“I’ll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.”Susan B. Anthony, 1896
We woke up, robbing out of the sleeping bag and stretching us into the sun. It seemed to be a dry day, sunny and a little fresh breeze blowing gentle over the mountains. After packing out camp, we hit the road again. As usual the first few kilometers were hard, but once the engine was running the pain and the heavy legs were forgotten and we continued slowly steeper roads until we ended up at Gassa Via Alpsu, the Rhine now a tiny stream making it’s way up into the mountain. From here we started cycling up a super steep pass, we even swopped the bikes, but after a few meters we both decided to get back on our bikes.
All the power I had, pushed out of my upper legs. Bit by bit, in my smallest gear, the trailer spring pulling, extending and retracting with every pedal, as if someone was trying to pull you back. Depending on the rhythm the pulling was getting stronger and stronger, so that I had to leave my rhythm for a few meters to calm the spring down. It was pretty much, head down and trying to find a good rhythm, of breathing and pedaling at a constant speed.
I honestly don’t know who had it worst tho, Max on his horrible smallest gear that was like my 4th gear, or me with this mental trailer, pulling me down. We both decided to not be able to use the other persons bike, mine because it was too much power needed and Maxes tank, because it was impossible for me to find a rhythm. After a poo break, to loose unnecessary weight behind a trailer we continued. It was absolutely killing my legs. But it was so funny. So many people just simply overtook us on their tiny gears, with their light bikes while Max always had to go to the next corner, wait there, having a break until I finally arrived, jumping back on his bike, going to the next corner, waiting for me, having a little break and so on. I found it easier not to have breaks, unless I really needed one because I didn’t want to loose my rhythm. Around 3/4 we had a proper break, looking over the valley, with little calvs running around.
Water dripping from underneath our caps, shirts unbottoned, and only in Birkenstock sandals with our bike shorts on. I was very happy that we found another one in a second hand shop somewhere in town that was better padded than the one we had.
That’s also where we got Max his legendary cycleshirt. After a few more snake corners, winding up the hill we had our goal in sight. Max pulling away from me in his high lowest gear and me giving all my reserves to make it to the top! Slowly, bit by bit the top came closer and closer when finally after a last push, about to fall dead of the bike, I made it as well, with Max, or what was left of him, only a destroyed creature with a big smile in his face waiting for me.
The woman at the little grocery local cheese and meat store rung the bells and I parked my bike next to the Rheinquelle information store, next to a bench where we sat down and hat a well earned break, lunch and even got some swiss flags of that woman in the shop! She was amazing! Our first pass, 2048 m, Oberalppass. We actually really made it. Unreal. After our lunch we were chatting to the lovely lady in the shop, who we asked how far it would be to walk to the spring, and after she told us around 2 hours we decided not to go, which I regret now a bit. Next time we will! Well anyway, she was so nice and really like how we were not geared out on our old bikes, with a kind of selfmade dog trailer with funny colors, welded by dad.
There is kind of something to it, about not leaving too prepared and having old gear. First it is incredibly less expensive, way more fun, way more adventurous and way less polluting. Imagine us riding there in perfect gear. Wow, that’s just boring. You would kind of miss the point of an adventure, so yeah I think that’s why nearly everyone was so good with us. Once a man even gave us 10 bugs and we really didn’t want i, but he wanted us to have it, because something like that is a great thing to do, he did it himself and knew how much fun it was. As the older lady in the store. She gave us two of her best sausages, from the local area for free, that we ate day by day with a tiny piece and a mouthful of taste for like an hour.
We had a little ride around the top, taking a few pictures and the views in and continued towards Andermat! We reached our first big goal and our bodys were flushed by endorphines. We were simply happy.
After cycling through a little tunnel we ended up at a massive descent, from where we were able to overlook the whole valley Rossmettlen. We knew this is gonna be an awesome ride down and, wow, oh man it was. There is something special about cycling up a mountain, because you actually feel it. You feel how massive and impressive it is in every little muscle of your body and you will have to fight to get on top. Not like in a car or a train, where you ginda miss the point a bit. So all your effort are now being paid off, by just letting the bike roll and pray to god, your breaks will work until you reach the valley.
This is where we reached around 60 kmh, no helmet, unbottoned shirt, literally flying down the mountain, eyes fully concentrated on the road and hands ready to pull the brakes as hard as possible. We tried to push our limits and reached incredible speed. The trailer was doing surprisingly great, even in corners and when I had to break hard. The new road tires were paying off. After usually the first proper race we had a break to share our emotional state and enjoy the view. From there we raced in a not to mental, still completly tho, haha, down the hill. It was amazing. Hours of climb, and maybe 10 to 15 minutes of only full speed down the hill. Wind shooting in our face and that’s when, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, there is nothing else than smiling and grinning. Enjoying the moment and having the best day.
We absolutely loved it. Every centimeter of climb was completely worth it. Once we reached Andermat, WUHU!, we had a little grocerie top up, some baby bells in the valley a gentle cycle through it, surrounded by massive mountains until we found out we have to climb another pass. Oh shit, and we had no idea.
Like one pass in the day is fine, yeah but two, holy shit that was something different. But we attacked it. It was not late in the day and we believed in our capabilities so we started. To be fair the hardest bit were the first 400 meters of climb, but it didn’t matter how long it would take me or how hard it will be I told myself, ‘I will make it without a single stop’, and while Max was shooting off in his horrid lowest hear, haahahaha, every time I thing about his I have to smile, I snailed my way up the windy road, the ‘RoadTrain’ in it’s lowest gear on full power, shouting at the mountain, lifting and dropping the handlebars in aggressions over the revolting trailer, pulling me stronger and stronger and just completely loosing it, but making progress, meter by meter, slowly higher and higher. At points I couldn’t even see Max, he was just smashing it as well. Once the first horrible bit was done, we actually had a break, because it was not really steep there, to take some shots for our memories. After that we continued and with a little last proper steep test we made it to the top, with chunks of snow covering bits of the Furkapass. We set our camp up next to the Hotel Furkablick, sheltered, probably run by Chinese, that invited us to use the toilet and filled all our water bottles. So friendly. Many people were camping on the pass and we chatted to a few from Tchek, that invited us for a beer, that we happily took and enjoyed it while taking the view in and making dinner. We fell asleep quite quick and were happy to be a bit sheltered, the wind was freezing and the temperature cold. But we were so exhausted that we fell into a deep sleep, happy about what we reached and with our trip experiences so far.
Next time I will tell you more about our trip, a little glacier expedition, the most amazing run down and plan changing while running down because we were just enjoying it too much. About a new river, and why cycling up a river and cycling down a river are two different worlds. About fearing for our lives in plastered tunnels and beautiful views a new language, thinking about cycling to Milan and the Rhone.
Why don’t get the groceries this week with you bike. Either put on a backpack or some panniers. I can get all the family shopping into my four panniers. It is great and feels amazing.