archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

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David Massey – latest custom trike trailer information

Refer to earlier posts about David to see the seven segments leading up to this one.

TerraTrike New 2020 Model Line-up

Recumbent Trike Maintenance Workshop, hosted by James

Let’s Visit the Trident Trikes Website!

The original old Trike Hobo Steve Greene hosts a visit to the Trident Trikes website, and man, do they ever have a huge selection from which to choose!

David Massey’s “chapter seven” – electric motor trike installation and custom trailer

Matt Galat, world trike adventurer, has a roadside problem to solve!

Happy Trikesgiving … from Steve Newbauer!

Long-time triker Steve Newbauer sends us this seasonal greeting:

Overland Triker David Massey to set out on his Azub

You may recall that a fellow triker named David Massey joined me in 2013 for an overland trike journey along the Pacific coast of the United States. Well, David is once again preparing to head out on his trusty Azub recumbent trike on another long distance trek, and is currently in his initial preparations phase of the endeavor. This time, David plans on pulling a small trailer, with a solar panel on top, which will power his new electric assist motor that will make the mountain passes a bit easier to get up and over. Below are some video presentations, the first one being an introduction to set the stage, followed by a series of excellent videos by David, in which he explains some of the preparations he is currently making, including the electric assist motor and the solar collector panel. David’s presentations below are in chronological order, with the oldest at the top, and the most recent at the bottom.

MY INTRODUCTION TO DAVID AND HIS TRIKE ADVENTURE:

DAVID MASSEY’S VIDEO PRESENTATIONS:

Website links of potential interest:

https://www.youtube.com/user/daveyJ213 (David’s YouTube channel)

https://www.goodnewsonly.com/ (David’s personal website)

https://trikephantoms.wordpress.com/ (our 2013 Pacific Coast trike trek)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1541132645/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0 (The Overland Triker book on Amazon)

 

Trike Hobo discusses his bike … Making it more comfy!

Hey there everyone! Trike Hobo Steve Greene here with ya’ once again, actually writing and saying something like the good old days. I’ve been really busy with my Iron Vegan YouTube channel for the past eleven months, and consequently, I have been somewhat neglecting other aspects of my online presence, including Trike Asylum. Well anyway, for those of you who dearly miss me yakking at you about some form of my pedal powered transportation, here’s your chance to bring back yesterday. I’m still alive and well, and in the following eighteen minute talk, I will reveal some recent modifications I have made to my beloved Specialized Roll Elite bicycle, all in the name of comfort. Oh yeah, comfort is important for all of us human powered people, regardless of how many wheels we have spinning beneath us. So, click the “play” arrow below and hear my latest rants and raves!

Latest from a long lost Canadian triker named Glen …

From Glen Aldridge the Canadian SuperTriker, expert at all things three wheeled, and user of dim light bulbs, comes this latest tale of his tricycling projects … first Glen’s text, hot off his brain, and then followed by some photographs that purport to reveal what in the heck he is talking about! By the way, Glen is the owner of the ever popular tricycle outing business called: Mid Island Adventures, so give the old man a call if you want to have some  triangular pedaling fun up north (250.900.6773 Canadian phone). Everything from here down is from SuperTriker, so if there are any mistakes or other unknown issues, take it up with him (don’t blame me ;-)


Thought I would also let you know about some changes going on.

First the small stuff. I installed a Power Assist on my trike & have learned a few things

about how it effects your & the trikes riding. I am now a firm believer in the Torque Assist

Sensor types that amplify your Pedal Stroke as opposed to the Cadence Sensor type that act more like turning a switch On & Off. The Torque Assist type also simplify your components, reduce the number of connections, wiring & possible problem areas from developing & give you the maximum range out of your battery. I’m sold! Hills are a thing of the past. haha

Mirror Modification – 

One of several problems to overcome adding a Power Assist is where to put everything while still keeping access to the available space. Once I had installed my LCD Display on my left handlebar the only available room for mounting my mirrycle mirror was sticking straight out to the side of my grip. You can see the original in the photo “Bar End.” This meant it either got hit or I had to swing it in every time I passed through trail gates. The dim light bulb in my head finally went on one night & I thought of a solution. I bought a short piece of 1/2″ d. plexi tubing and cut a piece about 3-1/2 inches long. Sprayed the inside & outside with a couple of coats of Tremclad black & bought a pack of 4 in. long screws the same thread as the brass fitting in the mirror arms. (8 x 32″) I had to buy about 25 screws if anyone else wants to do this modification. haha The results seem to work just fine & actually gave me a little more useful room on my left handlebar. You can see the end result in the photos.

I also finished a couple of long term projects that had been simmering in the recesses of my mind. One was my Repair Stand. I had been having a problem of what to use for holding the trike on the stand. Since I often work on various makes of trikes I didn’t want to use the fixed PVC cut pipes that are commonly used plus I wasn’t sure how I would mount them securely in 1 inch square aluminum tubing. There might have been a Power Surge in recent weeks as that light bulb in my head went on again. On boat trailers they use rubber guides to get a boat to where it needs to rest on a trailer before it is tied down. These are called Keel Rollers & they just happen to have a 3 inch wide flat section between two raised ends. Perfect for holding the 2 inch diameter tubing in trike frames. Plus I can swivel the Rollers to match the different crucible angles.

Versatile Trailer – This one has actually been a big bug of mine. All the commercial trailers you buy are either for hauling kiddies or do not give you much cargo room. There are a few heavy haulers out there but I wasn’t about to spend $500. for a utility trailer. I wanted something that could take cargo boxes, maybe 2 x 4 lumber, bulky items & it had to be easy to store. My first headaches came when trying to buy 16 inch wheels with solid axles. I eventually had to buy my own & convert the wheels from Quick Release axles since I didn’t feel they would be strong enough. While I was assembling everything together I had a half sheet of 1/4 inch plywood that I thought would look a lot nicer than the plastic floor I was going to originally use so I sanded it down added 3 or 4 coats of varathane & put my new heavy duty rivet gun to work. I have to stop thinking up projects that I need to buy tools for. :) Anyway, the trailer has come along well & I made a custom mount for the Gekko to connect my trailer hitch & arm & now working on magnetic holders for things like the crates to haul on the trailer.

I bought some 1 inch flat bar aluminum & estimated the angles needed for my wheel deflectors & just hand bent them in my vice. The little black horizontal support pieces were cut from a dollar store broom handle. I made the connector mount for the back of my Gekko as Internal Gear Hubs don’t seem to work well with trailer connectors on their axles.

Now the big stuff. I have decided to powder coat my trike. My only complaint on my Gekko has been the super thin paint job it received. The paint seemed to scratch just by wiping it with a cloth. Since it is now 4 years old I have decided to give this a shot & teach myself a new skill. The Gekko frame breaks down into 3 sections & the longest section is 28 inches long. Since most domestic ovens are 24 inches wide this means that section has to go into the oven kitty cornered. That measures 28 inches corner to corner so that could be a challenge trying not to touch anything while hanging in a 400 degree oven. I have chosen a cherry metallic Powder Coat with chrome accents but will practice first on smaller insignificant pieces. Stay tuned./Glen

PHOTOGRAPHS OF ALL THIS STUFF:

USA Perimeter Ride: The First 150 Miles … on a tricycle!

New Bike Day – Arcade 2020 – John Langlois

It’s two wheels, not three, but it’s a fun watch if you have a few minutes to be amazed:

Steven Telck’s final thoughts about his European trike adventure!

(see prior Trike Asylum recent posts to read Steven’s journals)

Friends,

Three people have written asking if I am back from Europe or if I had chosen to stay. I guess that means more people than I thought might have been reading my emails. I have been back again in Wyoming now for a few weeks. Sorry for the delay in the last message. I have been busy putting my trike back together when I got back to Wyoming and teaching a flute class in South Dakota and it slipped my mind that I should send out a last letter. o here is the last letter with my opinions, thoughts and reminiscences of my trip.

First thing I had to do when I arrived home was find my trike. Yes the airlines lost it somewhere between Denver, Colorado and Casper, Wyoming. Finally after two days it showed up at the house. I was hoping it had been lost as this was the first time I ever insured it for a trip and I could have gotten a new one if the airlines had permanently misplaced my trike. Well the old girl and I are still together so the romance continues between us.

