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Old 21.11.2015, 02:02
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Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Hi. I'm planning to be in Basel for Basler Fasnacht in February and wanted to make more adventurous trip out of it and see more of the country.

I know it sounds crazy, but is Switzerland cycleable in winter time? Meaning, are the roads open this time of the year? Is there camping available or it is closed for off-season?

Have not chosen the route yet, but the plan is (as an example) come to Geneva and cycle to Basel try to camp, if possible, along the way. Other words: point A could be any town of Switzerland reasonably far from Basel - point B is Basel.

I know I can do it on the train in more comfortable manner, but I'm not looking for easy ways. Hopefully, I didn't loose connection with the reality

Anyway, any tips and pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 21.11.2015, 07:36
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Until the end of March you can expect snowfalls. Major roads are kept clear for cars and trucks, but the road edges remain icy and slushy for many hours after a snowfall.

Your chosen route is it is along the edge of the Jura mountains, which often have random snow showers. Looking at equipment, what sort of tyres do you have, and how will you dress warmly and still be flexible in your clothes.

Summary: a very bad idea, and in poor weather, very dangerous.

Camping sites are closed, for cheap accomodation reserve a bed at a youth hostel now, the area will be full up at fastnacht time. http://www.booking.com/hotel/ch/youh-hostel-st-alban.de.html?aid=318615;label=New_English_EN_ALL-GBIECAUS_5226333385-zrfE0CU6K_HWeoloJw*PrQS73336492345%3Apl%3Ata%3Ap1% 3Ap2%3Aac%3Aap1t1%3Aneg;sid=6ec7150a8a15accea7a303 27bdb7969a;dcid=4;dist=0;room1=A%2CA;sb_price_type =total;srfid=64b451d0cdfe5e5ba5d8b0471578e3a8b05eb 428X1;type=total;ucfs=1&

Switzerland has excellent re-cycling facilities, maybe you were confused?
.
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Old 21.11.2015, 08:11
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

I know, erything is soooo excellent in Switzerland, cant wait to see it.
Thanks for the input
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Old 21.11.2015, 09:26
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Camping facilities will be closed. Wild camping is not something Swiss people are very used to. Open campfires will be looked at with suspicion and may draw unwanted attention.

Have you bicycle toured in the winter before or is this just a romantic idea?

Days are short, nights are long. Water bottles freeze while you are riding. Drivetrain gets caked with frozen road grime and requires lots of attention. It is necessary (vital) to build a campfire, no matter what the weather, and dry out all of your riding clothing at the end of each day. This sometimes takes hours. You will probably need the clothes to sleep in, too.

You need a lot of wild camping experience, a lot of cycling experience, a lot of common sense, and some serious motivation to make it work. Don't even think about doing it alone, you'll be miserable and wont last more than a day.

I rode the Great Divide MBR in the Rockies from Montana to Mexico in early winter. Though I have some fond memories, I wouldn't recommend it to anybody. Touring in the Winter is brutal.

Take the train.

Last edited by pilatus1; 21.11.2015 at 10:13.
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Old 21.11.2015, 14:27
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Big part of Switzerland (for me the most beautiful one) are moderately* high mountains. Some passes are closed till June, not because of snow on the road but of avalanche danger.
You can always check it here:
http://alpen-paesse.ch/

*on the level 0 to 8848m
**on the route Basel to Geneve, if you choose the easiest route, max altitude is around 1.000 m, if you go through beautiful Jura mountains its few hundred meters higher
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Old 21.11.2015, 15:44
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Here's a thought, open to criticism and correction:

Fly into Frankfort and ride south along the Rhine. Being in the Rhine Valley should keep the temperatures slightly warmer and therefore the roads clear.

That being said, I think that it will be a cold, dreary and uncomfortable trip.
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Old 22.11.2015, 07:34
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Yeah, I have 20000+ km touring experience including winter time.
Thanks for response and value info.
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Old 22.11.2015, 07:36
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Thanks
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Old 22.11.2015, 07:36
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Thank You.
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Old 22.11.2015, 08:46
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Ok. In that case, you may want to look at this site for potential (free) camp spots. They have big firepits, sometimes with a ready pile of wood, near a water source, in nice locations, and no one will mind if you're having a fire there.

Also, check out this site, with all of the Swiss regional and national bike routes. MTB et al.

If you come through Luzern by chance, send me a private message (with at least a day's notice) if you need a place for the night.

Cheers,

p1

Last edited by pilatus1; 22.11.2015 at 08:58.
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Old 22.11.2015, 16:58
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Quote:
View Post
Yeah, I have 20000+ km touring experience including winter time.
Thanks for response and value info.
In addition, I'm in Basel so feel free to drop me a message if you need anything on your way. I'm willing to help out if I can. I don't have a car, so I hope that you don't tell me that you need a ride
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:24
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Thank You, DantesDame.
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:33
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

At that time of year you would be better to cross-country ski, on the 'Crêtes du Jura' trail from Basel to Geneva- but no camping available.
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:47
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

Wow. It sounds great too. I'll look into it

Thanks.
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:52
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Re: Hi All. Is Switzerland cycleable in February?

It is called the GTJ (grande traversée du Jura) - your main issue will be to hire skis at one end and return at the other- unless you bring your own - and of course, accommodation- plenty of inns and mountain hôtels on the way, but not as cheap as camping. Get in touch if you need advice for the middle part.
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