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Old 25.05.2008, 19:24
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Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

I would like to start a thread to collect road biking routes. I think this would be a welcome addition to this forum at least for us roadies. I do not want to limit it to a geographic region, other than Switzerland as a whole. If this exists already, mods let me knwo

I will be posting a description of my ride today and the GPS map, when I can get the thing go to load properly. Anyone, feel free to post a desciption only or a GPS map (try to follow the format I have used though).

The thread should generally contain information on the routes, maps (if possible), altitude climbed, distance, major villages, distance, time, difficult, traffic levels.

Discussions about the route should be posted here http://www.englishforum.ch/sports-fi...ng-routes.html.

Last edited by dakman; 30.05.2008 at 07:55.
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Old 25.05.2008, 19:29
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Re: Road Cycling Routes

Name: Hemberg and SchwagAlp Pass

It was one of my most beautiful days yet on the bike in Switzerland through the quintessential St. Gallen countryside. One of those days that makes you incredibly thankful for being able to spend some time in this beautiful country.

Area: Eastern Switzeland - St. Gallen

Date: Sunday, May 25th

Length: 60km

GPS: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/i...kValue=5790611

Time: 2:15 to 3 hours (it took me right about 3 hours riding time but at a very leisurely pace(

Total Altitude: 1,200 meters

Difficulty: Light/Medium

Ascents: Hemberg (950m) Unknown Pass (1050m) Schwagalp (1,300 meters)

Traffic: Very light except on Schwagalp pass road

Transportation: Zurich HB - S5 to Rapperswil and Voralpen Express to Wattwill. Trains leave on the same platform but opposite side.

Highlights: Santis and the beautiful countyside...horses, goats, hairy sheep and all the goodies, an Appenzeller brew to finish the day

Description in Detail:

As I had a brutal day on the bike on Saturday (5+ hours) on Sattelegg pass and the greater Einsiedeln area, I was looking for a leisurely ride just to enjoy the great outdoors. It turned out to be that and even more.

Leaving the train station, one must head into town, do not follow the cycling sign that points you Rickenpass – unless you want a good warm up. In about 0.5 kilometers you will see another cycling sign pointing to the right, take this turn and you will be immediately onto Hemberg Pass Road. There is sign marking the beginning of the route saying Steig 8km 330 meters. Immediately, you head straight up, the first two kilometers are brutal with a good 8% to 9% pitch. But the road is as smooth as glass as the sites already are beautiful countryside with many cows, goats and beautiful hills in the distance. After the first 2k, the ascent is pretty light all the way to the top, a couple short steep ramps but not much. The road is virtually void of traffic except for a few motorcyclists flying by and it is beautiful all the way up, pasture lands and rolling hills. One couldn’t dream a more beautiful scene.

When you reach the town of Hemberg, you will see lots of cycling signs pointing in all directions. Follow, the sign straight ahead which says Schwagalp. The descent is sharp and steep, with lots of sharp bends. A good descender would love it, I took it easy. Once you reach the bottom, you immediately see another sign which says Steig 6km 300 meters. You head up another climb, not particularly steep, a few steep 10% pitches but short. You then reach the town of Bachli. In the town, there are cycling sides pointing straight ahead (this one would take you to schonengrund, but you don’t want that) and one on right pointing up a steep little hill. Take the one on the right. This leads to one of the most beautiful pasture roads I have experienced and more or less void of traffic except for a herd of cattle a farmer was leading down the road and the peak of Santis showing itself off in the distance.. It is slight climb for several kilometers and eventually there is a steep pitch for 0.5 kilometers until you reach the peak of the pass (at 1050 meters), which I will call the ‘Unknown Pass’ as I yet to find a name for it but it had its very own ,meter sign on the top. Then you have a steepish descent with a few minor bends, but watch out for traffic coming the other way as it is a pretty narrow road until you arrive in Urnasch. Now, you take the road to the right and you are on your way up to Schwagalp. Overall, Schwagalp was a pretty easy climb, easier than I was expecting, a few steep bits at the start and then pretty steady until the final 2k’s or so which pitch up at 8 to 9%, maybe more at bits, enough hairpin turns that you can get a bit of a break. The views are spectactular, I even broke the grimpeur’s rule 1 and stopped to take a picture. The last stretch up the summit is awe-inspiring with Santis lurking over you its glory. The road is very busy with cars and lots of motorcycles.