This trip was rough on the trike. I had trouble with the boom constantly pivoting in the frame housing and that has been fixed with “fiber grip”, a rear tire blew out in Germany, idler bearings gave up the ghost on a Sunday in a part of France with no bicycle shops, a bent derailleur hanger caused shifting problems and a constant creak in the front end for the last three weeks of the tour was very distracting. The front middle chain ring is worn out and it and the chain needs to be replaced. At this time the bottom bracket now 10 years old is getting new bearings as they feel like gravel in a pipe instead of bearings.

As a quick refresh of some thing written about previously.

I had a great time visiting England and ICE recumbent trike company. I have been dealing with ICE for ten years via email where they help me with technical problems, make suggestions on best practice and just generally helping me keep my trike working well. They have been more than great in dealing with warranty issues and their products are evolving to suit a new market with their addition of electric assistance trikes. It is just possible I might be looking into that option in a few years, but I want to resist making that move for as long as possible. Any one who might be thinking of purchasing a recumbent trike would be well served to purchase an ICE recumbent.

I remember the kindness of a 13 year old German boy named Sedrick who brought me warm tea when he understood I was fighting a strong chill. He went home in the rain and returned with a thermos of tea. The next day as I was going into the village to get breakfast when I met him coming down to see me with croissants. He is fatherless having lost his father at the age of 10 to some sort of lung cancer. He said his mother never remarried and did not have a boy friend. It seemed like he was happy talking to me and maybe I was for a short time a father figure.

I remember the late lunch in a small French town as a local restaurant where I was scarfing down lunch like there was no tomorrow. At the end of the lunch a cheese platter was brought out as the French commonly have cheese as desert. This platter had about 10 lbs of cheese on it and as the waitress set it down she look at me and said “Please don’t eat all”. I guess the comment was appropriate as I was not interested in a slow two lunch and I was wolfing down lunch as fast as they could bring it to me. I was just filling the hunger I was feeling that after noon not having eaten the night before, nor breakfast as my camp the night before was far from any town. After this little episode I made sure to have some cheese and salami in the bags at all time during the ride.

I watched a cooling tower of a nuclear power plant in Germany which never came online after it was found to have been accidentally built on a fault line be demolished. I sat for nearly 3 hours waiting for the tower to fall only to be caught with my camera shut down when it finally fell.

Near the end of the trip I went up to a local mountain to watch paragliders and it was amazing to watch people run off a mountain with nothing more than a harness and a sail to fly along the cliff faces quietly and gracefully down into a valley below.

I must admit during the whole trip I meet many good people in all the countries I visited. Riding in the Netherlands was a pleasure were every driver allows a bicyclist to share the road and ride safely and there are so many bicycle paths. I found this to be true in all the countries I visited, but must admit the Germans are a bit more aggressive in their driving, yet I never felt at risk in Germany. It was in Germany where a young man really helped me out when my rear tire on my trike blew out on a narrow road with little in the way of a safety margin to repair a tire and which I had no way to fix not carrying a spare tire. After driving me 10 km to a bicycle shop he would not take one Euro for gas.

If any of the readers of this document think or believe the French of being unfriendly they are extremely misinformed. I believe this to be an urban myth from years ago started by people who were not friendly themselves when first meeting French people. I have been to France now twice and both times I met openly friendly people. It is amazing how people will go out of their way to help you when you approach them with a little grace, such as quietly explaining you don’t speak their language and asking politely if they can help you.

I fondly remember all the encouragement offered to me as I climbed Oberalppass and Fukra pass. I was struggling to keep a decent pace and make the summit when younger men and women would come by on light weight upright bikes and shout at me “Brave sir”, “respect”, “You are nearly there, only 2 km to the summit”. These two peaks for me with my load were a challenge and more than once I was considering getting off and pushing the trike, but friendly people kept my spirits up and I climbed over the summits with a great sense of accomplishment.

I remember funny people like the two Germans who made the comment about Switzerland when they said “It is a rich country everyone owns a cow” which means all Swiss have more than enough money or the Swiss man who said that the Swiss Air Force only works from 8am to 12am and 2pm to 6pm, so if the country is attacked outside of those hours they must call Italy for assistance meaning no one in Switzerland works too hard.

I am not sure what “Woodstock” meant to Europeans, but many people my age asked me if I had attended the event. If I had I would have been 17 years old and I was still in high school in Jackson Hole at the time. From what little I know of Woodstock it was an event with lots of music, drugs, few toilets and little in the way of food for the people who attended. I personally think it has been made into an unrealistic American iconic dream which has filtered out to the world culture without being carefully examined. I guess one has to ask themselves what was more important to the people attending the event. Was it the music, the free thinking atmospheres or just the social interactions which took place? The recent attempt to have a 50 year anniversary clearly shows that people today are first and foremost focused on the money which might be made from such events. The world has evolved into a litigious society where nothing can be done without lawyers being involved. No city or even small business can accept the possible financial loss which might occur where people might sue over problems no one would have given a second though to 50 years ago, so I was not surprised to hear that the 50th anniversary flopped as there was not enough money to be made and too many regulations and rules to be addressed. For those that attended Woodstock 50 some years ago I believe money and comfort was the last things on their minds. I am from a generation where the concept of “Glamping” makes no sense to me and therefore I guess I might have enjoyed attending Woodstock if I had gone.

What would I have done different now that I have the luxury of looking back? Well some sort of ultra-lite camp chair would have been nice as sitting on the ground especially wet ground during my 50 days of travel was not fun. Better rain gear for Belgium and the Netherlands would have been in order. In Europe they use something called a rain cape. It has no zipper or a very short one in the front which means it will keep a recumbent rider much drier in the recumbent position. It is sort of a poncho made for bicycling. If I had brought along such a cape, I might not have gotten so cold in Germany, but then again I would not have met Sedric. I would have taken less cash as I found it hard to exchange anywhere other than Switzerland. I would take flip flops in the future rather than crocs, as crocs are much harder to pack and take up a lot of room in my panniers. A bathing suit which I forgot would have been nice for swimming at camp ground pools. A much smaller lock and chain. A 10.8 lb chain and lock was a bit much to push up the mountains of Switzerland.

I had a great time and highly recommend that people should see Europe and try to experience the culture. Moving from country to country is free and easy. The Euro makes currency easier. Keep in mind that England and Switzerland don’t use the Euro. I can honestly say I have been in both Germany and France at least 25 times as I crossed over the Rhine river daily to camp, eat or find a better bike path.

All the pictures and short videos I took are at this link on my Google Drive. If is unfortunate, but many people tell me they have trouble streaming videos stored on my G Drive. Many of my readers have told me they can not access any video and I also can not play a video from my G Drive other than through Internet Explorer. With Chrome it just doesn’t seem to work. If you down load the video it plays on a local computer, but I understand not everyone wants my unprofessional videos cluttering up their computer. If any one is interested in looking at my pictures I will leave the link active for a time.

If my legs continue to hold up I am giving thought to riding the north island of New Zealand in the next few years. Like the European trip it would be totally self supported.

Recumbent Trike Touring China: Winter Training Camp

This is four hours long. I have not watched it yet. Hope it’s worthwhile, or entertaining at least:

Triker Telck – latest news from the road …

August 29

Well I rolled into a campground last night after 6 p.m. so the reception was closed. Went and picked me out a spot, had a nice shower and charged all my electronics. Next morning I was up at 8am which is late for me and there still was no one at reception.  I guess I could have skated out, but I didn’t want to mess with my karma, so waited 30 minutes until they opened up and gave paid. This is a campground chain I stayed at before so they already knew me when I gave them my last name and they said “Steven from Casper?”

