Day 323 – SWITZERLAND: A New Challenge

I apologise for the lack of posts these past few weeks. Work is on the go, and the last thing I have wanted to do is to type at a computer. My mind has also been occupied with other things…namely the following development in the 14degrees journey:

My bicycle has been sent home.

The past and future of 14degrees Off The Beaten Track in Leysin, Switzerland

That thing on top of my boxed up bike is a skateboard. On it I will skateboard the rest of the way to England. Along the Rhine river it is!

Once in England I will figure out the logistics of skateboarding across North America. If successful, I will be the first person to skateboard across North America solo and unassisted.

I will be carrying all I need to survive on my back in a backpack. It currently weighs about 8kgs without food or water.

Rob has a new mode of transport

For the past week I have been in Leysin, Switzerland. It has been a wonderful end to a great season with Village Camps. I really enjoyed working with the staff, and this week’s students were a definite highlight.

On Monday the 25th of June I will walk down the hill with my skateboard in my hand and my backpack on my back. It will all begin again.

Stay tuned for more info…

To be revealed in further posts:

  • How will I slow myself down on the hills?
  • How will I save my shoes from excessive wear?
  • How will I measure my speed and distance covered?
  • What will I be carrying?
  • What is my route?
  • How did I come up with this new challenge?
  • and much much more…

Leave a Reply to carl w. Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

26 thoughts on “Day 323 – SWITZERLAND: A New Challenge

  • Mum

    So Europe roads were proving just too tame, eh? Not adventurous enough after Central Asia? Are you allowed to Skateboard on main roads or are there bike paths you can use all the way to England? And North America-looks like your next few years are going to be all about adventure. I look forward to your explanations etc. on this change. You are DEFINITELY going to have to write a book when you FINALLY finish! I'll even offer to be your editor. I was rather looking forward to seeing sooner rather than later. Maybe Dad and I are going to have to have a trip to meet you somewhere.

  • Nana

    I am beginning to think you have become addicted to adventure!!! It becomes rather a lonely life after a while – no long term friends or relationships – always moving on.

    I am a little disappointed that you did not finish the trip you set out on. That is to ride your recumbent bike all the way to London. Changing vehicles before the end sort of invalidates the whole thing. Sorry for sounding a bit negative, but at my age, just thinking about skate boarding all that way makes me feel very very tired indeed! I hope you don't end up with one leg shorter than the other!!!

    Praying lots of prayers for you.

  • Marija


    great to "hear" about your next step. 😉

    Oh well once we started, we can not stopped it. Go for it.

    Definitly looking forward to see new updates with great photos as always.

    Enjoy. Play it safe. And plenty of nice people & great momments.

  • gareth


    finally i'm back in rossland and it gave me great pleasure to read ur blog entries. really enjoyed working with and gaining ur friendship. good luck on the next step, i somehow think u'll find it easier than working at village camps! we're already planning a celebration for ur arrival in rossland

    l8r sk8tr!

  • Chris J

    Hi Rob,

    Great to finally get a new update and learn what you are up to.

    All I can say is "Huh?" This new mode of travel comes totally out of left field for me. I will be very interested to see how this adventure of yours proceeds from here. I am also a little sorry to see the bike go, but since you seem convinced to try and get into the Guiness Book I will just wish you well and continue to enjoy your journey. If you do go to the US be sure to swing on by Madison for a day or two. Not a bad place, lots of bike paths….just not in the winter. You would need a snowboard for that.

  • Raphael


    just got home, after this awesome week 😀

    I hope I'll see you in Lausanne. For the skateboard shops there is one called escape here: rue pépinet 5

    and the other one is doodah at: Rue Haldimand 10

    they are pretty close from each other. DooDah is a bit bigger so they might have more tools than escape.

    I'll Probably check your website in 1 or 2 days to see where you are 😀

  • akimoto

    Hey Jollynut,

    off course you are nuts.

    But that is the reason, why this blog is that interesting as it is.

    How many kilometer a day you can go with the skateboard?

    This will be a pain to your feet and knees, I guess. But anyhow.

    I hope we can meet somewhere between Cologne and Düsseldorf at the Rhine-River in a few weeks. Have fun.


