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Touring in Switzerland (looking for advice)

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Touring in Switzerland (looking for advice)

Old 06-15-22, 03:20 PM
  #1  
mbliven
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Touring in Switzerland (looking for advice)

My stoker and I are considering traveling to Switzerland to do a multi-day unsupported cycling tour on our travel tandem in October, starting in Zurich and finishing in Geneva. (Well, I am considering it and I will need to convince the rear admiral that it will be doable and fun!) We are fortunate, as our daughter is currently doing PhD work in Zurich and we are also invited to attend a robotics competition in Geneva. Those factors sort of drives the proposed route, travel direction, and timing.

I have mapped out a route from Zurich to Geneva that follows the various cycling paths recommended on the Switzerland Mobility web site: https://www.schweizmobil.ch/en/cycli...itzerland.html . It looks to be about 290 total miles , so plan to average 30-40 miles/day with a couple of lay days for a 10-day trip. Return travel from Geneva to Zurich via train. We will carry cycling gear, clothing, and snacks in two panniers and plan to stay at inns along the way (no camping or cooking.)

We are experienced tandem riders and recently completed a supported 8-day trip on Ireland's Atlantic coast, but this would be our first visit to Switzerland. I did a search on this forum but didn't find much regarding Switzerland. Would appreciate any suggestions or tips from others who may have cycled portions of this route or elsewhere in Switzerland. Primary areas of concern for us are the climbs (it's a tandem and there are are a few climbs in the 1,500 - 2,000 ft range along the route), daily mileage, weather, and lodging. Also, should we make lodging reservations ahead of time in October or is it better to plan day to day?

Attached is an over view and here is a link to our planned route if someone would like to see the details: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/39834476

Thanks in advance for any information!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
Zurich to Geneva.pdf (588.0 KB, 3 views)

Last edited by mbliven; 06-15-22 at 03:26 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 06-15-22, 05:27 PM
  #2  
raybo
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I did a 2 week loop in Switzerland that started and ended in Schaffhausen. I didn’t go to Zurich but rode some of the places shown on your route map. Here is a link to my detailed journal of that ride. Be aware that not all Swiss Bike routes are paved or even well graded. Also, be very careful to check elevations on the routes you intend to ride. It was during this ride that I learned that I can’t ride up any road on a map.

While the valleys are nice, the mountains are stunning. Also, the Swiss train system is top-notch,so it often is possible to take a train up a pass and then ride from there. Not sure if taking a tandem on a train is more hassle than a single one.

Switzerland is an expensive place. I found restaurants the most expensive places of all. By contrast, hotels seemed reasonable. Food in grocery stores was also reasonable. My recommendation is to try to find accommodation with cooking facilities to avoid restaurants as much as possible.

I’ve ridden in Switzerland on 3 different tours. The drivers are courteous and many roads have bike lanes. Don’t shy away from direct routes, especially if you can see from Google street view that it has a bike lane. After an unsatisfying day spent struggling up steep,uninteresting Swiss bike routes,I wrote this article about Swiss bike routes.

Have a great time in this beautiful country!
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Old 06-15-22, 06:06 PM
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We did most of your route in 2008
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=96161&v=I9
There were some very steep climbs at some points and these may be difficult for a tandem. Especially the climb after crossing the lake from Rapperswill - the initial climb on sealed road is challenging but it gets steeper when you turn off onto gravel roads. After crossing the lake after the top of the climb, there is another steep climb on sealed road but then a great descent and onto a gentle downhill gravel road.
Another section from Sachein to Brunig Pass was done on the sealed road. I think the bike route takes a gravel path which gets quite steep. The sealed road was an easy gradient to ride. The descent to Meiringen is also steep on gravel road but manageable. We rode to Vevey and then into France around the other side of the lake.
We camped and avoided restaurants owing to their expense. Camping grounds seemed similar in cost to the other neighboring countries we visited.
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Old 06-16-22, 02:12 PM
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headwind15
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I do not know where you are financially, hopefully you have a money printing mint in your basement. It sounds expensive to me. Flying there and back has to be way over $2000 besides the cost to fly the tandem. If you stay for 10 days that's $200 a day just for the travel expense. Add on top of that your accommodations and the tandem travel cost. Seems like you would be burning up an awful lot of money really fast. Also... too much traveling time/ adapting to time change/ not enough time over there.
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Old 06-16-22, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I do not know where you are financially, hopefully you have a money printing mint in your basement. It sounds expensive to me. Flying there and back has to be way over $2000 besides the cost to fly the tandem. If you stay for 10 days that's $200 a day just for the travel expense. Add on top of that your accommodations and the tandem travel cost. Seems like you would be burning up an awful lot of money really fast. Also... too much traveling time/ adapting to time change/ not enough time over there.
Itís not your planned trip.

OP: Bring cool/cold weather gear for October. You can easily find conditions on line.

Last edited by indyfabz; 06-16-22 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 06-18-22, 02:16 PM
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mbliven
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Thank you everyone for your responses and advice. It was particularly enlightening to read raybo and steve0000's advice and Swiss cycling trip logs. That was exactly the feedback I was hoping to receive when I posted to this forum. Your experiences will definitely influence my trip planning. While we want to experience Switzerland via bike, I don't want it to be a Herculean grind either. I am blessed to have a can-do stoker, but have to keep her happy so she will agree to future trips (thus need to seriously consider steep grades and she has made it clear "no camping!") We may consider instead doing day trips from one central location instead of a point-to-point ride, or using one of the established cycling tour outfits in Switzerland.

Cost of travel in Europe is always a consideration, but we are also balancing the remaining years we have to make such trips. As our travel tandem packs into two standard-size suitcases as checked baggage, it doesn't appreciably increase our travel costs, just adds to the logistical challenges.

Thanks again. I enjoy reading your travel logs.
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