As I was pulling out the campground and getting ready the turn onto the trail I heard someone behind me said “You are riding ICE.”  Well the grammar  wasn’t perfect, but I did understand exactly what the person was saying.  Seems he also has an ICE recumbent and had bought it used from someone who had treated it like a first born child and saved quite a lot of money on it.  We discussed all the usual reasons why people want to go to recumbents and he pretty much was more or less in line with my thinking and why I had given up upright bikes for recumbents.  Funny thing  he was riding in a standard bike.  Like me he has found it difficult to transport them on public trains which he was using during his vacation. Remy as it turns out is his name commented on Swiss working hours and especially how easy the hours worked are for the Swiss Air Force.  He said they only work from 8-12 and 2-6.  If Switzerland is attacked outside those hours they must call the Italian army for help. I am sure this was a tongue in cheek comment about how no one works hard in Switzerland including national defense.

As I was pulling into this little town for lunch I got off my trike and lookef back and realised I no longer had a bath towel. I don’t know how it came out from underneath the bungee cords. I could have have sworn it was on  extremely tight, but I won’t make that mistake again.  I found a sporting goods store and picked up a really nice one about 3 times bigger than the one I had lost. Microfiber and thin enough  it should dry overnight.

This is the second travel bath towel I have managed to lose, the first one was in Asia, and now this one here in Europe. I seem to be averaging about 1 travel towel lost for every 2000 km.

I stopped for lunch and the young waitress didn’t speak much English and we had a bit of communication problem.  I was pointing at a list of drinks and she was doing her best to translate to English when I came to one where she said “cider”. I thought a cold cup of cider sounded good to me so I ordered some and strangely enough it came out in a large coffee cup. It was a hot day so I took a big drink and it kind of slapped me in the face as it turned out to be hard cider and very hard.  Sort of tasted like beer made with apples. I ordered buckwheat cheese and ham crepe which was very good. As there was no one outside in the sitting area with me I decided to pull out the bass C flute and just started doing some improv. Another lady came in and sat down and ordered coffee and I looked over and I could see she was tapping her foot. After about 5 minutes when I took a break she came over and started speaking Swiss to me when I asked her if she could speak English and she switch to English but she was struggling.  Turns out she’s about my age and this week she’s going up into the Alps to a retreat, it’s one of those places where you walk a steep hill for 3 hours and then you rest in what they call a rescue hut, but it looks more like a full-blown chalet to me from the picture she had on her phone.  Turns out about 30 minutes later we  still chatting when suddenly in walks a man who she jumps up and greets.  It turns out to be her boyfriend.  Seems that she had recorded some of my playing and sent him the file and he had come over to see the flute. She wanted to know if I was camping or staying at hostels to which I said camping every night. Seems that she and her boyfriend had been in Canada and were told by the camp ground manager there would be no problem with bears and not less than 10 minutes later two of them wandered into their camp.  They had been told to picked up their hiking sticks and hold them up in the air make noises and of course because they were here to tell me the story the bears went away.  After that we started telling silly jokes about how fast do you have to run to out run a bear? Of course everyone in Wyoming knows the answer, it is faster than your slowest friend which they found hilarious.

Today  I rode down the Rhone valley for about 45 km with fantastic peaks on either side of me and the Rhone river running down valley. Think of riding along the Tetons only on both side of the road and running from Jackson to the South entrance of a Yellowstone. It must have been a massive glacier to have cut this valley with such sheer sides.  There seems to be some sort of game of people trying to out do each other in seeing who can places a house higher up a  cliff.  I am still thinking about how some must have been built.  Many of the homes seem to have no roads to them, yet one can see power lines to the houses so there must be some sort of roads.  During the winter there must be no access to these houses other than helicopter, so I take it they are just rich folks summer homes.

Well it turned out I miscalculated my day and did not have enough time to get to the next campground.  I did stop at one, but it was almost deserted.  reception was closed and the restaurant was closed and they were not going to open up again today at least that’s what I thought I translated when I ran it through Google.  There were a lot of open spaces, but I could not tell the if someone might be coming in later so after mulling around for about 25 to 30 minutes I decided to go down the road and realised there was no way I was going to make the next campground before dark.  Well cracking down the bicycle path thinking about what to do I noticed a walking path down towards the river through some weeds.  Rode down about 10 m made a right turn and found open space on the bank next to the Rhone river and that is where I  wild camped for night.  Laying down in the tent dictating this blog there was something outside rustling in the leaves near the tent which is most likely a mouse.  Right now it is rather warm so I don’t know if I will need the sleeping bag or not tonight.

August 30 & 31

Definitely did not need a sleeping bag. If I had not been sleeping on a plastic air mattress I might have taken off my t-shirt.  As it was getting dark I heard the bushes rustling and I looked to see this guy kind of walking down this little path that I am camp next to with his arms up in the air shaking them left and right, up and down.  So of course I was thinking what kind of lunatic do I have coming my way, but he looked at me and just waved and turned off into the main trail and  went away.

Even though I was right next to the River the next morning at 6:30 the tent had no dew on it.  Nice to put away a dry tent

Found a coffee shop that said it was open at 6:30, so I rode 4 km off the route to go check it out.  Had my usual morning tuna sandwich with vegetables and  crossiant and a nice cup of coffee.   Im getting cooked on espresso coffee,  think I will have to invest in a machine when I get back to the States.

After breakfast I started a 12 km climb up into the grape vineyards in Lavaux.  Not a different difficult climb but it was hot and it took awhile.  Coming back down the GPS lead me astray.  I was listening to it call-out turns left and right, but I noticed that the road was tappering down to a walking path. I came around a very sharp corner and because of that I had to do it very slowly and lucky for me the minute I could see I was looking at 10 steps going down at a 45-degree angle. So there I was on a path that was only 4 ft wide and had walls and both sides.  Turning the trike around was a 10 minute ordeal.  First I had to push it backwards about 5 ft to the turning point where I started the game of 100 point turn. Forward and backward, forward and backward I don’t know how many times and finally all I did was get jammed  between the front boom in the back of the rack.  At least it wasn’t going to roll down the hill.  At this point I was so hot and sweaty I was almost tempted to turn the wheels down hill and let it go screaming down the vineyards and claim the insurance. I finally decided the only safe thing to do was get on the downhill side of the track grab the frame and drag the rear around the corner so I could move the boom forward. The reason I chose be on the downhill side is at least I could put my knee against the panniers and hold it from flipping and rolling backwards. If I was on the up outside it would probably get away from me. On grades greater than 5% where I am at an angle to the road the minute I get out the seat the trike wants to flip over on its side because it’s top heavy and this was the problem I was dealing with while I was trying to get it unjammed at the corner.  So after grabbing a firm hold on the rear and dragging the rear tyre as I was pulling the truck sideways I finally got it turned around, but the path was too steep to ride up.  So I got behind the trike and lean on my walking cane which is in the plastic tube and pushed.  It turns out I don’t need my steering harness after all.  All I have to do is lean against the top of the cane either left or right and the bike wheels torque steer in the direction I wanted to go. Push right it goes left in vice versa.  I finally got down after a time. The roads were really steep and my brakes hot. I was a bit shaken so I do what I usually do when I’m like that,I stop and have something to eat. It turned out to be a cup of espresso and the best strawberry cream tart I’ve ever had.

Still trying to figure why people seem to think it’s not possible to put in a couple thousand km on a trike yet they don’t question the fact that someone on a regular bike does it.  It must be the small 20 inch wheels and the fact that it sorry low to the ground.  I had one guy look at me like he thought I might have been lying to him when I told him I went over Fukra pass on the trike.  I don’t think Fukra pass is the hardest pass in the Alps, but it is definitely one of the big boys.

I was coming in to Lausanne when I decided to go see the big cathedral and yes you guessed it it’s on the highest point of the city.  So I have Google maps giving me turn by turn instructions and down the road I’m going when suddenly I hit a barricade.  A bunch of people standing around with a few policemen and I was thinking what is this a hostage situation?  Didn’t take long to figure out what was going when 15 young men came screaming by on bicycles so close to each other they could share wheels.  Don’t know what event is going on, but it’s going on for 3 days.  So I am climbing this one long and steep street on the sidewalk because the road was closed for the races.  Again I’m down in my lowest gear getting up the street at about 4 km per hour and here comes a bunch of these young bucks and the past me on the hill like I was in reverse.

