BIKING THROUGH SWITZERLAND (with an electric bike)

More photos of the trips at: https://m.facebook.com/bikingthroughswitzerland/

In 2016, I started a long-range personal goal….biking through Switzerland. This country has incredible sceneries and a fantastic well-developed route system for bikes, with national, regional, and local bike routes. The challenge, as well as the attraction, is its beautiful mountainous landscape that makes you climb up and down often more than 1,000m in the same day. To accomplish this, you must either be very fit, or buy an electric bike. I chose the second option……

Tips that I follow:

1) Top websites (and their corresponding Apps): a) SwitzerlandMobility.ch (http://www.veloland.ch/en/veloland.html) for maps and points of interest; and b) myswitzerland.com for places to see. The phone app from SwitzerlandMobility is a must: it tracks en-route my position relative to the bike path and nearby points of interest, and it has saved me many times when I got lost.

2) If using the train, I often buy the 1-day bike ticket (about CHF 13 with Half-Fare Card) since it may be cheaper than buying a second half-fare ticket for the bike. This can be bought online or at the automatic machines. Another option is the Annual Bike Pass (CHF 240 in 2017) sold at the train station office.

3) Another train tip: Plan to end the day at the train station with the most connections. Also, it is important to enter in the coach marked for bikes.

4) Look at the altitude profile of the journey beforehand and start from the side that has the steepest climb first. With this strategy, I get over the toughest hills while still fresh and not at the end of the journey when my muscles are tired and the bike battery may be dying….I usually view the altitude profile under “Facts” in the Stage selected in http://www.veloland.ch/en/veloland.html

5) Keep an eye out for the typical bike route signs at every intersection (sometimes they are hiding). They are red and usually show the route number and the destination, but sometimes they show only a bicycle icon. They may be particularly difficult to spot in urban areas.

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I will start with the “Heart Route” (or “Route du Cœur” or “Herzroute”; see herzroute.ch, or Regional Route 99 of SwitzerlandMobility.ch), so called because it travels through some of the most charming Alpine areas and medieval villages in Switzerland. It crosses the country west-east, from Lausanne to Rorschach near St Gallen on the Bodensee (Lake Constance).

After this, I will tackle the 9 National Routes. And then……we will see. The National Routes often share their paths with the regional and local routes, so there will be a lot of overlapping.

Planning? None. Weather will be key. I will try to bike about 50-70 km/day on weekends from March to October. Most trips will be 1 or 2 days trips (longer when I can). I can continue the route from where I left off the previous time, by loading the bike onto the train, up to the new starting point. The return will again be most likely by train to maximize time. I have added more information about “traveling by train with a bike” in Route 99: Section 2 (Romont to Laupen)

Let’s get started! Below is an update on the major routes that I’ve explored so far (at least in part):

And here are my favorite sections so far:

Additional minor Routes:

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