  • martynJ

    Go Rob! Missed your blog ~ I have no doubt you've been inspiring guys and gals with your participation and enthusiasm at Village Camps. I love your challenge ~ look forward to following you across NA. I've followed you from your first tentative ride to work familiarising yourself on the recumbent ~ and wow didn't you embrace that challenge! Why not get a charity involved ~ hope and homes for children for example. I'll put £50 down now, and NA is a rich country. Just a thought mate.

  • Aunty Les

    I agree with your Mum! Obviously, biking is no longer adventurous enough, but won't it take so much longer on a skateboard? Is there some underlying wish not to come back to NZ at


  • satoshi

    Oh I am gutted to hear that you are not completing your cycling journey. I agree with your Nana that the switch of the vehicles invalidates the whole thing 🙁 You should have completed your journey to UK in a week, enjoyed your tour around Europe then planned a new journey in the US… I believe that many of the readers of your site are rather disappointed! Anyway good luck with your skating journey (make sure to check the highway code of each country if you decide to skate on the road)

  • carl w.

    Have you been out in the sun too much?

    Please put your hat back on…and drink some water!

    Anyway best of luck with it all I'm sure you know what your doing…. ya right!

    regards from darkest surrey

  • carl w.

    perhaps I should have phrased that differently…

    but this does mean I won't get a go on the bike! Cr4p I was looking forward to that!



  • Scott

    Hey, Rob: Radical switch of modes for your journey! Contrary to some others, I hardly think it "invalidates" your journey. It makes the final bit that much harder! Looking at the deal from a purely sort of "rules-based" or philosophical gaming point of view, I'd say you'd have to rent a car or hop a train to "invalidate" this trek you are on. But how could you part with the Street Machine?! You'll miss her on some of those long stretches across the Mid-West.

    Maybe we'll meet up somewhere in the United States. I'll probably be the only guy out on the roads with a Street Machine and yellow, Radical panniers.

    Skate, well, brother!


  • Bram

    Hello Rob,

    As a recumbent bicycle driver, I agree with some of the writers: I'm a little disappointed too to read that you switched from recumbent to skate board. Nevertheless, it's good to read that you are on the road again and we still love to invite you for (a few) day(s) in our house just north of Rotterdam, Holland. Are you still planning to come to Holland after all ?

    Love to stay in touch,


  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Raph, thank you very much for the locations of the skate shops in Lausanne. The maps will make it so much easier to find them. Thanks again, and take it easy…

  • BoardFree Laura

    Hi Rob – wow – you got yourself a nice little skateboard there! Good luck with the continuation of the journey. I am in awe of the fact you're carrying it all on your back – something I find pretty tough to do! Get yourself a good pair of shoes, and prepare for one of the most interesting methods of transportation you'll ever take!

    Laura from Boardfree

  • Al

    We will be scanning the horizon on the Atlantic waiting your arrival in the US of A. If you make it down to North Carolina you have a place to rest your head.


  • Dan

    Hey Rob,

    Great working with you last week. All the best with the journey up to London. Watch out for these european nutters in cars. I'll be keeping track of your progress. Cheers, Dan.

  • John

    Don't worry about "invalidating" your trip. It's the journey that counts. While recumbent aspect was personally interesting, any way you complete the trip works.

    I understand the appeal of the skateboard, I often find myself walking along and wishing I could just float by a little quicker. I miss my younger days of skating everywhere. Still, I can't imagine doing it with a pack – it'll be really hard on your knees. Best of luck, I'm looking forward to following your journeys…

  • James and Sarah

    We are definitely excited and curious to see how the skateboarding goes! Can't wait to read the bog again. If we are back in the US, you are definitely welcome to stay with us. We'll let you know where we are!

  • Murdo


    Glad to finally see the board, nice one!! Take no notice of the negativity, it is your adventure and yours to do with it as you please 🙂

    Look fwd to the continued updates!

  • Samual

    What wordpress plugin do you use to manage the social buttons?
    Do you add those by hand or what? Every one I have tried using
    does not work and leads to a busted page. I am aware I’m doing something wrong.