Anyway I continue up this long grade of 2.5 km to the top of the hill only to arrive just in time to be told that they were closing for the day but I could come back tomorrow.  I thought fast chance of me going down the hill coming back in the morning so I took some outside pictures and that’s when I ran into the Americans. They were from San Diego California and like many of the Europeans could not believe I was touring around on a recumbent with the tiny little wheels.  One of the  guys had left the States 25 years ago to  live in Switzerland with his Swiss wife.  He says he loves the quality of life here and every time he goes back to San Diego to see his dad it’s not more than a week before he wants to come back to Switzerland. We shoot the fecal matter for about 45 minutes and they were the ones to inform me about this campgroundp here because I mention with these races going on I thought I might have to ride 30 km out of town to find a camping site.  It’s crowded here just like last night and the 6 young bucks next to me have been listening to rap music which they finally turned off and are chattering like Chipmunks even though it is past 9:30.  There are quite a few older people here unlike the last night so I don’t think they’re going to be running about at 3 in the morning talking so loud it was difficult to sleep. I find it amazing that the people here will switch from French to English to German and back French and English several times in just a few minutes.  I’m not sure why they do it, but they can with very little trouble.

Well it was a hard day with all the climbing but I don’t think I got more than 30 km in riding.  60% chance of rain tomorrow afternoon and a cold spell coming in.  Not sure what the Swiss consider a cold spell for this time of year.

Older pic’s

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=11CZ1ZhS1aBLjd0bA0rnAgpZzJakbQRD8

Newest pics

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1AmZDjoYauzi-qz_CTwNIeEfsOCNqXA4X

Present location in Switzerland.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=46.515129+6.5986065

I apologize for not posting sooner but many things have happened that if kept me very busy and doing this on the cell phone is not the easiest thing to do, so I will just start up again like nothing has happened and we’ll go from here.

I’m riding out of town when I see a guy coming down the bike path on the same side of the road towards me. This is not unusual as many roads have bike paths on both sides of the road and they are bi-directional. I keep hearing the little Ding-a-Ling ding-a-ling warning everyone here including me uses as a polite warning to people who are not paying attention.  I waved at him and he waves at me and I figure we have made acknowledgement yet I keep hearing the little bell.  So I’m thinking this guy is just plain bell happy or maybe ding-a- ling in the head, until I look left and see a whole herd of sheep standing next to the bicycle path grazing and they’re the ones doing the ding a ling sounds as every last one of them is wearing a bell around its neck.  I wonder if the guy approaching was thinking I was the ding-a-ling?

I am not more than 2 km inside of France yet no shop here will take a Swiss franc. This means a stop at a bank somewhere to exchange the 150 Swiss francs I have to euros as they are totally useless in France. If I can’t find a bank to accept the Swiss francs then I’ll withdraw money with my debit card.

Yesterday was a challenging day. Finding camping was a problem. I rode out to an area that was called camping on Google maps, but it turned out to be a public park of scrub trees and dirt. Clouds overhead were threatening a downpour and the last thing I wanted to do was wake up in the morning h to break camp  Next camping was shown as being 23 km away so I as it was early in the afternoon I thought I would risk the rain and ride towards it.  It should be noted that Google maps will send you on a path to hell if you’re not careful when using it.  Well I was not careful and I did not notice that the last 5 km on the map had changed to this really thin line which usually means dirt or worse and of course it was worse.  I have never ridden my trike down a rougher road and that includes all the kilometres in Vietnam. About 2 km from the campsite the road is in one or two conditions, loose gravel and large boulders or large chunks of old asphalt mixed in with loose gravel and large boulders.  It is slightly uphill which means I’m down in my lowest gear fighting these rocks slipping the rear wheel here and there and sometimes just coming to a standstill until I can push backwards and find a different way to go. I finally hit asphalt again and by now my legs feel like spaghetti and I’m barely getting up the hill. When I get to the campground I’m sitting on the trike in front of reception trying to catch my breath and I look down and and noticed that my chain idler looks strange.  Upon closer inspection I can see that it has broken the outer bearing and spilt all the balls out onto the ground  most likely  somewhere in the last 2 km. Well not much you can do on Sunday other than check-in, put up your tent and start thinking about what to do on Monday.  I email ICE and wait for Monday morning to see what they have to say.  In the meantime I take the idler of))lf the trike, clean up the maybe one good bearing  and then with a strong flash light find out it is a standard 608RS bearing. This is the size of bearing used in larger wheel rollerblades.

Now a bit of diversion and a short discussion on on what it means to Google when you say “near me”.  First and foremost the distance estimate they offer to you before you actually ask for directions is always always less than what it actually turns out to be calculated. I figured this is simple to understand in that Google must use a straight line estimate or as the bird flies from your present location to the shop. Also one has to be careful how you asked the question, campgrounds near me and camping near me often give different results.  The issue which I can’t put my head around yet is what is the value used for “near me”? You can ask the question and find a shop 12 km away, start riding towards it, still be 10 km away and asked the same question in Google will show you a shop 2 km away which was still much nearer than when you asked the first question, but never showed up in the search. Now back to the issue of the idler with the bad bearing.

So I start some near me searches, bicycle shops, bicycle repair, rollerblade shops and everything comes up 10 to 12 km away.  Now someone with my feet that’s a bit of a hike. So I’m sitting here in camp on a trike that I can’t ride two feet wondering what to do next.

I decided to begin a new search and this time I used sporting goods and damn if there isn’t one 1.5 km from the campgrounds. I give the shop a call top talk with someone who speaks English, but you could tell by the way they are responding to the questions they did not understand what I needed so it was time to pick up the old cane and take a little hike. I arrived at the shop at 9:15 in the morning and it doesn’t open until 9:30 so I sit down and have a coffee and begin contemplating what I might have to do if I can actually get my hands on a bearing. Finally the shop opens and I walk in and find a young man who speaks English showing my greasy bearing and he just shakes his head no. I asked if they sell rollerblades to which he responds yes and takes me over to the  very limited display.  So I’m standing in the isle contemplating if I should buy a pair of $80 rollerblade just so I can steal two bearings out of the six wheels with 3 dollars I’m just about ready to make this move when I look around this one pair of rollerblades hanging and I see one spare 100mm replacement wheel with two 608RS  bearings mounted in it for €10. Yes those two bearings cost me 5 times more than if I just bought the bearings separately on the internet, but it was probably only 1 fifth the cost at having them overnight Expressed from England.

So back up the hill to the campground to remove the inner race from the damage bearing off the centre bolt which involved a small crescent, a large crescent, a spanner and a small amount of sacrificial blood, but it did come off.  So now I’m sitting in the grass with the clean bolt, a large washer, a small washer and a rollerblade wheel with two bearings in it which I need to get out. I thought it was going to be a big hassle to do that, but they walked right out when I put a allen wrench in the centre and just wiggled them back and forth. I would have thought it much harder thinking them to be pressed in much tighter.  So I slipped the new bearings into the old idler housing and attached the assembly to the trike.  I sent a picture to Patrick telling him I think I got it sorted out to which you kindly replied not quite. Seems that the larger washer belongs inside the housing between the two bearings. This has me scratching my head as I’ve only taken the idler off once in the 10 years and I do not believe I ever remove the bearings and to the best of my knowledge this large washer has always been mounted on the outside.  Patrick has never steered me wrong so I took it all apart put the big washer inside, put some loctite on the bolt and put it back on the trike and it did run smoother. Thank you Patrick.

So I’m laying in the tent patting myself on the back for having fixed the trike when suddenly I hear some meowing. Behind my head I can feel the mosquito netting moving.  I turn over on the air mattress in I am face to face with Mr or Mrs Kitty.  I get a few more polite meows  and off it wanderded.

I am presently staying with the family that is a member of  Trustroots.  Think of it as a cross between warm showers and couch surfing.  It is a group of people who want to get to know each other in a deeper way rather than just having somebody drop in for one day then leave.  Quentin the man who accepted me for hosting said I could stay for one week or two as it didn’t matter is they had plenty of room in the loft. I opted for some nice expanse of greengrass, at my age I should sleep in the bathroom instead of the bedroom and getting up and down that loft didn’t seem all that practical to me. Quentin is a border in the house and practical member of the family.

