Travelogue Epilogue

Firstly, if you look in the right-hand margin (or scroll down to the bottom if you’re on a mobile device), you’ll see a new ad from the good people at Merry Sales for the IRD WayBack Compact Seatpost:

Here’s the story on that:

So if you’re looking for more saddle adjustment range then be sure to support the people who support the people, those people they are supporting being me.

Secondly, speaking of me, yesterday I mentioned that Bicycling had finally published my Vengeance Bike adventure story, and like anybody returning from a lavish vacation (even if it was well over a year ago now) here’s the part where I bore you with my photographs.

As I mentioned, the invitation came just as I began my annual upstate family vacation:

And fell deep into Sandal Mode:

Nevertheless, almost immediately upon returning home I bubble-wrapped the Vengeance Bike and flew to Zurich:

I used to have a proper travel bag but I either gave it away or sold it long ago, so I ordered a $30 bike bag off an online retailer named after a river, bubble-wrapped the bike like a drunken aunt mailing a Christmas gift, and further protected the bike by cutting a foam mattress topper in half and making a vintage crabon sandwich out of the whole thing:

I’d never been to Zurich, and I was surprised to find that apparently people just hang around all day swimming:

Like most provincial Americans I associate Switzerland with banks and watches, so this bohemian state of affairs completely confounded my expectation that everyone over there would have watertight sphincters. I mean sure, they probably do have watertight sphincters, but only because they spend so much time in the water, not because they’re uptight:

Bicycles were also in evidence:

I missed the exhibit (which I didn’t even know was an exhibit until just now when I plugged the words in the poster into a popular search engine):

But I did conduct an anthropological study of the local velocipedal fauna:

There were lots of older race bikes repurposed as city bikes, which suggests an advanced cycling civilization:

The evening of my arrival there was a big dinner, and here’s a blurry picture of Pogačar seated just behind me:

Since this was basically a super-elite corporate charity ride they auctioned off a bunch of signed jerseys and stuff at the dinner, and unlike many of the people there I didn’t feel pressured to bid on something because my boss was sitting there judging me–though I was tempted to put in for the Colnago since I could have used the extra gears:

I should have expensed it to Bicycling.

The next morning was a blur of riders and vans in which I eventually managed to lose Pogačar:

I also began to cement my reputation as the writer guy who brought the crazy bike:

To be perfectly honest I was glad to have lost Pogačar because I could enjoy the ride without feeling like I had to keep up with anybody:

Having just left a lake in upstate New York it was surreal to be amongst more lakes, only ones that looked like someone had been messing with the color settings on the TV:

Basically I’d left a vacation only to fall into a deeper, much more intense vacation–like one of those dreams where you think you’ve woken up but you’re actually still dreaming and you have no idea what reality even is anymore.

If you’ve never been to Switzerland, there are lots of cows:

I was fortunate not to run into any douchebags, but there were some Brobags:

And also the occasional Merbag:


The first day was mostly flat until the end, and here was my first taste of Swiss climbing:

I actually took a picture of myself the moment I realized what I was in for and worried that I’d maybe ruined the trip with my bike choice:

Over the course of the trip the climbs only got longer and more dramatic:

When I borrowed the Vengeance Bike from Classic Cycle I did so to ride it at the Five Boro Bike Tour, and I never guessed that a few months later we’d both wind up here:

It really is otherworldly up on those mountain passes:

The valleys aren’t too bad, either:

The Kids Today™ seem to love the bikepacking, but I’ll take luxury hotels over sleeping outside any day, and even the bike enjoyed first-class accommodations:

You know it’s a fancy hotel when they’ve got dry-aged meats in the minibar:

Each night we’d also eat a lavish meal, and at this particular hotel they set my table with a small rock so that the servers knew about my wheat allergy:

It was my own personal Stone of Shame:

I used to think professional cyclists must have it pretty hard, but let me tell you that you get used to a life of climbing, eating, and sleeping pretty quickly:

As for Switzerland, it’s like the rich neighborhood in your area was its own country;

Even the porta-potties were charming:

And that’s to say nothing of the fine dining:

They may have to turn you away if you don’t have a reservation, but at least they let you down gently:

Speaking of returning to Earth, the end of the ride was bittersweet:

I’d knew I’d miss the most beautiful riding I’d ever experienced, but I was also relieved to be finished, and overall I felt like I’d just won the Super Barbecue Prize:

Back at the hotel I repeated my insane giftwrapping job:

It may not be pretty, but the bike made the return flight just fine:

And I got right back on it the very next day:

For the next several weeks I had (for me) superhuman fitness, though eventually it faded like a suntan in winter.

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