I have now arrived at what I thought was the top and had my celebratory Coca Cola at the little restaurant, only to realize the ‘real’ top is another 0.5 km’s up the road. I climbed up this little stretch of road and finally figured out where all the motorcycles and cars were going, there was huge parking lots with restaurants and \a cable car to Santis. However, unless you have a mountain bike this is a dead end for the roadies, so you turn back and take the turn to the left (with the sign pointing to Zurich). Now you have a nice little straight down descent, more or less, so the speed demons can have a go here. At the bottom of the descent you arrive in Neu St. Johann turn right on this road and more or less immediately you will see two cycling signs, one pointing ahead for Hemberg and one off to the left to Krummenau (cycling road 95). Take the road to Krummenau, this is beautiful road which seems to be used by horses more than cars as you can tell the litterings on road. I even passed a horse and buggy and just had enough room to squeeze. This road is pretty straight shot following a river and all down hill at a slight gradient so have fun. Only one tricky part is when you are nearing Wattwill, there is a cycling sign pointing to go left up a little hill, don’t take this continue on down and follow the signs to Wattwill.

If you are lucky like me, and miss the train to Rapperswil, you can sit at the outside café and drink an Appenzeller Stange and soak up the sun. You have earned it.

Last edited by dakman; 29.05.2008 at 23:07. Reason: added GPS file
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Old 29.05.2008, 09:52
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Re: Road Cycling Routes

Name: Sattelegg via Siebnen

A beautiful mountain pass in the Einsielden region, a true test of fitness for all Lake Zurich area riders. A nice scenic ride back along the ridge back to Zurich

Area: Eastern Switzeland - Schwyz/Einsieldn

Date: Various

Length: 100 km (from Zurich Seefeld)
GPS:

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/i...kValue=5512123

Time: 4 to 5 hours riding time

Total Altitude: 1,200 meters (the pass it about 775 meters)

Difficulty: Medium

Ascents:Sattelegg (1200 m) Hirzel (670 m)

Traffic: Can be heavy motorcycle traffic on the pass especially on weeekends and early season

Transportation: None, would be option to take a train from Zurich to Rapperswill, Pffafikon or Lachen to cut off some of the flatter busier sections

Highlights: Hairpin turns on Sattelegg pass, Arriving at the top of the pass and enjoying a well earned rest at the cafe on top, Sihlsee and the scenic farmland on the ride back to Zurich

Description in Detail:

This is a ride I am intimately familar with as I have ridden it many times over the last year or so. I am not sure I would call it one of my favorite rides though, because I always suffer significantly on the Pass. It is not one of the hardest passes in the world or even in Switzerland but this is a pass that always puts me in a world of hurt. The unrelenting gradients on the last 5 kilometers must feel a little like climbing Alpe Huez (I haven't done that yet).

There are infinite routes to do this ride but my description is from Zurich Seefeld area. Starting off on the usual pedal down lake Zurich to Rapperswil (avoid the joyriders and traffic by preferrably leaving in the morning). Go through Rapperswil (don't stop at the brewery) and across the bridge to Pffafikon. At the traffic circle at the end of bridge, go around the round about and contininue in the bike lane to go up the lake towards Lachen. Nothing really significant here, fairly large amount of traffic on this strip and not very scenic, lots of warehouses etc. You will eventually arrive in Lachen, in town you will come to a dead-end on the road (a building which allows one way traffic around the reverse way), there is a cycling sign pointing you to the left, don't follow this, go right and continue through the town of Lachen, at the end of town, you will come to a roundabout, go around the round to the left and go up and over the ramp (bridge)...continue on this road you should go through the small town of Galgenen, there are couple stop lights along this road, and then continue on to Siebnen, go through the village of Siebnen, at the end of the town there is a main road running righ left continuing on to Schubelback -don't take this- but immediately straignt ahead to the left there is a sign for Sattelegg pass. This is the road you want and this is where the fun begins.