As I understand it the house belongs to the mother and father of the married couple and their three children who live here. I don’t know if Quintin pays to live here or just helps with the constant ongoing renovation of the house.  It has a loft over a garage with sleeping spaces in it that they keep open for people travelling and need a place to stay either short or long term such as me. Every morning I have breakfast with the family and dinner.  The family seems to be about 95% vegetarian. They have a fair size garden which is more or less neglected since they are so busy with the house reconstruction yet it seems to produce a fair amount of squash, tomatoes and other common garden vegetables.  They have a pear tree and apple tree and two fig trees.

I went on a picnic with them today and watched their son Arsene skateboarding in one of those  concrete roller parks. He just flies on that board.  I would have fallen off in the first half pipe and broke half the bones in my body.

When we got back to the house Quinton my host and I sat around and played music.  He brought out his didgeridoo  and his African drums and his panpipes and I noodled a long with my native American flute.

We had a nice vegetarian dinner composed of zucchini squash from the garden the biggest tomatoes I’ve ever seen in my life. These are known as heritage tomatoes.  We also had rye bread and wheat bread and some othere bread made of spelt.

I have been camping out in the backyard of these folks for 2 days.  All three of their children are homeschooled and they know three other families that do the same.  I don’t have a clear understanding of how this functions but it would seem that the children have to be reviewed by the school board every 3 to 6 months and if they feel they are doing well enough they can continue in homeschooling but if they’re not then they must return to public school.

This couple makes their own rice milk. They said that they used to buy it but they were throwing away all kinds of cardboard cartons and they thought that was very wasteful so now they make their own every few days and bottle it in reusable glass bottles.

The family believes caffeine is not good for them so they brew chicory coffee every morning. It is the first time I have had pure chicory coffee and it’s tasty, but I still prefer coffee.

Quinton the man who invited me to stay here works odd jobs and deliberately only works half time so he can have more free time off to enjoy life. The family of five that stays in the house with him have a small truck in which they move from place to place within four different nearby towns selling pizzas.  This morning they’re going to get up and do some prep work and mix dough for pizza crust. I’m going to learn how to make the dough that they make because they also it as a bread and I really enjoy the taste.  Everything they use in their business is what they call bio and we would call organic.

Quentin sleeps in a tree during the warmer months.  He built a tree house and everything is lashed together with rope and even has a rope ladder up to the platform because he did not want to drive nails into the tree.

I did the same thing one summer in California years ago where I lived in a hammock about 10 feet off the ground in a large old avocado tree, but I didn’t have the tree house, just the hammock.

The trip so far for the trike has been rather good.  I have had only minor problems one which would have left me walking if I had not found the solution and that was the chain idler.  There was one blown out back tyre where a German man who spoke no English pick me up in his Ford pickup and took me 10 km into the nearest bike shop. I also had to replace the cable and housing to the rear derailleur two days ago at a shop s it was getting very stiff to shift. They did a very good job of adjusting it for me after I put it in the trike.

The tent looks like it’s about 20 years old.  It has never been so dirty and that includes many of my extended backpacking trips. It will require a lot of cleaning when I get home especially since many dirty birdies have been dive bombing my rain fly.

Well time to wrap up this one. as usual here are the links to the folder with other pictures and the folder with newer pictures and my present location in France.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=11CZ1ZhS1aBLjd0bA0rnAgpZzJakbQRD8

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1AmZDjoYauzi-qz_CTwNIeEfsOCNqXA4X

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=45.2809967+5.8741192

If anyone has any trouble accessing my Google drive let me know.

Steven

Wayfaring Stranger

Let’s Visit the Utah Trikes Website!

Need a trike? Want it customized? Here is one potential solution:

Let’s Visit the Performer Website!

Trike Hobo Steve Greene visits the Performer Cycles website to see what they have to offer for 2019 in the way of recumbent tadpole tricycles:

Latest news from triker Steven Telck, currently pedaling the world once again …

August 16

Went to visit some ancient Roman ruins which consisted of an amphitheatre in very good shape and a museum. Could not get a decent picture of the amphitheatre as they were  setting up a sound stage for an event in a few days. Decided to go to the museum as it was only 8€. I forgot to bring my lock and the cashier would not allow me to leave the trike out front where she might keep an eye on it.   Getting to the museum was a bit of a trouble as it was half a kilometre of a hill so steep I could barely get up it even without the trike being loaded. Could not see riding all the way back down to the campground and then back up that hill again so I just asked for a refund and went on my way.  Really don’t understand why they had to be such sticklers about the bicycle parked in front especially when I walked up to pay for the ticket with my cane. They were polite but they would not bend.

After riding back down to the campground I started a play my bass C flute and a young lady and a man walked up and started asking questions. After a short conversation they invited me over to the snack bar and bought me a drink. It turns out the lady was a Swiss social worker. She has climbed more than a few peaks in Switzerland with her boyfriend.

August 17

Last camp ground was very structured and very full of children. By structured I mean they even had marked out the area you were supposed to put your tent in with a chalk outline and it was like bric-a-brac houses the tents were so close together.  It also seems for whatever reason about 25% of all the children there were unhappy campers. Not the best late afternoon in a campground I had experienced so far.

So I’m riding down a gravel road and I see a man and a lady approaching me. They stopped as I approached so I assumed they wanted to talk, and it is usually about the trike. I Idon’t know what it was about the man, but I just assumed he spoke English so I started right off in English. The first thing the man says is, what was it about me that made you think  I spoke English?  I told him the truth, I was just damn tired and forgot to even ask if he spoke English. Well it turns out he was English and his wife is German. We had a long  talk about the trike and the benefits of riding one. I let him sit in the trike and he tried to stretch out to the pedals, but his legs were not long enough. He openly admitted that it seemed a lot more comfortable than sitting on a regular bicycle. I don’t know why more people don’t ride either recumbent trikes or bicycles if for no other reason just the comfort factor.  It was pointed out to me by a sage man once that trying to get someone to give up their regular bike and move over to a recumbent is something like trying to get a Scotsman to wear pants.

August 18

Today was a long series of hill climbs one so steep I almost had to get off the trike and push, but I just get it over the top before my legs gave out.

Around 5 p.m. I was thinking about starting to look for a place to wild camp as I could not find any camp spots using Google that were every remotely close.

Met two ladies walking down the path that I was on. This time even being damn tired I had enough sense to politely ask if they spoke English to which both of them started chatting  with me and in very good English. They were somewhat surprised to know that I had just cracked out 1400 kilometres on this trip.  I was rather surprised when I looked at the trip meter also. I guess all that wondering about north France the Netherlands and Belgium added up.  We will not go into great detail about the approximately 100 kilometres of being lost or similar trying to find a bicycle shop which were not related directly to the route.

Coming into camp tonight is a bit strange. It is located behind a big hotel which is up for sale and when I came in I could find no reception or anyone even interested in collecting money.  I need to see what the place was like so I drove on in to find a very beautiful grassy field full of apple trees and one other group of people camping.  I asked about the reception and they said not here tonight will come in the morning. Now here is where it starts getting strange.This looks like an ordinary man, his wife and an eight year old girl child. As I am playing my flute they drive their very nice black van away from the camping area down to the parking area. They then walk back and start breaking down camp, folding chairs and foldable tables and other things to carry to their van. They even unlocked their 3 bicycles and rolled them down to the van to lock them up next to the van.  It should be noted as I was told by the cashier across the street at the convenience store that most of the people camping here are migrant fruit pickers.   The fruit pickers are in the little cabins up at the other corner quite a distance away, I am the only camper in the tent area.

Now back to the couple of the black van.  I am assuming they camped in the spot I saw them in Saturday and Sunday and no one ever came around looking for money. They may have talked with the migrant pickers who told them the owner was not here during the weekend and they decided to move to the parking area so they would not be charged for camping. What I don’t get it and makes absolutely no sense to me is why didn’t they just pack up everything and put it in the van while in the camp spot and then move the vehicle.  I don’t know how many trips they made carrying things back-and-forth a distance of about 200 yards each time.

