Gear Combo Guru
Join Date: May 2007
Bikes: Spec' Tarmac (road), Ridley Fenix (commuter & fast tourer), Salsa Mamasita (MTB), CoMo Speedster (tandem), Surly Big Dummy (cargo), Airnimal (folder)
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For Switzerland, check out the National Cycle Routes
, that website has links to an interactive map where you can view them. Those routes don't take the shortest or easiest option of road, but always take the quietest. Some short sections may be unpaved.
As for the main passes over the Alps that you have to choose from: The Gd St Bernard tends to have pretty heavy traffic, is not the prettiest, and I would not recommend it. The Simplon I haven't yet cycled (I plan to do so very soon), but it would appear to be better traffic-wise than the Gd St Bernard. The Nufenen Pass has very little traffic, but is by far the steepest/toughest climb, and requires you ride up the whole of canton Valais or over the Grimsel Pass to get there. For some sections on the approach road to the Gotthard (before Andermatt), you have to go on the main road, which is very busy, but in many sections there are multiple roads and you can take the quietest option by following the National Cycle Path signs. Over the top, the very old road is still cobbled and is a historic and a memorable ride, but be prepared for it to be very bumpy, the newer road is nicer because of its smoothness and is not too busy because there is also a long tunnel that most of the vehicles use. Starting from Calais, I doubt you'll be interested in any pass farther east than the Gotthard.
Last edited by Chris_W; 05-07-10 at 11:33 PM.