Sattelegg pass is about 11.5 km climb, with an ascent of about 775 meters ascent. The first half of the climb is very scenic, with forests, cliff rocks and the gradient is pretty gentle. Don't be fooled it will hurt eventually. You will continue on after about 1 km, you will pass through two short tunnels and around a bend (you should be enjoying the cool breeze coming off the stream near you). You will cross a bridge over this stream, with beautiful views and continue on until you see a little village, here you will see sign to go right to Sattelegg and Willerzell. This is where the suffering at least for my 85 kilo body begins with unrelenting 8% to 9% gradients over the next 5 kilometers, you climb through the village, and follow the road to the right across a bridge, around a hairpin turn and the gradients are getting vicious here. Continue along, enjoy the scenery if you can, I can't as it hurts too much and I am usually praying for the top, there are several very nice hairpin turns along here and after a few turns you have a nice view down to the countryside, the ride only really opens up fully though in the last half kilometer or so. Continue to fight your way up to the top and you will see a big parking lot full of cars and motorcycles and the nice cafe to the right. On the climb, there tends to be alot of motorcycle traffic and some reckless idiots, not much you can do about it but hope for the best.

Now, the descent down is a pretty nice one there are a few corners but nothing to sharp so can get a fairly good pace and now you can enjoy the scenery more. At the bottom of the descent you are in Willerzell, if your legs are feeling strong you can take a left following the Sihlsee and eventually you will be at Ibergeregg Pass (after about 20k). I would typically go the right, following the road for a few kilometers and then take the bridge over Sihlsee towards Einsielden. There may be the option here to follow the signs to Egg and go over the Etzel pass down to Pfaffikon, though I haven't explored this route.

You continue edging around Einsielden up a little climb and come to stop sign, here you should take a right and continue to follow signs pointing to Zurich or Pfaffikon, the traffic can be busy on these stretches but there is a nice bike lane. Follow along this road, at some point you will hit a red light, with an option to go left, but you should continue on straight trhough the stop light , at one point there will be a round about, you should continue on around this following signs to Zurich and Pfaffikon, now you are on a really busy commercial stretch of road, there is a small tunnel and after this tunnel, you should get on the separated bike lane and go down and up a sharp hill, you arrive in the town of Shindellegi. take a left through the town and continue straight ahead, shortly out of town, you should get in the turning lane on the left and follow the signs to Zug, the alternative is to go straight ahead following the signs to Zurich and you will end up back in Pffafikon.

Once you take the turn to left towards Zug, you will be climbing up for maybe half a kilometer with beautiful views of the countyside and the lake. The traffic on this road is pretty light and the views are spectactular, continue on this road, through some little towns, there are few hills but nothing significant, go through the towns of Hutten, Schonberg and eventually you will come to a stop sign in Hirzel, here you can take a right on a very busy road (not preffered) or cross over the road and climb Hirzel, this is not a very tough climb really unless you are shattered already from your ride, there is a short steep bit towards the end but nothing to be scared about, once you reach the top continue on the road straight ahead, you will continue on some beautiful small relatively traffic free roads, at one point along this route the road will go the right and start heading down through the forest, at the second road on the left you should see a cycling route sign, follow this through the forest. You should continue to follow this cycling route sign at one point is running alongside a major highway, you are on a separate road above and to the left, so other than the noise no car concerns, follow this road all the way to Gattikon, at Gattikon, turn right and you will be heading to Thalwil, continue to follow this road down to the stop lights, across the major road here and down the road across and down hill, follow signs for Thalwill centre and Hotel Alexander, and you will eventually come back to Lake Zurich. From here follow the lake back home.