Not sure what to do about omorrow.   When I rode I didn’t even see an office. plan B get up at the usual 6:30 and be on the road by 7:20.if there was even a dropbox I would leave €10 or something, but I can’t find a thing.

Raining cats and dogs again. lightning storm going on so bad it looks like a malfunctioning flash.

Think I finally ran my squeak down. It would appear to be a bad right pedal, but unfortunately most bicycle shops are closed Sunday and Monday so I’m going to have to listen to it squeak until sometime Tuesday.

274 km to Andermatt all more or less hills.

A micro burst just hit. Trying to blow the tent down. Laying on the wind side too keep the tent in place. Feels like small hail. Starting to get cold. Time to pull the new sleeping bag out of the compression sack. Getting difficult to write with the tent in my face. Hope a pole doesn’t break as this is rated only a three season tent. Yep got to get in the bag,

Yep temperature really dropped.

By for now. Wind stopped, but still chilly. All poles seem intact. More dry than wet.

Wayfaring Stranger


August 20

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=47.4914988+9.5652607

Spent most of the morning looking for a new right pedal in Koblenz.  Went from one shop to another and no one had anything that would work. Even found a recumbent shop and they were closed. The pedals are not real oddballs, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to find them here in Europe.  Might just have to live with the squeak until I get home, that is if the needle bearings hold up.

I have got to take that yellow duck off the front of the trike and put him in a bag.  Seems just his mere presence means that it’s going to rain everyday and everynight. I think I have a strong sense of what it must be like to live in either Washington or Oregon.  So far the Ortlieb bags are holding up and everything which is supposed to stay dry is dry.  Even the cheap Chinese knock off top bag is keeping everything dry. Tent is constantly damp as I never have time to dry it out if I’m going to get on the trail at a reasonable hour.

Almost rolled the trike today. Some guy on a bicycle not paying attention pulled right in front of me at an intersection and I had to make a hard right in order not to hit him. The right front wheel came off the ground as I went around him and I was hiked out on the right side of the seat to keep it balanced. I think I scared the rider of the other bicycle more than I did myself as I’ve done this before, both intentionally and unintentionally.  The front wheels will usually hold the turn, but the rider has to be smart and quick to get out on the outside of the seat to keep from rolling.  I have only rolled the trike twice before and both times were at speeds less than 2 miles an hour.  Once was coming down a hill at a diagonal trying to not pick up too much speed and I misjudged the angle and rolled the trike right at the bottom.  The other time was pulling up into an angle driveway in Thailand where the left thread wheel slipped off the ramp I rolled over like a turtle. I keep forgetting that the trike’s centre of gravity is rather high if I’m not sitting in it with my lead butt when it is fully loaded for touring.   A few times I have parked it on slopes at slight angles and started to stand-up to have it want to roll over as I  got off of it.  Here’s an interesting little piece of information. I understand it is the law that a driver must open their door with the right hand in Holland. This means that they have turned towards the door and have some vision towards the left side and are looking at the rear view mirror as they are opening the door. This helps prevent people opening doors right in front of bicyclist. I have seen hundreds of people walking dogs and almost every last dog whether it’s a little Chihuahua or the biggest hound is on a leash. Yesterday a dog who was probably more afraid than aggressive started to take a lunge at me. His owner jerked it back so quickly I thought it was going to break the poochs neck. Must be some really tough laws in Europe about letting your dog bite people or even threaten people.

Rained most of the day and I was soaking wet by 3pm. I was getting badly chilled in a wind and needed to get some dry clothing on.

Found a three-sided born with irrigation pipe in it and enough room for the trike and for me to put up my tent. Just finished putting on a dry t-shirt and a dry riding jersey when a young boy pulled on up his bicycle and started speaking Swiss to me. It turns out this young boy’s name is Sedric. I told him I only spoke English and immediately switched English. He asked all the usual questions about the trike and I answered them. He wanted to know why I was staying at such an odd place and I told him I was severely chilled and needed to get warm and out of the rain.  He then volunteerrd to ride a half kilometre in the rain to his house, make me some hot tea and bring it back in a thermos. I asked him if his dad knew what he was doing and he said “my father died 3 years ago when I was 10 from a lung tumor”.  He then told me about the day he was called in to the principal’s office to be told that his father had died while he was at school. He said all the children cried with him including the tough guys. I played my flutes for him, while we discussed other things and then he said he had to go to make some phone calls to set up some kind of training day. He says he wants to be a landscaper.  since he doesn’t plan to go to college. He has to look into what he wants to do for his apprenticeship.

I settled in for the night and it rained all night long, but the roof of the barn was watertight and the floor was dry.

The next morning I was riding into town to get some breakfast and halfway there Sedric was coming down the hill on his way to school with two croissants. I thanked him very much for the croissants and he was off to school. Sedric seemed very lonely to me, but maybe I was just reading to much into the incident.

So I am sitting at the market having just finished two croissants and drinking a small bottle of apple juice when an old lady comes up and starts speaking Swiss with me until I tell her I only speak English. She then says “You have good ride ok!”  I had just gotten up and thrown my plastic bottles in the recycle bin and sat back down on the trike when she came out with two bread rolls and a bottle of chocolate milk.  Didn’t have the heart to try to explain I was full, so I drank the chocolate milk and put the bread rolls in a bag to be eaten later in the day. She smiled sweetly at me and  walked away.

Later in to the day I was riding down a bicycle path when I saw a lady leaning against a building next to her bicycle and she waved at me so I pulled up and asked her if she had problems.  She said  she had no problems, but she had never seen a trike. Turns out that she is from Holland and was going to Italy for a 2-week class in sculpting. She said she had taken up sculpting about a year ago. We rode together for the remainder of the afternoon chatting about this and that until we got to the town where I’m presently located. We had a light lunch together and she then went to the train station to buy some tickets to Italy and booked a room for the night. I rode off 1.5 kilometres to this campground.

Here is where I am

Tennisplatzweg. 7000 Chur. Switzerland

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=46.8609575+9.5049327

Links to my G Drive both the folder with older pictures and the newer.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=11CZ1ZhS1aBLjd0bA0rnAgpZzJakbQRD8

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1AmZDjoYauzi-qz_CTwNIeEfsOCNqXA4X

Wayfaring Stranger


August 22

Found a cafe which was open this morning at 6:30 which is rather unusual. It seems most places don’t open till 9am or later.  I wanted get a breakfast sandwich and had no idea what the lady was saying to me as she spoke no English other than she said curry. Turns out it was a curry tuna sandwich.  At first blush that doesn’t sound all that appealing, but it was really good.  Good thing I was wearing a yellow jersey as I managed to drop some of it on my shirt and at least it didn’t show.

After breakfast the morning started out pretty easy kind of rolling up and down nothing serious no hard grades.  I was beginning to think maybe I had read the profile wrong, but soon I hit the foothills of the first climb and that quickly changed my thinking.

This was one tough day, long hard climbs I could barely get up with my lowest gear. I got 57 km done today and it was all I could do to get to this campground. Ride tomorrow is 51 kilometres  and three quarters of that will be one long hard climb.  I figure I’ll be sleeping high somewhere near a pass tomorrow night. I’m washing and drying all my clothes tonight so that I’ll have everything clean tomorrow, so if I need to put on two pair of pants and 3 shirts and then get in my sleeping bag I will have a chance of staying warm.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=46.7411961+8.9947885

August 23

While I was packing up this morning a Swiss man walked up and said I see you have Thai writing on the back of your tricycle.  Seems that his wife died 12 years ago from COPD and he was tired of the cold winters so he moved to Thailand and bought a house on an island called Samui.  He only returns to Switzerland for the summers and the very moment it even starts to get chilly according to him he’s off back to Thailand.

I stopped for breakfast this morning at a little food shop and got to chatting with the gal that was running the register. Her English was very good, but there was something strange about the way she was speaking it until I realized it sounded like she might have to learned English in the states.  It turns out I was right and she was raised the first 12 years of her life in San Diego and then return to Switzerland when her father’s work brought him home.

