Zuri West

Rain, rain go away, I want to ride my bike today!

I'm just a lonely bike waiting to be ridden...

It’s been a wet week so far in Zuri. A good excuse to stay in but it’s frustrating because I BOUGHT A BIKE on the weekend and I am itching to get peddaling!

The afternoon (Saturday) I got said bike was sunny at least. And this was good because I got it at the Veloborse – a second hand bike market that happens every month or so in Zurich. Felt like a proper Züricher going along to this and making a purchase! 🙂

In typical Swiss fashion, the bike market was extremely well organised. There were hundreds of used bikes for sale and anyone could wander in as a punter. Each bicycle has to be registered with the people who run the market (Pro Velo) and they require proof of ownership/ that it’s not stolen and they check it’s roadworthy at least (although take no responsibility, they are 2nd hand bikes after all). All the bikes are set out on a big carpark/plaza, each with a slip showing the make, seller’s name, price etc. So you just grab one you like and take it for a little test-ride around the platz (or further afield, if you leave your wallet or something as security). Then, when you find one you like, you take it up to the central cashdesk and pay your money (cash only). A lot of the vendors are there to answer questions on the bikes (one guy almost sold me a cool vintage one but it didn’t have enough padding/suspension for my non-cycling ass). And there’s also a tent where they can do adjustments to seat height, tyres and stuff for you on-site.

Because we went there late in the day (around 1.30pm, the thing closed at 3) we may have missed some bargains but it did mean vendors were keen to shift their stock. After walking away from the vintage beauty and narrowly missing out on a really ugly bike I thought would be a perfect thief deterrent (when I went to test-ride Uglycycle another woman had already grabbed it, faugh!) I found – joy – a stylish black Cresta (classic Swiss brand), which is actually the same make as the one I test-rode and LOVED at Velotto (a devastatingly hip bike shop in Zuri West). Best of all, I bargained the guy into a 10% discount and walked away very happy with my new-old bike. Score!

Then I bought myself a sensible (?!) new orange helmet (I’m having a bit of an orange/pink binge atm). I figured it would make me easier to spot since I so often wear black and am likely to be careening along on the wrong side of the road.

Now, if only this rain would stop so I can ride it… !



The Pricetag of a Freitag Bag

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I went to the Freitag store yesterday with P. Pretty much a must-do pilgrimage for anyone visiting Zurich. Man, those bags are expensive!

Freitag bags are a Zurich invention and they have a funky store made from a vertical stack of old shipping containers in Zuri West (the newly hip, ex-industrial, inner-city area of town). I’ve been past the store a few times but this was the first time I entered it. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly a buggy (stroller) friendly building.

We’ve been experimenting with leaving the buggy behind, which is what we did. The transport here is so easy and there’s LOTS of it. So we caught a tram to a park I’d spotted a few days ago on an earlier random tram trip. Then I checked the map and realised I could get a bus across to Hardbrucke/ Zuri West to Freitag. Win.

I’m hoping to get one of the bags as a gift for someone back in London. It seems like a useful, cool, practical thing that is also very “Zurich”. They do cost a lot and I am happy to pay the money, but what if the recipient doesn’t like it? They’re all a bit old and beaten-up looking (which is the point – the bags are made out of recycled truck tarpaulins) but it might not be to everyone’s taste. I find present buying so hard, for pretty much this exact reason. I want to get people something great, but if they don’t love it, I’d rather not spend so much, add to the unwanted tat of the world etc. And, if I’m brutally honest, maybe I’m just worried they won’t know how much I paid and therefore, how much I value them… it’s awful that it feels like money= an expression of worth/value in this instance.

On a positive note, you get an amazing view from the top of Freitag tower, although I didn’t take any pics, d’oh – next time! And it was fun to browse all the different bag designs. Plus I’m sure hefting a 15kg? child the whole way to the top was good exercise.

I came home and looked Freitag up and, grudgingly, can kinda see why they cost so much. I guess, like most Swiss-made things I’ve come across so far, it falls into the “reassuringly expensive” category. If you pay that much, you’re hopefully buying something that’s very good quality, sustainably & locally produced, non-sweatshop etc. And hipster as hell, of course.