This makes for a great but challenging day.

Last edited by dakman; 29.05.2008 at 11:32.
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Old 01.06.2008, 21:18
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Name: Klausenpass (west-east)

A challenging mountain pass in the Uri/Glarus region. 30km in-your-face climb to the pass top, paid off with a tapering decent and a flat finish.

Area: East-Central Switzerland (Uri / Glarus)

Date: Various

Length: ca. 80kms

Time: 3:45 to 5 hours riding time

Total Altitude: 1,600 meters (the pass it about 19:50 meters)

Difficulty: Medium-hard.

Ascents: Altdorf - Klausenpass (28km-1500m)

Traffic: Can be heavy motorcycle traffic on the pass especially on weeekends and early season

Transportation: Train to Altdorf / Flüelen , then return from Ziegelbrücke



Well, I knew it was late notice so not surprisingly I ended up doing this ride solo. I managed to drag myself down to Zürich HB, landing at the right platform at about 07:45 for the 08:09 to Flüelen (this train goes right through to the border). I am really glad I ended up there just as the train pulled in, as it filled up quick. The train has a whole wagon just for bikes, and it was full, full, FULL by the time we left, as was the entire second class section.


The train arrived at Flüelen around 09:15, and its important to be ready in the bike wagon by the time the train stops, otherwise you might end up on the wrong side of the Gotthard. After downing a banana I headed off towards Altdorf. I had to reset my Polar after about 3km as it wasn’t picking up my heart rate (and I was pretty certain I still had one).
After a few km’s from the start, there is a well signposted left turn that marks the start of the climb. A small burgundy cycling route sign with the added text “1490m climb over 27km” clearly reminds you of the task ahead. The first 5km climb through the first village had me a bit worried, and I knew already this would require some discipline if these grades were typical on the entire length. However a few flats and light descents were a welcome relief and proved encouraging.



With a third of the climb behind me, a few hair pin bends brought me to the town of Springen. I contemplated a stop here but chose to keep the momentum. A short downhill through the halfway at Unterschächen represented another breath of fresh air, but the joy proved short-lived. After leaving this town the climb was unrelenting as you switchback and head the otherway. With no view of the bottom or the top, a moment of despair set in, especially as I was already starting to feel that I was one gear short. With 39-25 the lowest I had, I was regretting not having 27. I was also being plagued with a slight but somewhat irritating lower back pain.


Pedalling through Urigen (another suitable rest stop if needed) brought me back in the right direction, and the pass became visually reachable somehow. Breathtaking views to the valley floor also gave an indication of whats been achieved so far. But a quick glimpse at my Polar brought me back to earth – there was still around 700m altitude still to go.
Fortunately the motorbike traffic seemed to be heavier in the opposite direction as the road narrowed and landscape more rocky and sparse. My legs were starting to punish me for failing to have my 27 tooth granny gear, as my odometer or altimeter seemed to be moving at snails pace.






With about 5km from the top, a headwind through the pass presented a chilly reminder of where I was, and my short sleeve jersey was no longer adequate. However I wanted to push to the top, as I feared stopping would cause me to seize up. I made it to the Restaurant Passhöhe (false advertising really, as this is not the top) and finally took my rest, as a pain in my left foot from a badly adjusted lace needed attention. Unfortunately here is where I accidently stopped my Polar, hence the ride profile is broken into two pictures! After downing my snack I put on a light windvest and battled the last 1.5km to the real top of the pass. Even at 11.30am it was incredibly busy, but good to see that toilet facilities were conveniently placed for riders if need be, and not hidden away for paying customers.


