On Friday, June 17th, Mike Samuel & I flew into Zurich for a Tour of the French Alps. We flew separately, since we bought our plane tickets separately on www.hotwire.com, with me flying in on United Airlines at 8:30am, and him later on in the afternoon.
I went through customs, got my bike which was undamaged despite the rear deraileur having stuck out through the box, and proceeded to assemble the bike and place my saddlebag and the handlebar bag on the bike. I had a backpack that I would leave at the Google apartment in Zurich, but until I got access to the apartment I would have to ride with it on.
It took another half an hour to get a SIM card for my unlocked Motorola MPX 220 cell phone, and then I found a person to help me buy train tickets for the Zurich main station. As with most European countries, the trains in Switzerland took a fully assembled bike without any trouble. By 10:30 I was at the Zurich main station looking lost. I had a paper print out of a map of the Google Zurich office, but without any way to orient myself, I exited on the wrong side of the train station. I asked a couple of folks who were sitting by the side of the road how to get to where I wanted to go, and they pointed me at the road around the train station and I went at it.
Riding around a strange town jet-lagged is an andrenaline inducing experience. On the one hand, it's exciting --- the sights and sounds of a city aren't what I'm used to on my daily commute. On the other hand, the stress of not knowing where I was headed weighed heavily on my shoulders --- or was it the backpack?
I eventually hit a river with a road name I didn't recognize. I asked another cyclist and showed her the map, and she told me to turn right, and turn right again at the next block, find this big street, and then turn left. I did as she told me to do, and after that saw the number 6 tram which the folks at the office told me to look for, and followed that down a few blocks before realizing that I could ride past the street I was looking for and not notice if I was blindly following the tram, so I got off my bike and walked. Sure enough the next street was what I was looking for, so I turned right and pushed the bike up the hill until I saw the Google logo. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to open the door with my badge, and then I was in!
I dropped my bike off alongside several other bikes, and then proceeded up the stairs, where I had a full day of work waiting for me, including giving a tech talk, having a couple of technical discussions with folks that I would normally have a hard time working with, and getting the key to the apartment, which I would share with Mike and Rajul. Avieta told me that the week before it had been thunderstorming, so I must have brought good weather with me from California.
At 3:00pm, Mike called the office to say that he had missed his connection at Frankfurt and would not be there till late. This was bad news, since the bike might or might not have missed the connection. (He late explained that he was so jet-lagged that he completely missed the fact that his plane was loading passengers!)
I was running completely on adrenaline, which meant everything went well until the urgency of trying to do everything today faded, which meant that at 4:30pm, I started to feel really really tired. Rajul volunteered to help by carrying my backpack, gave me directions to the apartment along with a better map, and I rode to the apartment with no trouble at all, took a shower, and then we headed out to dinner after Mike didn't show up.
While we finished dinner, Mike showed up and announced that Lufthansa had lost his bike! This was very stressful, and we were both very agitated. We discussed me visiting my friend in Lausanne at the start of the trip instead of at the end, or Mike buying a new bike (which would have been ironic since we had spent 5 hours building him new wheels just a month before the tour).
In the end, we decided to wait. Rajul said that the bike would probably be delivered tonight. I stayed up till about 9:30 and then gave in and went to bed.