Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

Biel to Aarau


Obviously my bike ride is loosing interest to my followers and in fact the readership is now back to folks doing searches that bring up my old posts. e.g. Scarpa hiking boots received as many hits yesterday as my latest post and my Silva Pedometer post from 6 years ago not far behind.

IMG_3562Enough of such nonsense. Today was a wunderbar ride especially the section from Biel to Olten following the River Aar. Many cafes, beautiful buildings & bridges. The route is very widely used by groups of cyclists (although don’t expect a nod or a danke from any of them). The weather was perfect crisp & sunny with a good mixture of riding surfaces from cobbles in the towns to gravel  and ultra smooth inline skating tracks.

The bit near Höfli was terrifying as the road gets squeezed between the river & a rock face, so as always it’s the cycleway that disappears first,  plus you have to cross over on a blind bend 🙁

Tonights hotel is the Hotel Argovia which is an annexe to the Sorell hotel outside the railway station. A novel feature is that on my bedroom door it says that my room is 14.7m2 , Window area is 2.4m2 and the bed area is 2.54m2!

Here is the Strava map for today:


and the pictures are here


Yverdon to Biel

Firstly, for those of a curious disposition I’ve now biked 894 miles with 86 hours in the saddle  spread over 15 biking days (average 59 miles per day),. My moving average has been 10.40mph. Plus I’ve had 11 rest days in my Les Gets apartment 🙂

Living in the round
Living in the round

Today  I started later than normal it was sunny with a very pleasurable ride around the lake on a cycle way, so pleasurable that I forgot to start Strava for 1.5 miles. Amazingly the Garmin etrex kicked in with lovely directional arrows and even when a bridge was closed it helped me back on the route after the diversion. However, like the dreaded crease in a paper map it suddenly ended 🙁 after a mega climb it was time to recheck with the iPhone and go back down the hill and back on the course.  The Garmin then spent the next few hours desperately trying to recalculate the route….

MF 35 tractorAfter one of the mistakes I found myself in some Tractor museum totally delighted to find a 60’s Massey Ferguson 35 just like I used on Spibey’s farm when I was 14 ( 2/- an hour 7 till 12 Saturday & school holidays for a year). Immediately after the museum was an ultra modern Samro potato picker in action, no more back breaking jobs on the farm. I find it very surprising just how rich the land is here lovely dark loamy soil. i bet the Swiss must be food calories totally self sufficient. Plus virtually all of Western Europe’s major rivers start here!

In the afternoon it started to pour and the first hotel was full! So I ploughed on and ended up in Biel a rather down at heel place It seems. The Best Western had a special sub 100CHF offer for a single room overlooking a building site, central station and totally humungous Co-oP, so that’s where I ended up.

Also today the principal language slowly changed from French to German, very interesting to see the language change over a few miles.

Todays Strava result less 1.5 miles.


and pictures are here Note that all the pictures are geotagged.


Elmton Lodge Farm, Spring Lane, Elmton

Interesting for me and the wonders of the internet, I now know it was a 2.5 mile uphill ride in the cold winter of 1961and that the farm minus the land & broiler house has recently sold for well over a million pounds see here

Biking from Les Gets to Yverdon les Bains

Setting of at 07.46
Setting of at 07.46

A bright and earlyish start from Les Gets on my streamlined bike sans panniers so considerably lighter and better balanced, I think. According to Strava I did the 28 miles to Evian in 90 minutes so I easily made the 10.10 sailing to Lausanne. Interestingly the price at £20 was exactly the same as crossing the English Channel.

I managed to stop at a bricolage (DIY) and pick up a packet of colliers (Ty-Raps to us UK folk). As the one holding the GPS had broken. Plus I made an improvement to my bracket by taping a bungee onto it that pulls the bracket down & thus keeps the lid closed with the instruments facing me.

The miracle of the day was finding an Orange store in Lausanne where the guy supplied me, instantly with no fuss,  a  nano SIM for the iPhone allowing 300MB of data transfer plus additional data upto 500MB all for 10CHF. Apparently the 10CHF is also a credit for calls etc and additional data at 1CHF per day. It’s worked very well so far today although, according to the excellent My Data Mgr App  I’ve got through 26MB so far today 🙁

Switz bike route signThe ride itself this afternoon was on the Swiss Route 5, infinitely better signed than the UK 1 with no obstacles provided by the authorities to slow you down. The route is a mixture of roads, forest tracks, limestone gravel, concrete etc etc. It takes you through suburbia, forest, vineyards, orchards, fields, industrial estates etc so is amazingly varied 🙂

The promised rain only happened in one heavy shower although I would have hated to be in The Jura today!!

Yverdon is a disappointment, still haven’t seen the lake & only found one expensive hotel The Hotel du Theatre . The most amazing thing for me is seeing so many people smoke, totally weird.

Two lots of Strava data today:

The morning and the afternoon

and pictures here




Starting the next stage of my mega bike ride

Zurich RouteTomorrow I’m reluctantly moving on from my lovely apartment in Les Gets towards Zurich so that I can meet my big brother & nephew next weekend for a 70th birthday bash (and I’ve heard a whisper it’s his wife’s birthday too 🙂 )

I’m fully recovered from the ride here and the excellent Thierry has fitted the bike with new chain, rear gear cassette and brake pads. The dreaded rear pannier’s have been despatched home with my neighbour, as I’ve been assured by Sally after speaking to Pete that a tent isn’t necessary 🙂

I’ve spent the last few days trying to sort out my Etrex 20 with maps and in a moment of sheer stupidity lost my OSX application library – which interestingly broke all my Chrome extensions in a very nasty way, the dangers of using an offline backup service. 🙁

NB: All that follows is for Mac OSX users.

What I’ve learnt about Garmin maps is that you can fill your Garmin Etrex up with highly detailed Open Street Maps, essentially for free by visiting Velomap and downloading the desired country(s). Installing Garmin Basecamo & Garmin MapInstall. Unzipping the maps using The Unarchiver, setting the destination to the Application Library/Garmin /Maps folder (be careful here!).

Then using Mapinstall pop them into the Garmin. I now have all of France, Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary & Romania installed on my recently purchased 4GB micro SD (€8 from GITEM in Morzine).

To work out the routes I’ve been using Bikemap to create a track. A tip here if you want to modify someones existing track, download the gpx file to the desktop, create a new track in Bikemap and upload the gpx file, then you can edit it. To make the track into a route I used the cool JavaWa tools. I then used Basecamp to stuff the route into the Etrex. Tomorrow is the test 🙂

However, that’s only the backup sorted :-). What I really will use is the iPhone and the Gaia app, I’ve uploaded the tracks to the iPhone via email. Then used the neat Gaia utility to auto download the relevant Open Street Map tiles to the iPhone that cover the tracks, so in theory it all works offline.

Apologies to anyone tracking me but my SFR MiFi unit has used all it’s 2GB of data so I’m off air until I can reach a SIM shop in Switzerland…