Overview of the entire Route 1 (Rhone Route: Andermatt to Geneva): This biking Route follows closely the Rhone river along its linear path through Switzerland. The river starts from the homonymous glacier in Swiss Alps near the Furkapass. It then travels westward through the valley of Valais to empty in the eastern part of Lake Geneva. It emerges to the opposite side, near Geneva, where it turns south-west to travel across France, passing through Lyon and Avignon and finally emptying in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Arles. The actual Route 1 starts a bit before the Rhone Glacier, in Andermatt (part of the St Gotthard massif and in Canton Uri). The town is situated in an alpine valley in the south-central part of the country and is a crossroad of several biking routes. From Andermatt, Route 1 climbs about 1,000m to the Furkapass. Here, at the Rhône Glacier, starts a fast descent following the young Rhone river all the way to Lake Geneva, to finally end in Chancy (near Geneva) at the southern border with France.
SwitzerlandMobility.ch ( http://switzerlandmobility.ch/en/cycling-in-switzerland/route-01.html ) gives the total length of Route 1 as 350km, divided in 8 sections (total ascent 3,600m/descent 4,600m). Route 1 also belongs to one of the major European bicycling routes (Eurovelo 17,eurovelo.com). Apart from Section 1, which has a strenuous long climb and passes near various glaciers, all other sections (2-8) are relatively flat and easy, running through the Rhone valley and along Lake Geneva. The route’s low altitude at around 350-600m (except for Section 1) makes it ideal for rides in colder periods.
Route 1-Section 8 (end of route) (Geneva 375m-Geneva Chancy 427m)
Stats from SwitzerlandMobility.ch: 27 km (3 km unpaved). Height difference is G-GC: 240m, GC-G: 200m. Their site has the full profile.
September 2016 (1-day trip)
I chose to start this route from its end, at the western Swiss border with France in Chancy. But, to summarize my experience, this trip was a big disappointment and definitely NOT WORTH THE TIME.
Although the route starts right at the border with France, it is not possible to reach this point via public transportation. The closest train station leaves you in La Plaine, about 8km earlier. Thus, after reaching La Plaine, I had to choose between skipping the missing 8km (and going straight to Geneva) or do the full section. I chose the latter, also because I wanted to see the actual border with France. This turned out to be in a wooded area, crossed by a small road.
Once I reached the border, I then biked back in the opposite direction.
As I said, section 8 is nothing special, except for Geneva. It unfolds through a hilly landscape, very similar to any suburban countryside in central Europe and lacking any Swiss charm. Near Geneva, the road passes through some manicured suburban villages.
Another frustration was the suboptimal route signs, thanks to which I got lost several times right through Geneva.
In Geneva, it is nice to spend several hours touring the various landmarks or just strolling along the lake. Note that one can see Geneva at the start or end of Section 7 and thus can completely skip section 8.
Here are the links to Introductions & some other sections of Route 1:
- BIKING THROUGH SWITZERLAND (with an electric bike)
- Route 1: Section 7 (Morges-Geneva)
- Route 1: Section 6 (Montreux-Morges)
- Route 1: Section 5 (Martigny – Montreux)
- Route 1:Section 4 & Route 72 (Sierre-Martigny)
- Route 1: Section 3 (Brig–Sierre)
- Route 1: Sections 1 & 2 (Andermatt–Oberwald-Brig)