Thankfully I’m not unduly worse for wear after almost three weeks and hundreds of kilometers of European cycling… though I did take four tumbles. The most serious (and ignominious) was in an Austrian grocery store parking lot when my pants cuff caught on the pedal and over I went – hard, attracting the immediate attention of several shoppers (“Carnage on lane one”) who with some difficulty got me back on my feet. At first I was pretty sure I’d broken something important, but all limbs are yet attached and seemingly intact… albeit a bit looser.
I pedaled the balance of the day’s distance but at my compatriots’ urging skipped the following day’s segment in favor of bus/train passage to St. Gallen, Switzerland. The next day was a scheduled no biking day so I had two days to recover, sorta. The next day – our last of actual cycling – with some anxiety I got back on my trusty velocipede and, sure enough, one click later fell again… though this time comparatively softly albeit in front of a bus. I made it the remaining 45K to destination without further incident.
Our merry band included Seattleites Curt and Brenda Burnett, Gerry Champagne, and friends until recently from Fairbanks Ron and Jeanine Woolf. Fine folks all, we really did have a good time together.
Our odyssey began with six days at a rental house in Eguisheim, France, followed by an eleven day clockwise circumnavigation of Lake Constance that touched Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Here are a few day-by-day snippets of my adventure:
Sunday, April 30th. Aloft en route to Paris Delta served the worst dinner I’ve ever ingested on an international flight: the “beef” entre was the consistency of spam, reminiscent of the mystery meat of junior high cafeteria days, and dished out in a biodegradable cardboard clamshell.
Monday, May 1st. Having hobbled off the plane I was semi-involuntarily consigned to a wheelchair for the lengthy transfer to the airport train station. Manly hombre that I am, I dared not disclose to the friendly pusher that I had come to Europe for three weeks of cycling. Arrived Colmar, in Alsace, just before midnight via a 180 MPH TGV with a transfer in Strasbourg and, coincidentally, six minutes prior to the Woolfs’ arrival. Settled into our very nice rental house.
Tuesday, May 2nd - Thursday, May 4th. Daily e-bike excursions to nearby picture-perfect towns with eat-in dinners crafted by chefs Burnett and Woolf. Imbibed copious amouints of wine, certainly did our part for the local viticulture industry.
I developed a serious case of ABC – Asymmetrical Butt Chafing – which was ameliorated by liberal bi-daily nether regions applications of Bag Balm – my personal favorite posterior palliative, see https://bagbalm.com/. SHOW MORE
Friday, May 5th. Hung out at the house, pas mal.
Saturday, May 6th. Day trip with Burnetts to the tourist mecca of Colmar where, alas and alack, Curt was pickpocketed! Charge and debit card cancellations ensued, not good.
Sunday, May 7th. Auto trip to a German mountain hiking lodge, an intermediate stop on our way to Konstantz, the starting and ending point of our main event circumnavigation of the eponymous lake.
Monday, May 8th. Had to beat feet to get Burnetts’ rental car back by a 10:30 am deadline… made it with a full five minutes to spare. Checked in at the stunning four star Hotel Halm where the breakfast buffet includes champagne and cheesecake. Woolfs arrived by train, Gerry direct from Seattle via Zurich. Got our e-bikes.
Tuesday, May 9th. Pedaled forty some K to Gailingen, a bit of a shakedown cruise. Great scenery and picture postcard-worthy medieval villages. Adequate lodging, but not a Hotel Halm.
Wednesday, May 10th. Roundtrip to Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest. Second night in Gailingen, first of nearly nightly self-catered hotel room team happy hours.
On previous European bike tours we’ve grumbled about route instructions encrypted by by non-native English speakers. This time the tour operator-provided guidebook was completely devoid of route guidance… we were on our own, taking turns as Google Maps-assisted trail breaking pathfinders with plenty of navigational errors. But we always (eventually) got to where we were going.
Thursday, May 11th. Return to Konstanz for a Hotel Halm reprise. Got soaked during the last couple clicks of the day’s ride.
Friday, May 12th. To Radolfzell via Mainau Island, the latter a facsimile of sorts of Butchart Gardens.
Saturday, May 13th. A mere sixteen K to Ludwigshafen.
Sunday, May 14th. Forty K to Friedrichshafen, home of the Zeppelin Museum to which I made a solo afternoon excursion via city buses. Turns out the Hindenberg was 245 meters from stem to stern, almost three football fields.
Monday, May 15th. Day of my aforementioned parking lot tumble. Overnight in Bregnz, Austria. I was very sore, somewhat bruised, had marginal repose.
Tuesday, May 16th. Having shipped my bike with the luggage I patronized buses and trains to our next destination, St. Gallen, Switzerland. As it happened today was Jeanine’s turn to tumble, hard, while passing a path-blocking truck.
Wednesday, May 17th. Today was a scheduled non-cycling day so while others toured about (monastery, waterfalls chocolate factory, shopping) I rested my bruised corpus in the hope that I might be sufficiently healed for the morrow’s last lap back to Konstanz.
Thursday, May 18th. 14K of almost continuous downhill on the 46 K journey back to our starting point. Celebratory dinner, a bit melancholy to be soon parting ways.
Friday, May 19th. Train to Zurich for a twelve hour Swissair flight to San Francisco and a connection home to Seattle.
Great trip, a good time had by all (despite bumps and bruises).
D. Carlstrom. May, 2023 SHOW LESS