She told me that 1.5 km out of town the asphalt would turn to a double track rocky road again. Well I have done many kilometers on such roads but she didn’t mention how rocky it was and how steep it was. I was unable to maintain traction on the drive wheel so I had to get off and push the trike up about 450m and as it has been since the start of this trip suddenly this nasty road turns back into smooth asphalt.

About 10 km farther down the road suddenly I am faced with a large earthmover digging a hole in the middle of the road.    It is plain he is not going to move the equipment so I have to jump over the side off into the grass.  I am hiked out on the left side of the bike seat trying to keep it from rolling down the side of this grassy hill and get around this mess and then proceed back down the hill to the Rhine River.  I am pumping my way up this steep asphalt road when the phone suddenly says that I’m to make a hard left turn which turns out to be again nothing but loose gravel and rock. Checked and double-checked the map by moving forward so the GPS will show me which direction I’m going. I try going down the hill and everything else, but no matter what I do it says you got to go up this hill. So once again I’m in my lowest gear, dear old grandma and up this hill I go spinning the rear tire here and there and finally I reached the top next to some old barn to look down the trail to see it narrowing down to something that is so narrow that even a person on a bicycle with bags would not be able to proceed.  I noticed that at the end of the trail where it’s sort of just drops off for feet onto a new road is the same road I had seen down at the bottom, but had not taken because the routing did not show it as being the correct direction. I turn the track around on this narrow little path and headed back down this rocky road slipping and sliding all the way down and turn it back up the road which I had passed up before.  There was a man coming down this road on his bicycle who stopped me and said 200 meters up the road is a big bulldozer sitting in the middle of the road with a guy on it saying you can’t go any farther because this section of the trail is being fixed. By this time I’ve wasted about an hour and a half  and had not gone more than 800 meters.  So I’m sitting in the shade looking at the route that is set up buy Komoot mapping and finally decided that the only way I’m going to get anywhere to take a larger road in parallel up on the hill which you guessed it means more climbing. It turns out it is not a bad road and just enough safety margin so that I can get into town without being run over by a cement truck.

Before proceeding out of town I decided it was time to get some cash. Took out my debit card put it in an ATM and the damn thing swallowed it.  Well it seems that folks here in Switzerland and many parts of Europe take an hour-and-a-half for lunch and they had just left at 12:30 they would not be back until 2 p.m.  I hung around, drink some water out of the fountain which is okay because that’s what it’s there for, play the flute, wait for them to open the bank .  I also spent 60 minutes of frustration trying to call the international helpline for a MasterCard to see what was going on. I could never make a connection no matter what number format I used.  Finally the bank opens so I go inside. There’s a nice young lady and she tries to help me out and tries to call the same number that’s listed on the internet and can’t get a connection.  After trying for about 45 minutes we decide that it’s a lost cause and I will never know why the card was cancelled other than it was the first time I tried to use it in Switzerland and maybe when I called before my trip I forgot to mention Switzerland as one of the countries I was going to visit and the bank figured somebody else was trying to use it. My real problem is if that’s the case and I can’t get ahold of them then I can’t tell them I’m in Switzerland and if I try to use my credit card in an ATM it’s likely to be shut down also.  I just can’t figure out why the emergency phone number posted by MasterCard for people overseas will not work nor can I dial their normal 800 number which from what I read on the internet maybe because they block international calls to keep their costs down.  So the end result is I can’t use their 800 number, I can’t use their emergency number if you’re outside of the United States and so far there doesn’t seem to be any way to contact them via email that I can find. So by the time this is done I decide that I’m not going to be able to figure out what’s wrong with the card and I just exchanged 500 US dollars for some Swiss francs.

I decided to step into a pharmacy and get some medication I need only to find out they don’t have it, but are willing to have it for me by 8 a.m. the next morning.  If I wasn’t being led down the garden path by the pharmacist then the next available pharmacy was nearly 80 km away. I therefore tell him to order the medication and I will come and get it in the morning.

By now it is almost 4 p.m. and I have must decide between a campground only 1.8 km away or 20 km away. Considering both campgrounds would cause me to double back to pick up my medication I choose the one 1.8 km away, which also happened to be down a very steep road and 450 vertical meters, which I am required to pedal my way back up in the morning to get my medication. So tomorrow I have to climb almost 1,480 ft up a road that’s around 10% grade. I figure it’ll take at least an hour with my load and legs. Only good part of the whole thing is I’ll be doing it at 7 a.m. in the morning so it should still be cool.

Oh and to put a little cherry on on top of my day it just started raining.

Now everyone that meets me says where you going, to which I say Andermatt, to which they say on that thing?  I’m hoping they’re not right in their skepticism.  Fortunately every one of them is quick to remind me all I have to do is jump on the red train.  I came here to test my metal and I’m going to do my damnjest to get up to the top of Oberalppas which is only 6,700 feet.  In Yellowstone Park I got over a pass at 9,200 feet with very little problems, but the park tends to build their roads with reasonable grades. I’ve had a few people tell me jokingly that the Swiss make the grade of the road much steeper than average just so they can save asphalt and test their turbo chargers.  I don’t care how many switchbacks I have to do as long as the grade is 4% or less I can ride that all day long.  A grade of 8% with the load I’m carrying is doable but it’s slow and anything greater than that is really putting some strain on my knees. Once I make Andermatt I will have reached my goal and I will take the red train over the  pass which is 385m or 1260 higher and have them drop me off at the top where I will more or less coast down into lake Geneva.  It should be noted that many people have asked me why I have not put an electric motor on my trike and I have to ask myself that many times every day as I’m struggling up these steep roads.

Well enough for today and here is a link to the newest pictures in the folder “newest”.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1AmZDjoYauzi-qz_CTwNIeEfsOCNqXA4X

Wayfaring Stranger


Hello everyone,

August 24

Believe it or not I got free coffee and croissants this morning. It was about 15 minutes before the coffee shop usually opened, but the waitress was putting out chairs and she’s served me early. After finishing coffee there was no one around so I pulled out the flute and started playing for about 15 minutes waiting for the pharmacy to open.  When I asked for the check the waitress came over and said the music was very nice and your coffee and croissants are free.  I don’t know if it was her decision or the manager who I caught now and then looking out the door and watching me as I played. Nice!

St arted the climb out of Disentis 8:30 am and reached the summit of Oberalppass at 2 pm. I was in my lowest gear 85% of the time.  On the way up other riders passing me or coming down the hill would give me the thumbs up. Someone shouted at me in what I believe was German, 2.3 km Oberalppass.   I figured that meant 2.3 km to the summit. It was the encouragement I needed to get to the summit and the fact that there was absolutely no where to wild camp if I could not make it in one day.

Coming down the other side I had to watch my speed as the grade was steep and the trike was getting squirrelly over 45 miles an hour with my load on the back.

I don’t think I have the legs to get over Furka pass. It is 200 meters higher and my routing software shows  6 places in the 20 km to  to the top of the pass  having  grades of 15%. I’m thinking about taking the afternoon bus to the summit and riding down the 384 kilometres to Grenoble.

The elevation profile shows it’s mostly downhill from the top of Furka pass to Grenoble. I figure I can do that in 4 easy days or 5 slow ones.

Well I guess tonight I’m going to see if the temperatures will get down as low as everyone has been telling me in Andermatt.

When I arrived in Andermatt there was some sort of bicycle rally going on. Must have easily been a thousand people here of which 95 % have already gotten in there cars and gone home.  The campground was wall the wall tents, but now it is kind of  deserted.

August 25

Yes it turns out that the nights were quite cold in Andermatt.

Mulled around the idea of taking a bus or train partway or just riding over Fukra pass.

Around 11:30 a.m. about 3 hours later than I should be leaving I decided I was going to go ahead and just ride up the pass.

First 7 kilometres were easy and misleading. The grade just started gradually getting steeper. Still not much worse than the climb over Oberalppas.

