On the first day of march 2022 , I started a trip with my selfmade e bike trailer from Linz to Mallorca. The time limit was set to 26th of march.
To find out how me and my team built the music e bike trailer – called Freequencer – together, have a look here.
Day 10 – An untypical thursday in Erzingen
Waking up early at 6 am, I was motivated to drive a long way this day. It was still so cold that even when the sun rose behind the mountains, my fingers didn’t move anymore. So I stopped soon after a 30 minute drive at a fuel station where I met Elke. She was very cool to talk to while warming up with coffee and tea. We said goodbye with a warm hug and I headed to Schaffhausen.
One more time I made a bad choice over a high hill and at the top my e bike motor started to make loud and unhealthy noises. I prayed it will hold our for the rest of the journey. I did my best and drove without the power gear and many of todays distance without the motor at all. Just in Schaffhausen it was a a steep slope without any good roads for bicycles…
In the evening before sunset, I stopped after the german border in Erzingen at an E bike loading station beside a shop. Then something cool happened. The employees of EP Bollinger were very interested in my trailer and story, that I converted it to the grand piano mode and played for them. Passenger also stopped and so this was my first streetmusic for the journey on an untypical thursday in Erzingen!
I mady a few more short stops to write my blog and meet people everywhere.. Also at the resting before Koblenz two exited guys in front of McDonals.
I drove deep into the night to get soon to basel. Suddenly after the border to Switzerland in Koblenz my electro engine stopped working! I tried a few times more, but then gave up and carried it somewhere in a field behind a little forrest and got to bed in hope that tomorrow everything will be alright again …
Day 11 – Back and forth the border
The first thing I saw when I crawled out of my trailer in the morning, was a train passing by a few meters away and it’s conductor waved me with a smiling face. I built up my solar panel, dried my things and cleaned the trailer a bit in the morning sun on the field.
Then I tried again if the bike engine works, but it didn’t. So first I carried it back to a bike shop 2 km away and opened the motor to have a look inside, but it looked ok. Then I went back over the Rhein and border to Germany to find a private place where I could send my replacement controller from home. Somewhere beside the street I met Marcel and Eugen Opa working in a little forrest and preparing wood for the upcoming winter. After I talked to them about my problem, they helped me with the address at their home and I helped them chopping the trees.
Later at their place I met the whole family. I gave one of the kids a little music lesson and played for them. Another wonderful family to meet.
Day 12 & Day 13 – Regeneration, streetmusic and family life
Since I had to wait till monday for my replacement controller, I used my time on the weekend to regenerate my muscles, that did really hurt. Also I repaired again some things on the trailer and bike and got to know the rest of the family.
In the afternoon, I put my little ukulele and a hut in the bag and rode my bike without the heavy trailer up the hill to the old city of Waldshut. I chose the spot on the bridge in the sunshine for my first intended set for streetmusic unplugged. It was nice there and I spread some very good vibes there I think. Also I did earn a little bit of money, I think I will save in case of motor repair costs…
In the evening I built up my piano mode, showed it the family while testing the system for my first set with the whole sound system! I am looking forward how people will look surprised when I build it up in an old town. 😀
Since the sunday weather was the best and warmest so far, I tested my audio system for later that day. We also worked again on the bike with Marcel and his father Eugen. I am very grateful for their help and support all weekend long.
After almost two weeks of waiting to play in a town with my sound bike, I was ready finally and rolled it up the hill to Waldshut. The pedestrians looked interested and amused while I built it all up it just 10 minutes. I started with my tune „Away“, which is always good to start for me, as it brings me in a mood of traveling and positivity. After this song I introduced myself in the typical austrian accent to give them a little smile and then I just played a few of my own songs and covers I love.
When I finished and drove back to the house, Eugen realized that my trailer has a big problem… Oh no now the steel was brocken at the front wheel. And one more time I was extremely lucky nothing worse did happen when driving downhill.
Day 14 – Goodbye Waldshut
How can I ever be so lucky to have big problems like this, and meet exactly a family with two skilled mechanic guys with a very big garage with all machines for metal work right at home…
So awesome we could fix the issue and my replacement controller also came on time on monday morning. Too bad we couldn’t fix the motor acceleration problem, but with Marcel together we created a solution that should help me getting forward. Marcels wife Chrissy cooked a very tasty lunch which all made it even more difficult to leave, because I closed the loving family in may heart already.
