in·CH+

Riding big wheels in Switzerland Frankly, because bigger is better

Sunday’s Short Loop

Third mountain bike ride in three days. Sunday morning started with a late breakfast. My legs weren’t particularly itching to jump on the bike, so why rush out the door early? I had done my long loop the day before and wasn’t interested in spending as much saddle time once more. Once I headed out and hit the first climbs, the legs suddenly felt surprisingly fresh. I hammered a few steep pitches, but kept an easy pace during the longer, gradual uphills. At the top of the Rochers de Plagne I stopped for a short break. Enjoying the sunny day and soaking in the spectacular view was the day’s primary training goal. A downhill and another uphill took me to my other regular vistapoint on the Bözingenberg. The rough downhill from there tossed me right back into town just in time to wash the bike and watch the finish of the Vuelta stage.

Somehow my pocket GPS logger had a few hiccups while recording my position. Heart rate, power, speed, cadence, time, distance, elevation - ain’t having none of those silly distractions thanks to this tiny single-button gizmo. Anyway, kind of an odd thing to happen on a day with a clear sky. Even odder that it happened twice at different places. Just a random fluke or a sign that my logger is reaching its end of life?

Distance:30.8 km (19.2 miles)
Elevation:1’583 m (5’195 feet)
Time:02:06:56
Speed (avg/max):14.6/90.4 kph (9.1/56.1 mph)
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Wagon Wheeler Meets Micro Wheeler

Just another spectacular day in the great Wild West.

Distance:57.0 km (35.4 miles)
Elevation:1’948 m (6’391 feet)
Time:04:19:14
Speed (avg/max):13.2/54.0 kph (8.2/33.6 mph)
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Last Ride Without Lights

Looks like long summer nights jumped on a bullet train and went south.

Distance:39.6 km (24.6 miles)
Elevation:1’347 m (4’418 feet)
Time:02:42:24
Speed (avg/max):14.6/59.4 kph (9.1/36.9 mph)
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One More Lubricant To Keep The Bike Going
No peeps, my bike still runs without gears! Automatic transmission fluid isn’t a lubricant typically sitting on a shelf of someone’s bike workshop. But ATF is exactly what a True Precision Stealth hub needs to keep running smoothly. In fact, it’s the only permissible lubricant for the roller clutch hidden inside a rear True Precision hub. A spoon-full should be added once in a while. Depending on the frequency one rides and the climate one lives in, this should be done more or less frequently. Since I’m not living in a dry part of the world, I think I’ll be doing a hub service about three times a year, possibly four in 29er heavy years. Now, the fantastic thing about the Poacher hub is that it takes a single allen key (3mm) to disassemble the whole thing. Heck, the cog can stay on the free-wheel body to pull the axle out. To reach the roller clutch the steel free-wheel body can be pulled out by hand. Clean everything up, add a scoop of ATF, push everything back together, screw on the bearing preload cap, adjust and tighten with the 3mm allen key - done! To note that absolutely no dirt or dust had made it past the dust cap/seal in the months I’ve ridden it. Zoom

One More Lubricant To Keep The Bike Going

No peeps, my bike still runs without gears! Automatic transmission fluid isn’t a lubricant typically sitting on a shelf of someone’s bike workshop. But ATF is exactly what a True Precision Stealth hub needs to keep running smoothly. In fact, it’s the only permissible lubricant for the roller clutch hidden inside a rear True Precision hub. A spoon-full should be added once in a while. Depending on the frequency one rides and the climate one lives in, this should be done more or less frequently. Since I’m not living in a dry part of the world, I think I’ll be doing a hub service about three times a year, possibly four in 29er heavy years. Now, the fantastic thing about the Poacher hub is that it takes a single allen key (3mm) to disassemble the whole thing. Heck, the cog can stay on the free-wheel body to pull the axle out. To reach the roller clutch the steel free-wheel body can be pulled out by hand. Clean everything up, add a scoop of ATF, push everything back together, screw on the bearing preload cap, adjust and tighten with the 3mm allen key - done! To note that absolutely no dirt or dust had made it past the dust cap/seal in the months I’ve ridden it.

