Cyclist Sightings

Cyclist Sightings

Yesterday I went for a walk, during which I listened to two podcasts via AudioBookShelf, but that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that the seasons have changed. The snow has melted and there was a brief interlude in rain so plenty of people went out for bike rides. So many in fact that I seemed to be one of only two or three people on foot.

This makes me happy. I like crossing people on bikes because they usually don’t have big dogs, and they pass by within seconds rather than longer. They also tend not to take up the entire width of the road.

For some reason when couples walk they take the entire width of the road, as do families, and other groups. They’re not morbidly obese. they’re average. They could take as little space as cyclists and I do.

I should be cycling too but my bike lives half an hour from where I live at the moment, by car. It lives there because that’s where I went for bike rides several times and I felt that by transporting my bike, back and forth, in the car, I was damaging it, so I left it there. I never repatriated it because winter was coming so it made little sense. Now that summer is back it could make sense to repatriate it.

In reality I should prepare it for Spain. I should dismantle it, and take it to Spain, for a Spring service, before coming back to Switzerland, and use it, freshly serviced.

The difference in service price between Spain and Switzerland is 70 euros compared to 300 CHF. I could also take advantage of the slightly better weather in Spain to go for bike rides.

I have a few days to decide.

Nyon In Spring

Nyon In Spring

Due to the pandemic I almost never go to Nyon. If I do I often wear a mask and avoid walking around too much. Most people think the pandemic is over. I see, from the data, that it is not, and I want to stay true to previous ethics and morality.

Flowers in spring on the slope behind the Musée du Léman
Flowers in spring on the slope behind the Musée du Léman

Flowers in spring on the slope behind the Musée du Léman
Flowers in spring on the slope behind the Musée du Léman

Magnolia buds in Nyon, by the lake
Magnolia buds in Nyon, by the lake

I am happier walking in the countryside where there are fewer people, and where it is easy to avoid them. I have no problem wearing a mask, but others do not approve of mask wearing, so I prefer to be a lunatic in the countryside, than in town. I also feel better, emotionally, when I am not reminded that others are living normally despite the pandemic.

On a related note I reached 24,000 steps today. I walked six kilometres in Nyon, this morning, before going for a lunch time run, and finally an afternoon walk. During the afternoon walk I counted 24 people walking along a small stretch of rural road. That’s a lot of people. That’s why I avoid that stretch of road. I prefer empty roads. I prefer solitary walks.

The lake too is exceptionally clear but I don’t dive at the moment, so I won’t take advantage of the excellent visibility. Maybe in the near future I will resume diving. I may start again, when I find job security, and a good group of people to dive with, given the fragility of safety when diving.

Day Thirty-One of ORCA in Switzerland — Plenty of Dust

Day Thirty-One of ORCA in Switzerland — Plenty of Dust

You build up plenty of dust as you plow the fields at the moment. The drought continues, as does the desire for this pandemic to be over. For now, the downward trend continues so we could feel optimistic. I’m still optimistic than in two or three weeks recycling centres will go back to normal. At the moment recycling centres remind me of something else.

Looking at this queue of cars reminds me of something. All the engines are off. All the cars are lined up. Plenty of people are in their cars waiting. If you saw this in Calais you’d expect them either to be waiting for the Eurotunnel train to get back to England or for the ferries to take them.

This is an image of Swiss people waiting to get into a recycling centre. Despite this being the 31st day of the pandemic Swiss peoples’ desire and compulsion remains strong. For many people this is the lazy person’s equivalent of “getting out of the house for a bit”. I go for a one and a half hour walk and they sit in their cars, enjoying the fresh air, the tweets of the birds, and best of all a great view on the Mont Blanc. For the last two days we’ve had a good view.

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Colza and the Mt Blanc.

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Today I have spent very little time on Twitter and Facebook because I still can’t stand either of them. I’m thinking of deleting both accounts when this pandemic is over. I spent time modernising my weebsite instead. Pages that haven’t been changed since the late 90s are finally being updated and included within this CMS. The inspiration came as a result of seeing that Google told me in an e-mail that 21 pages were not AMP compatible.
in 1919 people made their own face masks as well. Getting a face mask on a cat does seem troublesome.

Last night I watched this during and after having dinner last night. I feel the need for watching people hike, and socialising. We’re now on day 31. We’re officially a month in. If we were in a different context then I would have almost completed one Via Alpina route by walking several hundred kilometres.

When I started reading about Thur-Hiking it was in blog form, with pictures, and then books, and occassionaly podcasts and then, during this pandemic, I started watching videos of people’s hiking adventures. It’s a way of seeing nice landscapes and imagining what would be possible in Europe. It’s good to plan for the future, and it’s good to have plans that do not require much or any contact with others. Via Ferrata, climbing and other sports may not start again for a while after the last new transmission of the virus. Hiking, however should be possible.
I haven’t watched this yet.

My project, for the next few days, is to continue shifting all my old website content to this blog. I should learn something new in the process.