I was in my lowest gear 98% of the time. A slow and steady 4 kilometres per hour or 2.5 mph which is just about average walking speed up mountains. I was averaging about 1000 vertical feet per hour, which meant at that rate I was going to take at least 6 hours to get over the pass.  It turned out it took me 6.25 hours. I would like to call the road two lane road, but in most places it’s a lane and a half. The drivers of the tour buses are very professional. At times I was stopped catching my breath in places which was causing them issues getting the buses pass my trike.  They would just give me a little toot of their horn in point me to where they wanted me to move so they could pass. After about the first four or five times this happened I figured out how much room they needed and where I should and should not stop for a rest. There were few periods were traffic was halted while people sorted out who was going by who and who was going to move over to the side to allow passage where I actually caught up and pasted cars. Everyone was civilized and everything proceeded up the mountain or down depending on your perspective in what I considered a safe manner.  Some of the young bucks on their souped-up motorcycles may have not made it home, considering how they were charging downhill into every hair pin corner 7.

Fukra pass was the longest and hardest climb I have ever made on either a bicycle or my trike.  Halfway up I wanted to stop and throw my panniers down into the valley.

2 km from the summit I stopped to watch parasails sailing on the up drafts along the side of the mountains. One guy must have noticed the trike parked and sailed right over the top of it about 50 feet above and waved at me as he passed.

Coming down Fukra was tricky as the grades seemed even steeper. Keeping control of the speed of the trike was very critical because I’m so top-heavy with my gear and sitting tall in the saddle. The road had a lot of dips, bumps and holes in the asphalt just perfect to catch a small tire the wrong way.

I started noticing first one then the other brake handles were pulling back farther and farther towards the bars and I had to stop and re-adjust the brakes. I don’t know if the clevis pin holding the brake cable against thedrum brake arm was slipping or it was just wear on the shoes of the Sturmey Archer brakes. I am thinking I probably wore off about 3 years of normal brake pad coming down that road. Today I need to pull both drums off and sand the brakes as they are  squeaking which means they are glazed. I imagine the drums were rather toasty on the way down the hill.

Yesterday I was talking with a German man and his daughter when the subject came around to how expensive it is  in Switzerland. He made the following statement “Switzerland is a rich country, everyone owns a cow”.

I understood the basic meeting. If you had a cow you had milk which you could sell or turn into cheese what you could sell.  A few other people told me it has more to do with the government and the fact that everyone gets paid extremely well no matter what they do. that makes sense because the prices here are almost double what you pay for anything in the states. No one even blinks at paying $3.50 for a dinky little cup of coffee or $3 for 400 mL bottle of Coke.  The next time I go to a local supermarket I’m going to look at the prices for the things I’ve been purchasing at the campgrounds and see how they compare.

Well here is the link to the newest file on my g drive, I tried to remove all the duplicates and doubles best I can with my cell phone.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1AmZDjoYauzi-qz_CTwNIeEfsOCNqXA4X

here’s my present location I think I might even stay here two days as it’s very nice.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=46.4552266+8.2264774

Steven


I think I might have saved a man’s sanity. The last campground I pulled into was so nice I decided to stay for 2 days. When I got there the owner of the campground was trying to start a quad which was refusing to start.  He would charge the battery and then spent all afternoon and part of the early evening trying to start the quad.  The next day he spent all morning into the afternoon doing the same thing.  I played around with the auto shut off and got the thing to start, but it would only run intermittently and then die or run roughly and then die.  After dying it had no spark, so it seemed to me either his spark plug or a CDI was breaking down as it warmed up and I suggested to him that was what he needed to look into.  This is a Chinese quad so I found a service manual and found the test specs for the CDI, the timing and a few others parts of the electrical circuit and their proper ohms to prove them good or bad. He was so happy I finally got it to run and then at least gave him a starting point on what to check to keep it running that he gave me a free dinner and a beer.

After some simple research I found out  the James Bond movie ” Goldfinger” had its car chase scene filmed on Fukra pass.  Here’s a link to a YouTube video showing that very scene.

https://youtu.be/3RdK51Igeqc

I met an Englishman who happened to be Jewish and was on holiday and we got to talking about different things and he said that he’s been living in Israel for the last 7 years because he no longer feels safe in England due to growing anti-semitism.  I guess I have been out of that world news loop because I had not heard about any real problems with anti-Semitism in England.  on the other hand I am well aware of the problems in Israel that occur almost daily.

I met a lady at an ice cream shop and I asked her if she spoke English and she did with a British accent.

Her mother was British and her  father Swiss.

She spent about 12 years in Britain than everybody moved back to Switzerland.  We  discussed the idea of the grass always being greener, because her son is in California studying English and he thinks it’s just great.  he just needs to stay there a little longer before he figures out that he’d left the greener side of the fence.

This was both an ice cream and crepe shop so I had a crepe made with local cheese, but the interesting part is the crepe was made with buckwheat something I have to try when I get home. Simple enough recipe a little salt, an egg, water and coarse ground buckwheat.

I arrived late at this campground after 6 pm and reception was closed.  Talked with a couple of other tent people and they said just pick a spot and go pay them in the morning. I picked a spot with two power plugs so I’m charging up everything tonight.

It should be noted that most of what you read on the internet about the EV 15 route says the trail is well marked. When leaving a town or a large area that is generally true and there is usually a sign in an arrow pointing you in the correct direction.  Common sense also helps in that if you come to the river and you’re supposed to be going downstream and you’re riding upstream then you’re going the wrong direction.  The real problem is out in the country where you are on a paved cycle path and suddenly it goes straight and it also turns left, both lanes are paved and both look equally well used. What does one do in that situation when you don’t have the normal reference marks like a river. To make it even more confusing one minute you’re on an asphalt paved bicycle path, the very next moment coming around a curve you are on two track gravel track and the very next curve it’s packed crushed gravel single lane and then the very next curve your back on paved asphalt.  Some of the turns on to cycle paths which you would be on for the next 20 km look no wider than walking alleys.  Also somehow they have managed to have major construction going on at a lot of the critical points in town where one is going to be diverting off of city streets back to bicycle paths. Today I killed about 45 minutes trying to figure out how to get onto the correct path around major construction.

Without the touring package I picked up from a company called Komoot I would still be stuck in Holland trying to figure out how to get out of Rotterdam.  this is not completely true as I guess I could use Google maps to have gotten out of Rotterdam, but if you find yourself in a place where there’s no cell service then Google maps is useless.  Komoot is offline and I took the time to download all twenty four stages to the phone so that it would work perfectly even if I did not have cell service. It has been extremely handy telling me which side of the river I should be on.  If one is heading for a campground which is on the left side of the river going down stream and you’re on the right side of the river, it’s nice to know where the campground is relative to the river because sometimes the nearest bridge is the one you passed 10km back.  Today I got off route and I decided to parallel the intended route hoping that it would cross back onto the correct track. The road I was using was a nicely paved asphalt road which turned into gravel and then into two track and I was still on the wrong side of the river. At this point the map was showing no road at all along the river but it was showing my GPS indicator for my location. This was important to me because as I was going down this two track path and I wanted to know how far I might be drifting away from the river.  The track didn’t look promising but I followed it for another half a kilometer and sure enough it pops out onto another paved road and a small bridge not on the map going over the river and suddenly I was on the right side of the river and on my way to the campground.  I have noticed that I am not the only one using Google maps and some type of routing software almost everyone has a phone in their hand or mounted on their handlebars.  We all face the same dilemma in that using GPS on your phone is power hungry.  There has been two or three times I have had to take my power brick and plug it into my phone while riding.  The power bank stays in my side bag and the cable comes out and runs across my handlebars and plugs into the phone hanging on my chest. Looking at your planned route for the next 20 or 30 km you can sometimes be sure that it is more or less just a straight shot with no major turns.  This allows you to turn off the GPS to save power and in worst cases even turn off the phone until you need it again.  So if I know that I should be able to ride 20 km without any major turns I do all of the above and then look at my cycle computer and watch it to see when I need to turn the phone on or the GPS back on check my navigation.

Well enough for now.  Here’s the location of the campground I am presently in.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=46.211093+7.3163778

I am still in Switzerland but I am noticing more and more people speaking French.

I have moved the whole bunch of pictures and videos into the “newest” folder for those who want to look at them. Of course the pictures that were in that folder have been moved up into the one called ev15.

Here’s the link to my g drive that you need to look at the folder.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1AmZDjoYauzi-qz_CTwNIeEfsOCNqXA4X

Steven