Then came the payoff- the descent towards Glarus! The first few km’s were spoiled by a lot of runoff from melting snow, but otherwise a straight-forward glide towards the valley. But today was one big spoiler – the strong headwind. It even had me down to around 28km/h on stretches where I should be doing 40km/h. Despite this the main descent was quite quick, and some bone-shaking cobble stones represent the arrival at the valley floor.

After Linthal, the ride is basically a rolling flat ride, but with very little left in the tank, even the slightest rise represented a small challenge. Glarus was reached about 40km from the top of the pass, but after Näfels, there is almost no signposting to Ziegelbrücke. My advice is simply follow the rode around to Niederurnen, and then turn right to Ziegelbrücke.


I arrived at Ziegelbrücke about 13:10, having just missed the Express that leaves at 1 minute past each hour. I decided to wait for the next Express, as a direct trip to Zürich was worth the wait. This train wasn’t so full, and had more bike facilities peppered along the train.
So it took me about 4 hours all up, and I probably should have added one or two more rest breaks on the climb, especially to take more pictures! It was generally sunny with frequent hazy periods, with temps between about 24-17 degrees. I consumed about 1.5 litres of hydration drink on the climb, and about 1 litre on the trip down. Food wise: 2 müesli bars on the way up and a power gel about 20 km from the finish.

Will definitely take at least 1 more riding buddy with me next time!

HIGHLIGHTS : Great climb, great descent, great scenery. No nasty suprises.

LOWLIGHTS : Headwind, full train leaving Zürich HB, tall gearing
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Old 02.06.2008, 22:37
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Name: A Tale of Two Mountains - Cyclo Tour Lac Leman (Mountain Version)

A challenging but amazing day of climbing in the Jura mountains.

Note of importance: Though strictly this is a description of the route I did as part of the official Lac Leman tour for anyone who would like to do this event in the future, I will do my best to describe the route for someone else daring enough to do it as a unsupported personal ride but I am sure my directions will be far from perfect. as I had the privilege of orange signs and officials pointing me in the right direction and some of the roads especially the climb up Mollendruz may be hard to find except for the best map readers

Area: Jura Mountains (near Lausanne)
Date: Sunday, June 1

Length: 122 km

Time: 4 to 6 hours ( the winner came in under 4 and the last place was much longer than 6 but I think it was on a mountain bike)

Total Altitude climbed: 2,100 meters

Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Ascents: Col de Marchairuz (1450 meters) : Above Col de Mollendruz (1320 meters)

Traffic: Non existent on some of the backroads, light on other roads, heavy in and out of Lausanne

Transportation: Train to Lausanne

Highlights: For me was the great hosts, and meeting some of the Lausanne EF crowd, but the race is well organized and the Jura mountains are beautiful

Lowlights: If I was only 20 pounds lighter.....

Description in Detail:

Physically, it was the best of rides and it was the worst of rides. The day started out with the daunting threat of rain hanging over the Jura mountains. We watched as the flatlanders (definitely not flatliners) started on their speedy 180 kilometer rides around Lac Leman. About 150 hearty souls lined up at the start and we are off in 4 groups. The ride out of Lausanne was quite awe inspiring a pack of orange clad jerseys taking over the road with a lead motorcycle shooing early traffic out of the way. A lead peleton took off ahead but the rest of the pack seemed content to stay together (seems like all the 4 groups had come together) as a pack of more than 50 cyclists roared up the lake from Lausanne. The peloton flew along this stretch at about 35 kmph, along the lake, through some nice little lake side towns of Morges, St. Prex, Buchilion. Not much here but flatness, a few small hills, but mostly just pushing along and making sure I stayed in the peleton. After 28k, we went up the biggest hill of the ride so far, and turn at the sign for Bursinell and took a hard right and the climbing starts.

