Sunday 22 September 2013

Day 2: Simplon Traffic

The breakfast in the Hotel Monterosa is abundant and excellent enough to start a well riding. Greeted Federico, the hotel owner, who I'm sure is following on the blog, I would recommend the Hotel Monterosa if you are visiting the Orta Lake area.

The journey today starts with a ride of the east side of the lake in the northern part from Orta village. Despite in this part of the lake there are a bit more places for accessing the lake side, even here it is a continuum of fenced area and gates. The strange thing is that somewhere there are some terraces, even with flowers, but they are closed with a chain, because they are private parking for cars, unbelievable there is no space for people to access the lake and there are spaces for private cars.

Once arrived in Villadossola I met a nice person who tells me about the San Bartolomeo church and the richness of the surrounding natural area. The most impressive thing was that despite his 82 years that men looked so young and alive. He dedicated his life to the rescues in the mountain (soccorso alpino), a great person who was involved in more than 400 rescue operations for 57 years long of activity. I was really emotional and I felt honored to meet him. It is true that the mountain and the passions keep you alive and full of energies.

Just after Domodossola while I'm going to start the Simplon uphill another destiny encounter is going to happen. Robert, from Seattle, great person, he is travelling from Genevre, crossing the Simplon, passing to Lugano, back to Switzerland and then Germany, with final destination the Octoberfest.

Robert travelled a lot with the bike, many intereesting trips, it would be great if in the future he will have time to tell them on CuboViaggiatore.I personally had a good feeling with him despite not much time to chat.
This kind of encounters is what I love travelling with bike, it is a great opportunity that bicycle offers and it is imposssible using other means of transportation. In the moment when we look each other a strong feeling to tell our stories, to share the travel emotions and the technical bicycle details, to tell about the past and the future challenges. Thank you Robert, and good luck. Safe journey! Hoping to speak soon.

The first part of the way to the Simplon Pass is a wide road, here where I met Robert, a lot of space between the white line and the guardrail and inclinations not exaggerate (4%).

Unfortunately this enjoyment finishes quite soon, the road start with inclination  of 7-8% and the road fit in to a narrow valley where even the sun have problem to get there. Additionally the nightmare of tunnels started with the white line almost attached to the lateral step, this will be a constant up to Brig.
The mountains landscape is beautiful, but the traffic, the tunnels, the work in the road and those bloody traffic cones in the middle of the road make everything difficult, I'm a bit disappointed by the Swiss bike mobility management, I expected more bike friendly roads.

On the right side of the road the bloody step which didn't allow any later movement, with falling risk at any time, at the center of the road the bloody traffic cones which didn't allow the car to overtake me (fortunately today there are no trucks). It would be enough to overtake slowly but all are formula one drivers who get annoyed at the only presence of a bicycle on their way. All day long one car only overtake me decently (it was a car with french plate)

The narrow valley at a certain point flow into a wide valley and the sun appears back again. Finally I had time for a break and a sandwich. Unfortunately the asphalt nightmare is going to start, the asphalt is scratched because it has been removed, maybe for later pavement renewal. In summary on my right the step and somewhere traffic cones, the scratch pavement, traffic comes in the center road, mostly of the time in the tunnel with a loudly noise of cars and motorcycles ... I let you judge ... the Simplon for cycling point of view it has been not a big satisfaction. I don't think I will put Simplon again in my tours. It is quite curious that there is even a bicycle brand called Simplon.

Brig, a nice town, if you want to taste a good real italian pizza and an excellent lasagna I would recommend the Ristorante Pizzeria Matza (Alte Simplonstrasse 18, 3900 Brig, Switzerland).
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