Day 327 – SWITZERLAND: Lausanne

I was a guest speaker at the International School of Lausanne today. Heidi arranged for me to come in at lunch time to speak to students interested in my journey. The small room was packed with about 50 students, many of whom had come to know of me from the reports of other students who had been part of the Village Camps week in Leysin. The presentation was well received.
I left them with this quote:

If you had one shot, one opportunity, to sieze everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or let it slip. – Eminem

I had a very productive day logistics wise also. I figured out a shoe-saving strategy for the big hills, and connected up a speedo to measure my speed, average speed, max speed, distance etc.

The shoe saver in Lausanne, Switzerland The shoe saver in Lausanne, Switzerland

The big shoe saving idea was inspired by a fellow Village Camps colleague, Julian. He suggested I duct-tape a bit of bicycle tyre to my shoe. That would work also, but using a car tyre inner tube seems to be the way to go at the moment. Easy to put on and take off, and doesn’t require any major taping up.

The obvious drawback is that it looks rediculous. No, I won’t be wearing it all the time. It’ll only make an appearance if I am doing any really long downhill stretches. Plus, the ‘parachute’ works very well in keeping my speed down enough that I can jump off the board if neccessary.

Speedo on the skateboard in Lausanne, Switzerland

Speedo on the skateboard in Lausanne, Switzerland Speedo on the skateboard in Lausanne, Switzerland

Now this is the thing I’m most excited about. I have hooked up a standard cycle computer to read the speed of my skateboard. The wheel size is accurately set to 305mm – the circumfrence of my skateboard wheels. I will update this size regularly as the wheel wears down. The magnet that is usually attached to the spokes on a bicycle wheel is screwed into the solid rubber wheel. The sensor which is usually attached to the forks of a bike is attached to the axle of the skateboard. My trucks (the name for the axle part of a skateboard) has very convenient holes in them, which allows me to easily attach the sensor in just the right spot.

I had to buy a new speedo for this. The US$5 one that I bought in Uzbekistan was going strong, but the mount didn’t hold up to the vibrations of the skateboard.

Last but not least today is some exciting news on the sponsor front. Skateboarding protective equipment manufacturer TSG, who are based in Switzerland, have agreed to supply me with a superlight skateboarding specific helmet and some lightweight knee pads. Big thanks to TSG , and I look forward to wearing their gear.

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11 thoughts on “Day 327 – SWITZERLAND: Lausanne

  • Aunty Les

    Well, your skateboard and gear are certainly a big advance on what you fell off and in way back that Christmas in Oamaru.

    An interesting quote, but if everything you want comes in one moment what are you going to do for the rest of your life? I think what you want in life never comes in one moment but in a series of moments over a life time.

  • Lee

    Hey, that's all great news! Good idea with the car tyre overshoes – I think they make some sort of sandal with a tyre sole in PNG, though that could be urban legend 🙂

    Did you go 29km/h?! That's pretty fast for a skateboard. (Unless I'm way behind on such things)

    Also great about TSG's sponsorship. They clearly are a wise, benevolent and visionary bunch 🙂

  • Mike C

    I'm stoked you're back on the road Rob. Keep up the great posts!

    (by the way, how did you get the magnet to stick to the skateboard wheel?)

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    @ Aunty Les – I agree about the quote. Every moment there are opportunities. But for many people, including myslef, letting those opportunities slip is so easy to do. If we could all capture just a few of those opportunities, or at least open our eyes to them, then we could all achieve, love, dream, and live beyond our wildest dreams.

    @ Lee – I wasn't wearing a helmet, so was taking it weasy…

    @ Mike – The magnet is a type that has a threaded thing on the back that I can screw straight into the wheel. I hasn't come out yet, so all is well.

  • Mikael

    As a kid I grew up in Tanganyika, East Africa. The locals used to make flip-flop sandals out of discarded car tyres. Terrific milage.

  • Aunty Lyn

    Well, Rob, I agreee the journey is the key thing, not the transport. I like the shoes – reminds me of the days we wore galoshes over our shoes on wet days when we were kids!!

  • Andy McC

    This is the first day I have come across the website and I have to say you are an inspiration! I will certainly continue to make a daily visit to this blog.

    And could you tell me what the make and model the speedo is, I love to travel mile on my longboard but I'm yet to find a speedo which goes down to the small wheel sizes.

  • Murdo


    It has given your trip a new lease of life, I am loving the skateboard idea!! Ride carefully! We don't want any wipeouts!

  • rob Luxton

    The attaching a sail plan is taking shape… quite possibly a sheet flapping around on a bamboo pole, but if I can pull it off then a full on spinnaker setup powering me across the Gobi.

    We shall see. First things first. I need to be reunited with Wheelie and Ditch.

  • mirjam

    Walt Whitman must have written this poem for Rob:

    "Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

    Healthy, free, the world before me,

    The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

    Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,

    Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,

    Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

    Strong and content I travel the open road.


    Thank you for leaving some of that 'good fortune glitter' behind. Mirjam