She had MY Speed Play pedals. North American bike, U.S. GPS, U.S. pedals. I thought she might be a tourist and finally talked to her. No, she was a local from Luzerne. But could have pulled off being American.

COOLEST ADVENTURE – DUH! My six-day trip through the Swiss Alps.

NOISIEST ROAD – The Klausen Pass in Switzerland where more than 200 motorcycles (or motorbikes) went flying by me up the mountain.

WORST HOTEL – Thun, Switzerland. The room was tiny with no air-conditioning and it was a hot day. The window was small and opening it six stories above the street let in more street noise than fresh air.

BEST HOTELHotel Seerausch, Beckenreid, Switzerland. Situated on Lake Lucerne. Absolutely gorgeous. Big room. Unbelievable views. Great staff!

BEST HOTEL-2Hotel Rischli, Sörenberg, Switzerland. They had goats. Tiny goats. Large room and a great staff.

BEST ABANDONED RIDE – Not going to Bormio, Italy (as much as I wanted to) because of freezing rain and snow in the forecast. I went home instead.

MOST COUNTRIES / ONE RIDE – In June I rode with Ben Z. as we did a Switzerland – France – Germany – Switzerland – Germany – Switzerland loop. (Three countries)

BIGGEST BUBBA – On August 11, riding near Hooversville, Pa. (Somerset Co.), I was twice forced off the road by one very angry driver. I called Pennsylvania State Police who promised to visit him.

Stats for 2017