Black Friday

Freezing cold at -2 °C but sunny - that’s how my Friday started. I was really in a good mood, because at least it was dry and the forecast promised for the noon even double-digit plus degrees. After a hearty breakfast I felt sufficiently strengthened and ready for the biggest climb of my four and a half day tour from Lucerne to Brühl near Cologne over a total of 700 km. There the JavaLand will take place next week, a conference for software developers. The first one for me in almost three years. As already in 2019 at the last “real” JavaLand, so I wanted to make this year the outward and return journey with my bike, the route is beautiful and invites very much to enjoy.

Yesterday, after work, I already tackled the first kilometers and cycled from Lucerne to Erlinsbach. I couldn’t do much more than these 70 km, because I couldn’t leave until after work and in the evening I had a remote meeting with the Java User Group Switzerland. But back to today. Day two, here we go. I didn’t mind the cold, knowing that the climb over the Jura hump starts after two kilometers and continues for a good ten kilometers. That should be enough to warm up on the bike!

My gravelbike - ready to go

Planned for today were 165 km from Erlinsbach in Switzerland over the Jura, through Basel, over the border into France and along the canals Canal du Huningue and Canal du Rhône au Rhin to Erstein in Alsace, which is just before Strasbourg. But the headline already lets us guess: It came differently than planned!

Instead of Erstein, I am now back in Lucerne. But what had happened? On my way up to the highest point of the whole tour at 908 meters above sea level, my shifting went bye-bye! But not only that I could no longer shift - it also automatically jumped to the smallest sprocket, so the heaviest gear. Going uphill it was impossible to get the bike moving. All my repair attempts failed.

But I did not want to give up yet. Not far away was Aarau. There it went mostly downhill, so that was possible. So I managed to get to the train station in Aarau and caught a direct train to Zurich. In Zurich Enge I went to Backyard, the bike mech of my choice. He immediately left everything else and tried to help me. But I make it short: No chance. The rear derailleur is defective (actually the index bar) and must be completely replaced.

I must say that I drive a hydraulic rear derailleur from European production, from Rotor (Spain). For this they had no replacement rear derailleur in stock and it must first be ordered. In addition, today is Friday, so a weekend follows and therefore even with a very fast delivery, the arrival of the spare part is not expected before Monday.

So it was clear that it goes no further for me with my beloved Gravelbike and I have to prematurely abort this tour, on which I had been looking forward for so long. Disappointed, I made my way home to Lucerne and am now planning my trip to JavaLand by train.

But it’s not the end of the world. This tour should also be a preparation for my next trip, because in a few weeks I will cross the Alps to Venice. Hopefully everything will be back in order by then and I will also have had time to work on my fitness a bit. Because the Alps are a different caliber than the Jura….

Cross your fingers for me!