Cycling the Rhine

Day three – Bad Ragaz to Konstanz

I awoke to the sound of rain on my tent at 5am. By 6am it seemed to have cleared away nicely. I swapped onto my last spare tube and I was keen to hit the road, but I had to wait until 9am when the local bike shop opened so that I could grab some additional spares. I was determined to make up for the loss of time / miles the previous day. I figured if I could hit Buchs (11 miles away) by 10am then I wouldn’t be too far behind.

The path to Buchs was pretty helpful;


Along the way there were some interesting looking clouds swirling around threatening rain;

I managed to achieve that goal and pushed on towards Bregenz. The weather started closing in at this point and the waterproofs came out. The new tube seemed to be holding up well so I decided I could get the bike through if I rode carefully. I knew there was a bike shop in Konstanz where I could get it looked at by someone who knew a bit more than I did. To be fair this isn’t difficult, my knowledge of bike repair is awful for someone who sets off on these kind of trips.

Somewhere between Buchs and Bregenz I came across this;


Which I think is part of the now redundant Border Line defences which were constructed in the late 1930’s and only finally abandoned in the late 1980’s. I believe they were never fully intended to stop an invasion from the west, more to delay it long enough for a withdrawal up into the Alps to defend and control the passes.

I think I must have been around 10 miles short of Bregenz when the rain started coming down in serious amounts. By the time I arrived in the centre of the town there wasn’t a single part of me which wasn’t soaked to the skin. I piled into an Italian restaurant and ordered coffee and the biggest plate or tortellini bolognese I have ever seen. I took my time with it and more coffee, watching the rain, trying to decide as to whether to take a break and wait for it to improve or not. Three separate weather forecasts were telling me that it wasn’t going to improve for two days. I’d just have to man up and get on with it. So I set off in the rain, heading along the south coast of Lake Constance towards Konstanz.

I have very few photos from this leg of the trip, mainly because the rain was too heavy to take the camera out without fear of it flooding, but also because there wasn’t a lot to see. Had this been a beautiful sunny day, I am pretty convinced that I would have been snapping every half mile or so.. Lake Constance has the feel of a Windermere, tree lined shores extending up into the hills, with enviable houses picked out in the forests and lining the banks.


I think I was roughly 20 miles short of Konstanz when it became apparent that the rear brake, which had been gradually fading in effectiveness throughout the day had finally given up the ghost and no amount of tightening / fiddling / adjusting would make any difference. The bad news was that by this point, the front brake pad was seriously fading too, so heading downhill was only survived by a series of zig zag movements, prayers to gods I don’t believe in and feet dragging along the ground. Needless to say that in driving rain, the last 20 miles were seriously hard work and taken painfully slowly.

I eventually arrived in one piece though and checked into a hotel, keen to get warm and dry. The thought of camping after 6 hours riding in the rain wasn’t so appealing! A bath and a change of clothes seriously helped.

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