Salve Italia

When I arrived in Lugano it was already arranged that my friends neighbour came to get me at the train station. We loaded the bike into the car, and shortly after a storm was over Lugano. We drove up the hill to Astano where I was taken in by my friend Aranda. I ended up hiking and relaxing there for a few days. Thank you to all of you for your help and kindness!

I continued my journey down the hill to Ponte Tresa where Zora and I embarked the boat to Brusino. From there I biked across the border of Italy in direction Como.

Going along a little river I drove past a woman with her little dog. I startled as I realised that this dog was attacking my foot. Luckily I was wearing good walking shoes, through which I didn’t feel anything. This has never happened to me before and hopefully will never again. 😉

Still an amateur…

With a few days delay, due to administration work I left Zürich in direction Lucerne. But also because I forgot how long it takes to pack. I left later then planned. Its clear to bring as little as possible, but how much of something to take with? Do I really need that? Do I want a bit of luxury and take a foldable camping chair? How many herbs do I want to take with. So its not too much but that I can have a nice meal on the go.

Zora and I arrived well in Lucerne and where very well hosted by my friend Katja. From Lucerne I started with having to go quiet a bit up hill through the “Meggerwald”. What I didn’t expect was the seemingly never stopping rain. I arrived in “Küssnacht an der Rigi” soaked through. Being so wet I felt demoralised and started thinking on where I could go. A campsite would have been another two hours ride and the only other option was an expensive hotel. The weather forecast for the coming days also looked rather bad. So I decided to take the train to Lugano. 

Review N°7 – USB charger The plug, Cliq5

This USB charger is integrated into the handle of my bike as an “addon”. It gets the electricity from the dynamo. This is a good idea though really not worth the money. First my Fairphone doesn’t charge when plugging it in directly, which apparently is a thing with some phones. We then used a power bank which also adds weight to our already heavy load. Secondly it only charges properly when riding a certain speed. We were heavy loaded and thus didn’t always manage to have the needed speed. It was just not sufficient we ended up having to charge our phones in cafes and camping places when we needed it. Hopefully a future module is more efficient in producing electricity.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                          R            4                     M           4

Practicality                   R            2                     M           2

Durability                     R            5                     M           5

Overall rating            R            4                     M           4          =4

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Review N°6 – Bike Toutterrain Silkroad

Toutterrain bikes have different “addons” where you can choose different options. This bike has a stainless steal frame which makes it slightly heavier then a bike with an aluminum frame but it is definitely sturdier. The bike has 30 gears which is great when riding uphill as the pace can be slower than a bike with fewer gears. With this bike I had no troubles during our journey and I was very pleased. I was advised against a bike with suspension, but as Matt said, we would advise to get a bike with suspension because you will be riding on some very difficult roads and paths where suspension offer more comfort. In addition if suspensions would break you could still ride the bike just as normal. I also choose the Pitlock which is a coded centerline system which also secures the wheels onto the bike to secure it from theft. This way I didn’t necessarily have to make the look through the wheels which gave me a more secure feeling of my bike. It’s an expensive but very reliable bike.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                           R            5                     M           5

Practicality                   R            5                     M           5

Durability                     R            5                     M           5

Overall rating            R            5                     M           5          =5

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Review N°5 – Bike Trek 920

I was very happy with my bike, it was strong and light weight. My bike had the dropped handle bars which did cause me some shoulder pain in the beginning, but after some time that went away. It also has the bar end gear shifters which I didn’t like very much because they can get in the way. My bike didn’t have suspension and because you often drive on badly built roads or off road I would suggest to get a bike with suspension.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                           R            4                     M           4

Practicality                   R            4                     M           4

Durability                     R            4                     M           5

Overall rating             R            4                     M           4          =4

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Review N°4 – Schwalbe tires Big Ben, 20×2.15

We didn’t know what kind of tires I had. And by the end of the trip we knew that these are the tires to have. I had not one puncture in these 2740 km over rough and smooth surfaces. Obviously tires lose some air after a while so in general we advise to pump tires every 3-4 weeks when being on a bike tour. I would highly recommend these tires, they are perfect for a long bike journey.

1= Bad/poor         2= OK         3= Satisfying         4= Good         5= Very good

Design                            R            –                      M           –

Practicality                    R            –                      M           –

Durability                      R            5                     M           5

Overall rating             R            5                     M           5          = 5

New challenge

After having had interesting and fun travells together on bike and with backpack Matt and I are now going different paths in life. This summer I have another travell partner, my dog Zora. Where are we going? I don’t know, we will play it by ear. This time I have a two month break, so lets see how far I can go with a dog in the back and my stuffed panniers. 😉 More information will follow soon.

In the mean time follow my blog to get updates on my new challenge. Thank you for your support 🙂

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Review N°3 – Bontrager tires XR1, 29×2.0

These were absolutely awful; I had over 15 tire punctures in seven weeks, which is horrible when you have a fully packed bike and limited time and energy. More often than not it would be a tiny wooden splinter that would puncture the tire. I would never use these tires again and would recommend that no one else does, unless you enjoy fixing punctures all the time. They also have a very deep tread which makes cycling long distance on the road slightly more tough.

Design                          R            –                      M           –

Practicality                  R            –                      M           –

Durability                    R            1                     M           1

Overall rating           R            1                     M           1          = 1


Review N°2 – Oertlieb handlebar bag ULTIMATE6 PLUS

A handlebar bag is definitely a good idea, you can keep your valuables in it and easily detach it and take it with you when you leave your bike to go for lunch or go into the super market. This specific bag was quite good, it’s waterproof, had good mechanics to attach to the front of your bike and was spacious. One problem is that when riding your bike a lot of the stuff inside this bag gets shaken around despite having separated compartments inside. Another annoying aspect is that due to the design of the bag there is a small dent in the top of it, which doesn’t affect the performance but it just does not look very nice. Again, we were very pleased with this product and would recommend it, but it is just not 100% perfect.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                          R            4                     M           4

Practicality                  R            5                     M           4

Durability                    R            4                     M           5

Overall rating            R            4.5                 M           4.5         =4.5

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