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Two Peaks Late Summer Loop
After I tried to do this loop in mid June only to have to cut it short due to a broken bottom bracket, I returned to the area today to climb both the Mont Tendre as well as the Dent de Vaulion. It was a little chillier this time, but I prefer it that way. My sleeveless vest was enough protection from the winds that usually howl across the mountain peaks. Heading into the first climb, I made a little error and ended up hiking a short abandoned trail. It looked fine at first, the trail had a name plate and looked a little over-grown, but soon disappeared into nothing but forest. I climbed through it with the bike on my shoulder and was quickly back on the right track. Near the top of the Mont Tendre I joined up with a local rider and rode with him for a short stretch. After eating a fruit bar on the mountain peak, I hit the descent on the backside to head towards the Col du Mollendruz. It’s a fun, bit technical trail that was made more difficult by a humid and sometimes muddy ground.
Once at the mountain pass of the Mollendruz, I wanted to ride towards Chalet Dernier only to be stopped by a farmer at the Pré de Joux. He handed me a map and indicated the the Canton of Vaud had decided to close the whole area off, no biking permitted. So instead of staying on the signed hiking trails, I tried to cut across to Vaulion on paved mountain roads. I climbed to La Mâche also on pavement and was for once happy to be on such a surface. It was pretty steep. The hard pavement under the rubber kept me pedaling at least. Once the pavement ended, I was back on trails, rideable for a bit more than the first half, all hiking for the remaining stretch to the top of the Dent de Vaulion. This is one heck of a busy mountain as a paved road leads all the way up to a restaurant near the peak. Descending from the top I had to slalom around folks who walked the 400 meters from the parking lot to the peak in flip-flops, no kidding.
As soon as I got off the paved road and back onto the hiking trail, I had to share it with only few real hikers. The trail’s a fun descent full of rocks and roots. Most of it was dry, but a few wet spots were a little sketchy. From Pétra Félix, I wanted to take sort of a straight shot to Châtel. My old map printed in the early 90ies was missing some trails, so I ended up taking a wrong turn once. Ultimately, I ended up somewhere unplanned and discovered a nice, narrow singletrack. I couldn’t pass up on this one and added a small extra loop. From Châtel I hopped onto the cool downhill to Montricher, this time not missing the turn I didn’t notice the last time. The trail has a whole bunch of difficult, ultra-steep passages. Being alone, I didn’t take big risks and got off my bike a few times. This is a great technical descent. Last time I had to ride it with a seized bottom bracket, this time I was able to have fun with the terrain.
Distance:56.4 km (35.1 miles)Elevation:2’268 m (7’440 feet)Time:04:32:50Speed (avg/max):12.4/50.0 kph (7.7/31.1 mph) Zoom

Two Peaks Late Summer Loop

After I tried to do this loop in mid June only to have to cut it short due to a broken bottom bracket, I returned to the area today to climb both the Mont Tendre as well as the Dent de Vaulion. It was a little chillier this time, but I prefer it that way. My sleeveless vest was enough protection from the winds that usually howl across the mountain peaks. Heading into the first climb, I made a little error and ended up hiking a short abandoned trail. It looked fine at first, the trail had a name plate and looked a little over-grown, but soon disappeared into nothing but forest. I climbed through it with the bike on my shoulder and was quickly back on the right track. Near the top of the Mont Tendre I joined up with a local rider and rode with him for a short stretch. After eating a fruit bar on the mountain peak, I hit the descent on the backside to head towards the Col du Mollendruz. It’s a fun, bit technical trail that was made more difficult by a humid and sometimes muddy ground.

Once at the mountain pass of the Mollendruz, I wanted to ride towards Chalet Dernier only to be stopped by a farmer at the Pré de Joux. He handed me a map and indicated the the Canton of Vaud had decided to close the whole area off, no biking permitted. So instead of staying on the signed hiking trails, I tried to cut across to Vaulion on paved mountain roads. I climbed to La Mâche also on pavement and was for once happy to be on such a surface. It was pretty steep. The hard pavement under the rubber kept me pedaling at least. Once the pavement ended, I was back on trails, rideable for a bit more than the first half, all hiking for the remaining stretch to the top of the Dent de Vaulion. This is one heck of a busy mountain as a paved road leads all the way up to a restaurant near the peak. Descending from the top I had to slalom around folks who walked the 400 meters from the parking lot to the peak in flip-flops, no kidding.

As soon as I got off the paved road and back onto the hiking trail, I had to share it with only few real hikers. The trail’s a fun descent full of rocks and roots. Most of it was dry, but a few wet spots were a little sketchy. From Pétra Félix, I wanted to take sort of a straight shot to Châtel. My old map printed in the early 90ies was missing some trails, so I ended up taking a wrong turn once. Ultimately, I ended up somewhere unplanned and discovered a nice, narrow singletrack. I couldn’t pass up on this one and added a small extra loop. From Châtel I hopped onto the cool downhill to Montricher, this time not missing the turn I didn’t notice the last time. The trail has a whole bunch of difficult, ultra-steep passages. Being alone, I didn’t take big risks and got off my bike a few times. This is a great technical descent. Last time I had to ride it with a seized bottom bracket, this time I was able to have fun with the terrain.

