Gone Bike About...

CYCLISTS’ REUNION, SEPT. 2009

Well, we may be back from our Andes trip for 2 years now, but we certainly haven’t forgotten all the joy we had meeting other cyclists in the back of beyond. Exchanging stories and reports of the road ahead, passing on valuable maps marking water sources, finding that perfect wild campsite and cooking together, while having a good old moan about saddle sores… are all part of bicycle touring. Often times these moments are some of the most enjoyable ones, in what could be an otherwise hostile environment. This year we organised our second reunion and cyclists from Germany, Switzerland and even Brazil were among the participants, all of whom we met on their bikes somewhere or other!

Cyclists 2009

We met again at St. Gallen station and cycled through the orchards of Thurgau to the beautiful town of Bischofszell. With temperatures in the 20s, it was perfect cycling weather, and a whole lot better than had been forecasted.

Cycling through Thurgau
All hands on deck We were lucky enough to happen upon an agricultural show in Häggenschwil, where all the farmers and cowgirls were dressed up in traditional costume. And we got some yoddling thrown in for good measure!
Appenzell farmers yoddling away!

Rush-hour in Häggenschwil

Home again, home again…

Just outside Bischofszell, we rocked up to a Schlaf im Stroh farmhouse, where we enjoyed a hearty dinner accompanied by lots of reminiscing of our bike adventures.

Alten, Bischofszell

Living up to our reputation of mega appetites….

Sleeping on a bed of straw We rolled out our sleeping bags in the barn and slept on a bed of straw, at least until the noisy girlies next door started their antics in the early hours of the morning!
After a hearty breakfast, we were on the bikes again to check out Bischofszell town.

Bright and early!

Full of the joys of the world!

Townhall in Bischofszell

Window detail in Bischofszell

The local Stadt President, Josef Mattle, was up and about and gave us a great welcome to his charming, little town. He opened the doors of the gorgeous, baroque townhall and invited us all in for an Apéro and a video about the surrounding area, before supplying us with maps and brochures about cycling in his native Thurgau region. What a service first thing on a Sunday morning!

Josef Mattle

A great welcome for us in Bischofszell
Medieval bridge, Bischofszell A trip to Bischofszell wouldn’t be complete without a loop down to the historical medieval bridge over the River Thur, completed in 1487.
Beyond a puncture on the way back, we enjoyed a pleasant cycle in and out of farmyards and well-kept traditional houses.

Puncture repair

Hauptwil gate

Then it was time for a curry back at home, before everyone headed their various ways, leaving us with refreshed memories of life on the road. Of course, such an event would never have taken place were it not for the numerous cyclists we met out there, discovering the world. Here are the people who brought the laughs…
Alain, a strong member of the Cyclists’ Mafia in Salta, Argentina crossed our paths on numerous occasions in South America, before continuing up to Alaska, taking the Trans-Siberian train to St. Petersberg and cycling home from there. He’s still alive and kicking, as large as life… and every mother’s dream son-in-law!

Alain

Philippe and Christina Christina and Philippe (Germany and Switzerland) were also members of the mafia de ciclistas that descended on Salta, Argentina in June 2006, all north bound. Our paths crossed on numerous occasions in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.
Daniela (Switzerland), with her partner Michi, hit South American about a month before us and so we were always well-informed of the highs and lows of the road further north.

Daniela

Dani and Barbara We bumped into Dani (Switzerland) in the Atacama desert, while he was heading south on his Pan-American trip. Shortly afterwards, he teamed up with Barbara (Switzerland) and promised to clean our bikes if we were able to convince Barbara that touring cycling was the way to go. After an enjoyable Pyrenees trip together, Barbara is smitten. In the meantime, Kurt and Darina are following the dirtiest, muddiest tracks to make this cleaning deal well-worth Dani’s while!
Harald (Germany) was on his Alaska-Argentina trip when we met in Cusco, Peru in 2006. A veteran on South America, Harold has left very few stones unturned in this vast continent.

Harald

Luís Luís (Brazil) was our host in São Paulo. He guided us through rush hour traffic on our bikes (in this metropolitan area of 20 million), as if it were just a spin in the park! Now based in Paris, he is taking advantage of his convenient location to explore Europe on his bike.
Petra (Switzerland) was northbound at the same time as us in South America. She was another active member of the mafía de ciclistas in Salta, Argentina, whose path crossed ours again and again, before she continued north to complete the Pan Americana in Alaska in 2007.

Petra

Pia Pia (Switzerland) entertained us on the train from Hamburg this summer.  She was also on her way home from a bike trip in Denmark. Pia has thousands of kilometers behind her, having done a solo round-the-world trip on her bike, some twenty years ago.
Tom (Switzerland) is yet another member of the European cyclist crew that met up in Salta in June 2006. Knowing Alain from back home in Soloturn, he flew out to cycle with him a few times on his Pan-American trip.

Tom

DK in St. Gallen, Switzerland Many thanks to all of you who joined the reunion and helped jog our memories of  adventures and misadventures on the road. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we look forward to hosting you during the year, in this beautiful corner of Eastern Switzerland.