I have failed to get hooked up to the Internet via Wi-Fi here at the campsite so instead I have just been through all the comments made over the last couple of days, made some notes and below are your individual responses. Some comments might only make sense to the person they are written to, others are more general;
Richard Bradley: Hope you enjoy your weekend in the Netherlands. When I read your comment for the first time I thought you said you were going to New Zealand for the weekend (not Zeeland). I suppose it’s worth checking the spokes before and after a rocky ride. The handlebars are excellent although I am finding it difficult to write at the moment! I’ll be coming back from Puglia by train although I purposefully haven’t planned that in any detail. I once had a plan to “ferry hop” back…
David & Jean Sykes: I’m amazed you have read the whole thing! What will you have to do when the book comes out? 🙂 Thanks for the sponsorship.
Sally Elliott: It was the most remarkable view yesterday morning from the campsite in Andermatt. I’m so glad that I picked that day; it would have been a very different journey the day before or especially today. My Italian is getting better by the hour; I’m thinking of introducing it into the Year 7 curriculum in September….
Mum & Dad: It’s all the practice of cycling up Blackley Road for all those years.
Darrell Whittle: I did think about Hartside while I was riding up to the pass yesterday. I have to say that on the ‘old’ bike that I used last summer it was actually more difficult!
Ian Hendry: As you now know, I ‘caned’ it too much on the cobbled downhill path. I’ll ask around for your mate John in Como 🙂
Mile Williams: For a man who was brought up riding The Pennines (see comment above to parents), The Apennines should be a push over (errr… they may be just that!). To sponsor me go to http://www.justgiving.com/ev5 and follow the instructions. Thanks in advance for doing so.
Basil Ford: Put the kettle on! Strange you should associate Claus Zimmermann with Bob Dylan as he was recounting tales last night of his visit to the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival where he was “40 metres from Jimmy Hendrix”!
Simone: Watch the tracker to see where I am tomorrow evening; hopefully Como. I have re-read your email about the route but will stick to the Como route because it’s easier for me here in Switzerland as it’s the final bit of the Swiss Route 3. Hopefully see you on Saturday.
Tricia Graham: I am glad that at least one of the St. Bernard stuffed dogs has a good home. Does he smell of smoke? 🙂
Nick: Glad you and your dad enjoyed the Gotthard Pass; which route did you take? The new or old route? I will look up the video on YouTube.
Jim Rawnsley: Your comments contain such immense detail and background knowledge it’s like having my own personal cycling advisor. Very much appreciated although I wouldn’t dare do some of the things you mention with the bike; taking everything apart would be OK but putting everything back together is another question altogether! I forgot to mention in the post yesterday about how when I got to the bottom a second spoke had gone. The back wheel was very wobbly. Next year is something I think a lot about while cycling; across the USA perhaps? Could I do that in the six weeks of school holiday?
Chris Hammersley: Good question as to which road. Certainly use the old road on the way up. It’s fantastic not having to watch out for the traffic on those last few kilometres. Go careful on the old one on the way down as you could have the same problems as me. I suppose the most spectacular thing about the cobbled road on the southern side was seeing it from the top and for that view you will have to go down the new road about 200 metres anyway. Check your brake pads as well. And if you do have a technical problem when you get to Airolo, head to the rental place next to the train station and look put for a guy with a cigar!
Iain Harper: As with Jim, you are like having another technical expert at my beck and call. I feel like a Formula 1 driver with a whole team behind him! I could have watched the guy who mended my wheel for hours; he was a real master at work!
Thanks to everyone who has commented, not just those mentioned above. It is great to know I’m being followed and writing emails like this keeps me out of trouble in the evenings… Tomorrow the real Italy! Keep watching 🙂