Distance:56.4 km (35.1 miles)
Elevation:2’268 m (7’440 feet)
Time:04:32:50
Speed (avg/max):12.4/50.0 kph (7.7/31.1 mph)
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Freedom To Roam
The above photo taken on yesterday’s bike ride exemplifies the freedom to roam I enjoy in my neck of the woods. When I lived in California, most often a private property or no-trespassing sign would greet me dangling from a barbwire fence. Here in Switzerland, fence crossings like the above announce a whole different greeting - “welcome, come on in”. While there were many things to love in Northern California, the extremely limited access to the outdoors was something that always bugged me. Here in Switzerland, one can hike through farmland, across pastures and through the woods unhindered thanks to a guaranteed right to roam, just like in many other European countries. I was reminded of this invaluable public right while visiting Norway, which grants the right to roam in perhaps its purest form. Norway’s allemannsrett makes uncultivated land and the wilderness accessible to everyone. The right goes as far as prohibiting landowners from erecting fences or other barriers. Attempts have been made to introduce “tolls” for using groomed cross-country skiing trails and the Norwegian government stepped in and stopped it. With the growing sharing economy, where people share their cars, apartments and homes, I wonder if sharing land will ever become a thing. But as long as landowners in the United States can be held liable in the event of injury, it’s much more likely that it may not.
Distance:60.0 km (37.3 miles)Elevation:1’903 m (6’245 feet)Time:04:42:12Speed (avg/max):12.8/56.2 kph (7.9/34.9 mph) Zoom

Freedom To Roam

The above photo taken on yesterday’s bike ride exemplifies the freedom to roam I enjoy in my neck of the woods. When I lived in California, most often a private property or no-trespassing sign would greet me dangling from a barbwire fence. Here in Switzerland, fence crossings like the above announce a whole different greeting - “welcome, come on in”. While there were many things to love in Northern California, the extremely limited access to the outdoors was something that always bugged me. Here in Switzerland, one can hike through farmland, across pastures and through the woods unhindered thanks to a guaranteed right to roam, just like in many other European countries. I was reminded of this invaluable public right while visiting Norway, which grants the right to roam in perhaps its purest form. Norway’s allemannsrett makes uncultivated land and the wilderness accessible to everyone. The right goes as far as prohibiting landowners from erecting fences or other barriers. Attempts have been made to introduce “tolls” for using groomed cross-country skiing trails and the Norwegian government stepped in and stopped it. With the growing sharing economy, where people share their cars, apartments and homes, I wonder if sharing land will ever become a thing. But as long as landowners in the United States can be held liable in the event of injury, it’s much more likely that it may not.

Distance:60.0 km (37.3 miles)
Elevation:1’903 m (6’245 feet)
Time:04:42:12
Speed (avg/max):12.8/56.2 kph (7.9/34.9 mph)
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29in.CH Turned Four
While away traveling through the beautiful country of Norway, 29in.CH had its four year anniversary on August 11th. No bikes were ridden while vacationing, but the country would make one fine destination for road, mountain, gravel or fat biking. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity one time to visit that nation on two wheels. For now, I’m looking forward to fall and winter in my local Swiss Jura. Bikes are ready and legs are itching. Zoom

29in.CH Turned Four

While away traveling through the beautiful country of Norway, 29in.CH had its four year anniversary on August 11th. No bikes were ridden while vacationing, but the country would make one fine destination for road, mountain, gravel or fat biking. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity one time to visit that nation on two wheels. For now, I’m looking forward to fall and winter in my local Swiss Jura. Bikes are ready and legs are itching.

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Let’s Have Some More Rain, Please

Skin fryers aka sun tanners must hate this July. It’s been raining almost nonstop since the month started. Rivers are high, creeks are flooding and trails are soaking wet. Did I say wet? Sun paid rare visits and I absolutely love it. Seriously, being able to climb in mild temperatures without a blazing sun but a constant drizzle or rain is something I much prefer over a sunny hot day. Today, rain was a constant companion and the ride turned out to be probably the best one of the year so far. I didn’t hit particularly special trails nor were my legs spinning in any spectacular way, but the calmness and solitude up there just made this bike ride something awfully special.

Distance:51.3 km (31.8 miles)
Elevation:1’648 m (5’406 feet)
Time:03:53:40
Speed (avg/max):13.2/53.6 kph (8.2/33.3 mph)
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Sneakadee Peekadee
Some big blue stuff is going to roll through my fatlands this coming winter.Photo courtesy of 44Bikes. Zoom

Sneakadee Peekadee

Some big blue stuff is going to roll through my fatlands this coming winter.
Photo courtesy of 44Bikes.

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A Singlespeed Cog Design
My True Precision Stealth Poacher rear hub came with a 19T heat treated stainless steel cog. It does what it’s supposed to well, but the simple design sort of lacks the ooh-aah of the incredible hub. So, here’s a cog concept that would match the wicked hubs. It would be sweet to have one made, preferably in 6AL-4V titanium, though the bill would be a bitter one to swallow. But this is a Tumblr site, so why let this CAD rendering collect digital dust somewhere on my harddrive? Feel free to share! Zoom

A Singlespeed Cog Design

My True Precision Stealth Poacher rear hub came with a 19T heat treated stainless steel cog. It does what it’s supposed to well, but the simple design sort of lacks the ooh-aah of the incredible hub. So, here’s a cog concept that would match the wicked hubs. It would be sweet to have one made, preferably in 6AL-4V titanium, though the bill would be a bitter one to swallow. But this is a Tumblr site, so why let this CAD rendering collect digital dust somewhere on my harddrive? Feel free to share!

collideous