Very late that day at 5 PM I had to leave them so I said goodbye to everyone and headed direction Basel right before sunset. It was the 14th day in a row with sunshine by the way, what a great travel weather.
I was motivated to get to Basel which I did archive at 10 pm. It was harder to move with the provisional acceleration system we installed but I could figure it out the best was possible to get on. Before I crossed the bridge at the beautiful town of Rheinfelden, the german police confronted me for the first time. I guess I looked very destroyed and desperate after a very steep slope. We had a nice and funny conversation and the helped me to find the best way to the swiss border.
I parked my bike in a huge park in Basel. I was happy the moon was shining bright, so it wasn‘t too dark there. This should be the first night with rain… the next challenge I have to face.
Day 15 – Upriver all day long
The clock was clicking a little louder. Only around ten days for me left to be at any port in the south of france. I needed to start early to reach my daily’s goals. I got supported again from heaven above, because in the early morning at 4 am it started raining to get me up. I woke up immediately, to have a look at my leather roof and observed it a little nervously if it was really water-proof. I was glad that there were only little puddles in the middle, which I could easily remove with my feet.
I couldn’t sleep anyway anymore and decided to have a comfortable breakfast inside the trailer at 5, before I get out in the cold, wet, foggy morning in Basel. I prepared and pulled over my raincoat. Now it was really difficult to drive the bike balanced through the morning traffic. I gave my best and only walked with the bike on the busy spots.
I found a nice bicycle way out of the city and decided quickly to follow it south to visit my cousin of my cousin Claire, who was located in Jura. What I didn’t realize was that their home was up at over 600 meters in the hills. My will was strong and the battery almost full. After only halve a day of following the river Rhein downstream, I now had to follow the river Birs upstream all the way to Crémines for over 50 km. So I did. Another uphill battle after Haibach…
With many stops, no more power in battery and my body I could reach Maison Matrice at 3 pm. I had to carry the trailer again for the last km. I was so happy to see Claire again after such a long time, but had to load up the batteries and rest first. She helped my finding a nice spot for the trailer in ab open garage and showed me a room to sleep.
Maison Matrice is a cool community housing project for people with love for arts, alternative or experimental living. People come and go, participate and connect for arts, philosophy and creativity.
Day 16 – HELP
I have to say that I didn’t sleep as comfortable as in my trailer I was used to in the meantime, but still I could regenerate that night from the uphill battle the day before. I met a few people from the Maison and had some deep conversations during the day. When Claire came back in the afternoon I decided to continue my journey. But before I suggested we play and sing some tunes together with her boyfriend Malcom. Thank you for the soul in your music, it’s such a powerful communication to jam together.
Anyway I had to leave to get over the pass Gänsbrunnen at 720 m in Jura and drive back east a bit on the way to Geneva. Fully regenerated and with a full batterie I made my way up strong and fast with only one Pause. The downhill street was awesome for the first time really awesome, because it was just straight. With all the trust in my selfmade trailer I didn’t use the breakes and reached a highspeed of about 70 km/h and for the first time I was the one passing by a motor vehicle – haha this guy looked surprised.
And when things seem to be perfectly on the roll, life interrupts with a punch in the face. When I reached Balsthal the traffic was horrible. Right on the main street in the middle of the town, I decided to drive on the pedestrian way a bit, so that the cars can pass by. What a stupid decision … My left wheel of the trailer got off to the street and out of its holder. Then the air went out too but worst of all … the motor was on automatic mode and tried to run on. I realized it when it started to smoke and that was to late.
I tried not to get angry or frustrated and just find a solution. I must admit this was hard to do, because hundred of cars were passing by and not even one stopped for help. I tried all what I could do on my own and found some wood that I could use as a stand to work on the wheel first. After about twenty minutes a woman came out of her flat to warn me angry that the wood is hers. What can I say about this… I tried my best to stay friendly and progressive. Then I asked the man in the Pizzeria beside if he could help me with a air pump because the one I had broke too.
