Leg 2: Oberalppass – Ilanz (50km)
In preparation of our Rhine adventure we came to the conclusion it might be smart to test our gear before hitting the road in mid-September – especially as we are by no means experienced bikers.
In between other commitments we found a two-day window, packed up our bikes, one backpack each and also a small extra bag, which fits in my bike’s front basket. We soon realized that this would be our first test traveling VERY light.
We drove to the Oberalppass where leg 1 of our adventure ended; on the way we saw countless bikers who took part in an extra tough race called the “Alpenbrevet”, which takes place once a year and where you are supposed to drive over three or even five Alpine passes by bicycle in a given time. Those guys and gals definitely looked a tad more athletic than us and we got slightly discouraged by their sleek equipment. But hey, I guess that is why we are going to do it our way. When we got off the car and started unloading the bikes, storm-like winds greeted us and we realized within second it was freeeeezing cold.
The good thing was we were not tempted to waste any time; we found the signs, which we will follow for the next 1200 – 1300 kilometers (the exact figure will depend on how often we get lost) and started driving down the Oberalppass, which was to my surprise good fun! We somehow happened to get a pleasant “window” where there was not too much traffic; otherwise the ride down the steep serpentines would have been a bigger challenge.
We soon reached Sedrun and after a coffee pit stop in Disentis, the bicycle trail descended a bit further where we were reunited with the Rhine.
It was a beautiful stretch completely away from motorized traffic; you were led through small, charismatic villages, which are typical for the Surselva region and could witness how the Rhine already grew a bit in size compared to the small stream it was up at lake Toma.
Besides the typical and expected Alpine villages we also met those fellows who were a bit puzzled as we disturbed their peace and quiet.
At a particular beautiful spot we decided it was time to set up our evening picnic; we enjoyed a beer, some cheese, air-dried meet which is typical for this region (called “Bündnerfleisch”), some nuts and chocolates. The only sound you could hear was the dabbling of the river. Bliss!
When we reached Ilanz we called it a day. As we are having a holiday flat close-by, we locked our bikes at the station, took one of the famous yellow busses – a Postauto – and went up to our cozy home for a well-deserved shower and some sleep.
In case anyone is interested – here is the outcome of our gear testing:
Bags: The backpacks as well as the waterproof duffle bag serve the purpose.
Bicycles: Renz’ mountain bike from “Scott” is perfect. My budget city bike looks really stylish 😉 but I think I tested it to the extreme when driving on the unpatched mountain trails. I somehow managed and think I will look much more stylish than Renz once we are on flat terrain but for the first part I definitely recommend a mountain bike!
Extras: Renz will get himself a carrier for his bike to strap the bag onto it. My baskets worked fine.