Tilly Tilly Bang Bang…

Posted by on 18, May 2016 in 2016 - Cycle The Rhine, Europe, Germany, Switzerland, Tilly the Tandem

Tilly Tilly Bang Bang…

After Ilanz the Rhine heads through a gorge along with the train but the bike route goes over the top of the mountain to meet back up with the river at Tamins. We decided we’d hop on the train for this short section and save our legs as some of these hills are 15% and are for the hardcore mountain bikers not us. Or maybe we’re wusses as Ben tells me.

The train journey is well worth it, winding back and forth along the bank of the river giving spectacular views of the river a few feet away.

The guards on the train were the usual helpful souls passing our panniers down to us and helping us out with Tilly at Tamins. This is really where the Rhine starts as it’s the confluence of the Vorderrhein and the Rein Anteriur. We had to cycle back up the cycle route a short way to get to the confluence of the rivers for our photo op and when we set off again we were passed by a few mountain bikers on the way down from the pass who looked really impressed with us loaded with all our panniers as we appeared to have just come straight over the mountain. We declined to correct them and grinned guiltily.

We zoomed on towards Chur, a lovely walled town with a nice coffee stop in the market Square and headed out into some woodlands. Tilly had been making a scraping noise from the rear wheel and we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. We stopped to inspect the wheel for the umpteenth time and saw a large boil like bulge on the tyre which immediately exploded as we looked at it and I jumped a mile. Naturally we didn’t have a spare tyre.

We have Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tyres which are good for tens of thousands of kilometers and we’d only done 3000km. They are the tourers tyre of choice and German. Ours obviously was faulty and had split allowing the tube to bulge out of the tyre and then explode.

We checked our maps for a cycle shop and found one 6km away so I set off for a long walk. After a few hundred meters I passed a man loading a bag with soil from a council dump. I asked him if he knew where a bike shop was and he directed to me one only a couple of kilometers away. Result! I happily set off and a moment later he stopped in his car, picked me up, took me to the shop and waited till I had a new tyre and brought me back to Linda. He hardly spoke any English – I think I spoke more German than he did English – but was delighted to help me and I was so grateful for his help too. So kind.

Once I’d fitted the tyre and tube we set off more tentatively, the old tyre was rated to 135kg, the new one 119kg. We may have lost some weight cycling so far but not 16kg! Getting a tandem tyre is a mail order job, so Jacques and Mandy, who we are meeting in Basle are bringing one out for us.

After our delay we decided to camp early for our first night under canvas for nearly 20 years! Obviously this is Jonny camping, so we have gadget chairs, a solar panel, self inflating mattresses, pots and pans that all stack away like a Russian doll, a torch the size of a lipstick, kitchen sink etc etc. Surpisingly it went quite well despite the cold night.

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