He lend it to me and then finally two boys came around to help me. We couldn’t repair the broken wheel on our own, so they led me to the bike shop a few meters away, short before it closed. The young worker there helped me with the repairing and also explained it to me very detailed for learning – thank you for that.
With the new wheel we went back and put it in the right place. Before we said goodbye they also gave me Ovomaltine and an energy drink for the ride! Wow I was very touched by that and now much more positive again.
I tried if my motor works but it was dead… so I drove out of this ugly traffic town Belsthal without electric support. When I looked up the meters to mallorca after Gänsbrunnen it only goes downhill bit still it was exhausting to do.
After a while in the middle of the highway my wheel came out of its holder again. Now for the first time I started to scream frustrated. And again I tried to stop cars passing by fir help with a sign, but noone stopped. What a shame. I used all tools I got in my trailer to fix it, when finally a very friendly guy, Romano the Holzmech from Oberbipp stopped and helped me repairing again. Not all hope is gone after this nice encounter, but I was quite disappointed from the swiss citizens this day.
I drove on without motor close to Solothurn, where an older guy on the walk with his little dog stopped me to show me the best way. After I explained about my adventure and all problems that day, he gave me some very cool tips that I will try out tomorrow. Let’s see how things will turn out. Stay tuned for more, I ll be back, I won’t stop and I ll continue this with all the will and strength I have.
Day 17 – Discover my human boundaries
I ll keep this day short, because there is not much energy capacity left for me to write the blog at the moment.
In the early morning I tried my luck at the golfclub Wilyhof in Solothurn. At least I got a warm shower and WIFI there to plan some things for the day. I found no help for the motor problem there so I continued. I talked to a few streetworkers on the way to the radio station 32, which was another idea of the old man last night. The told me about a electro motor repair company called Schibli a few km away.
So first station was the radio 32 in Solothurn, where I met Marco. After a little conversation, we went to the studio and started the interview. It was about the trip, story, accident, music and the whole lifestyle on the bike adventure. The hope was to maybe find someone to help over the radio. Then I played one song on the ukulele and headed to the company Schibli.
When I arrived and showed the head of the workers my system, it was only a short and clear answer: „Do kau ma nüt mocha….“ Which means they can’t even help a bit. I was a little frustrated but tried to at least change my replacement controller by myself and see if it maybe works. It didn’t. So plan B was continue without the motor to Geneva, and work the rest out there.
I managed to get close to Biel, but now also my night lights didn’t work anymore, so it was too dangerous to ride in the dark. It was quite stormy too in the evening and my muscles also stopped doing their thing and did hurt so much. I had to stop immediately on the side of the highway. I found a spot behind a small forrest, where it was less windy and got to rest for about 12 hours, what I really needed…
Day 18 – Backwind along the lakes
The strong wind from the east saved literally my ass today. I woke up beside heavy traffic, but thats ok. In the night it’s less traffic and in the morning you wake up on time. ; ) And in the meantime I got used to all the stupid gazes of people in their comfortable heated cars that pass by. Some of them smile, but most look really irritated like they see a ghost.
Not much to say about this day because I rode my bike like crazy. The bike road in the west of switzerland goes most of the time beside a big street with yellow lines for the bikers. At midday I stopped in the beautiful town Neuenstadt and talked to some people who chilled at a cafe. When I walked in the cafe to get to the restrooms, I found an fascinating Bechstein piano, which was also tuned the day before. I couldn’t hold myself back and played a few songs. There were no guests, but still it’s always a great experience to play with an instrument of a quality like this.
Later I passed by Neuenburg and then had my toughest fight of the day in the town Boudry. The only possible way to get further was one street uphill for about 500m and minimum 50m high difference. I canalized all energy I had left on this task and carried my heavy trailer without any help to the top of the hill. Oh my god that was hard, but now I know what I am able to do. Hundred of cars passing by and people inside must have thought: „Hmm why doesn’t he use just a motorized car like we do?“ What do you think why? Write me in a comment below.
In the end of the day I archived 50km with help of the backwind and without my motor. That’s quite ok for me. One goal of the trip was to go to bed every night with the satisfaction that I gave the very best I could that day.