I need to eat dinner now.

Day Sixteen of ORCA in Switzerland – Pandemic Solitude

Day Sixteen of ORCA in Switzerland – Pandemic Solitude

I was writing a Facebook post when I thought of the term Pandemic Solitude and I love it so much that I wanted to use it as a title for today’s blog post. For most people during the pandemic the order is, stay with the people you live with but avoid being close to others.

When you live with no one this means that you should avoid being close to anyone. Yesterday and today I exchanged words with petrol station workers from two meters away, and with a plate of plexiglass between us. I also talked to a scooter shop owner and here too I stayed about three meters away. It might sound distant in other times but that’s intimate during a pandemic.

Imagine if you were in this situation during a pandemic. How long would you cope with it? That’s why the graph for the rate of infections in Vaud makes me melancholic. That graph, although it’s not getting worse, is staying constant, and at that rate of infections, it means we’re in it for the long haul. It has been steady for five weeks and it could go on for another five weeks or more.

As I walked I saw that spring is still moving forward as planned and that’s when I came up with the thought; “This year spring, for Humans, has been delayed, but flowers and trees are budding and flowering.

Usually at this time of year people would be heading to the beaches, to the mountains and to other places and they’d be enjoying the first rays of the spring sun, and they’d be working on getting their summer chrominance, or at least load up on Vitamin D. This year most people are staying home.

Those that you see the most are mischievous children, enjoying a world where parents and grown-ups are not around to tell them off. Imagine all the mischief they’re up to.

As we’re speaking of grown-ups being invisible I’m also puzzled by the lack of people posting on social media. I would have thought that everyone would be using social media and that conversations would be vibrant but there is no vibrancy. Information services are tweeting and posting to social media but individuals are absent. Where is everyone? Why wasn’t this the opportunity that we thought it would be.

It doesn’t matter, but as a result I have kept my Twitter and Facebook tabs closed. During this crisis, social media is failing us.

An 80km bike ride to Echandens and back

An 80km bike ride to Echandens and back

During a recent walk I noticed that I could hear birds chirping, that the sun was shining and that spring seemed to be booting up. The weather held until Saturday so the conditions were ideal for a nice bike ride. The ride started at around 0840, with frost on the ground and an Outdoor Air Temperature (OAT) of around 1°c.

Usually I ride alone but for once I met with a Strava user and we rode at his pace rather than mine. This is a rare luxury. Usually I push myself for the duration of the ride. I try to ride at threshold for as much of the ride as possible. This ride was at a more leisurely pace.

We rode up from Nyon to Luins and from Luins through the vineyards towards Aubonne towards Apples, Bière and then back down towards Echandens. This involved riding through Springtime vineyards. Below us the U-shaped glacial trough was blanketed in mist, as you can see from the two images.

Shortly after taking this picture we had a short, hard climb. The gradient for the climb goes up to 24 percent. This climb requires strength to get up. I had already encountered this climb but from the other side, heading downwards. At the time I thought that I would never want to do this climb in the opposite direction.

As if this wasn’t hard enough it peaks at 28 percent.

This is the type of climb where you have to be used to clipped pedals. If you run out of steam and need to stop you have milliseconds before you stop and fall over. I rode near the wall so that if I ran out of steam I could rest against the wall. It is a character building climb.

Luckily after this climb it gets easier again.

We continued towards Pampigny and from Pampigny headed down for Morges. It amused me that we passed by rocspot. Rocspot is an indoor and outdoor climbing gym where people can climb year round. It is one of the best climbing gyms of the region.

The route from Morges to Nyon along the lake is relatively flat and more relaxing. There was no wind during the entire ride and the temperature was low enough not to need to rehydrate constantly. I drank just half a bottle. In summer I would have emptied two of them.

If you have several hours to spend on a bike ride then this is a nice ride. For the most part it is a moderate ride with gradual gradients, little traffic until you get back to the lake side, and nice landscapes. There are a number of places where you could stop for a drink or a snack and it gets you within easy reach of Lausanne, should you want to interrupt the ride, and take the train home. It is a nice warm-up for those thinking of doing the nearby cols. I will do this ride again.

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Images from the Via Ferrata de Lavanchy

Despite the warning that rain would fall after 1700 today we went up to explore the Via Ferrata De Lavanchy. it is a via ferrata that requires a 45 minute walk up hill. You walk up towards a cirque and then turn left and continue upwards through some trees. When you get close to the base of the cliff walk straight up to get to the base of the via ferrata. The via ferrata is simple and short.


The Via Ferrata season is back, time to enjoy those mountain landscapes again.

Finally winter is over, the snow is melting away, flowers are coming up and the via ferrata season is starting once again. I will be in the mountains every second weekend from now on to explore via ferratas and hike.

The next via ferrata I will explore is the Via Ferrata Lavanchy. From what I read this is an easy and short Via Ferrata (VF). We will see if it would be a good place for beginners to try this enjoyable sport.