Visit to Jungfraujoch

August 22, 2021

The railroad to Jungfraujoch was completed in 1912. There is now a network of cogwheel trains and cable cars that make it possible to get up there in about 90 minutes from Interlaken. I purposefully took a different route down than up.

I didn’t really know what I would find at Jungfraujoch. I came with my warmest clothes. No problems there. What I found was pretty cool.

Aside from the plentiful tourist traps, I found ice tunnels cut into the glacier, and outside a groomed trail where you could walk up a ~2km hill, a 200m climb to the Monk’s hut. While this may sound easy, I found many folks turning back before reaching half way.

The Monk’s hut is run much like a hostel. For $70 CHF, you can spend the night in a dormitory, dinner included. Many climbers are there preparing for their climb the next day. I was tempted to spend the night, but wasn’t really prepared. The smell of warm food coming from the kitchen was good. Maybe next time.

Alphorn in Interlaken

On toward Zurich

I spent three nights in Interlaken but was hoping to meet up with Roberto in Zurich before the weekend. I needed to cover some ground now.

At the eastern end of Brienzersee there are some hills to climb which I have gotten used to. At the top of the climb, I celebrate with lunch in a cafe. On the long downhill, I discovered an interesting quirk in my brakes.

I discovered a new noise in my front wheel after releasing the brakes. Looking down, I could see that the disc brake rotor had become badly warped and was scraping the pads twice per revolution.

I also noticed that the rotor was quite hot, which makes sense after a long downhill. After stopping and letting things cool down, the warped rotor became flat again and the noise disappeared. I emailed my mechanical engineering friends, Eric Nordman and Dan Blick about this.

They pointed out that a heavily loaded bike on a long downhill in thin air was clearly pushing the limits of my brakes. What was happening was thermal expansion at the braking surface of the rotor which caused the rotor to warp. Fortunately the warping was within the elastic limits of the steel rotor, so no permanent damage was done.

I also traded emails with Dana Liebermann who advised me to get metal brake pads. Apparently they have better thermal conductance.

That day I came across a bike shop with the right parts. I changed out the pads in the campground the next morning. I kinda like having brakes that work well. I have had no problems in the ~200km since.

Meet up with Roberto in Zurich

Roberto is a friend of my Brother. They had worked together on many projects in different companies. He is working for Google now in Zurich. He invited me for dinner in his home with his wife Rufina.

They live in a wonderful two story apartment on the top floor in the middle of Zurich. Roberto has a modified grand piano where he can disable the strings and practice with headphones.

Roberto made great spaghetti carbonara. I got some good tips about travel in Switzerland. Next time I will have to visit Zermatt.

On to Germany

The next morning I set out for Germany to visit my good friends Romy and Henry. It’s almost 90km to Ueberlingen. I want to make it in one day because there is rain in the forecast for the following day.

Wish me luck.

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