We head into a small village of Bursinell and turn right and are slowly climbing through the beautiful vineyards, at this point the slower climbers (me, me, me) are shot out the back of the peloton very quickly and any sense of togetherness ends (as well as my illusions of being a kick ass cyclist). We keep climbing, nothing to steep, but at steady 6 to 7% gradients through the vineyards. After about 200 meters of elevation, the road levels off and we are traveling along a road with cows on both sides, there are several kilometers of almost flat and a descent. This is the point where I am thinking I don’t want a descent because it just means I need to climb back up again. The climbs on this cyclotour are on the backroads not the major pass roads that most people from the area are familiar with. This makes the route description somewhat hard.

At this stage, the official flagged us along a road (which to a cyclotourist would not be obvious) and the climbing starts again. Over the next about seven kilometers, we climb about 500 meters until the elevation is at 1230 meters. We now continue on a relatively flat road, a very small but well paved road with many many cows on all sides and beautiful scenery even for a cloudy day. I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be up here on a clear day (though the locals tell me this is a rare event). There is no traffic at all on this road, one or two local cow herders are traveling through checking out there flock but they stop to let you pass.

The interesting thing for me was the cattle grates, at first it was a somewhat intimidating as I was afraid my tire might get stuck in the cracks but after awhile I took the mountain biker mentality that speed helps you over anything. This is relatively flat section that last for about 10km with maybe 100 meters of uphill, at this point I was starting to get a little cold as it was it was a little windy in this plains and my legs started to ache a little and mentally I just wanted to get the first climb over with, but this section seems to last forevetr. Finally, I saw the rest stop ahead, I was somewhat disappointed as there was no water left but I refilled my water bottles with the energy drink and which I was very sick of by the end of the day, no water to be found in Switzerland?

Now, we had about 100 meters of climbing left to the summit, once again nothing to steep, maybe 6% and there it is, the descent down is on a much larger well traveled road, I cruise down the descent at a mild pace, as I am not a keen descender, the road has a few twists, but I did not want to push my luck as it was a little wet. We head down the descent and turn left , the descent has ended and we are on flat roads through the town of Berolle, through Mollens, a few small climbs through town and through Montricher, right after the town of Montricher the official is waving us to go left up a steep climb (not sure how one finds this road on their own). The cyclist who I had been slowly dragging in over the last 5k immediately stops and is telling me he has cramp in French, the road starts becoming staggeringly steep as we climb through the forest, rain drops are slowly dropping through the forest and it feels like I would imagine one would feel like cycling through the rain forest. The road feels super super steep, overall the average for the next 5 kilometers is at about 10% but there are definitely some steeper sections in the 15% and above range, funny thing is that after a 15% stretch, an 8% stretch feels almost flat I am spinning along at a slow pace but keeping the bike moving forward which is all I can ask for, this continues on and one, there is a lone cyclist ahead of me which I am slowly dragging in at my breath taking single digit pace, we climb on after about 400 meters of elevation over about 4 kilometers I finally catch up to the cyclist in front of me, in the meanwhile another cyclists sprints past us at about 10kmph. This section of the road is total hell but in a strange way I am enjoying it, maybe my sick side that enjoys the pain of uphill cycling at 84 kg's, I am just hoping that I won’t cramp.

We reach a flatter section, I am discussing with my fellow cyclist I have now caught ( it doesn;t happen very often on a climb for me so I have to repeatedly mention it here out of pride) athat the worst is probably over and we should be out of the forest soon and suddenly another super steep section hits us, this must be almost 20% as I am fighting to keep my bike moving forward, every moment is a struggle to keep the legs turning, keep the legs turning, turn, turn, don;t stop , please don;t stop, legs listen, this goes on for 5 minutes, maybe 1 kilometer, if that. finally the road flattens out relatively to about 6% and then we go around a bend and we are out of the forest. I suddenly feel a sense of elation as I know the suffering will stop and that I have made it up this hell of a mountain pass (probably one of the hardest/steepest I have done in my life to date, especially with more than 1200 meters in my legs). We now drop down for a few kilometers and come to the second rest stop. We start down the descent of Mollendruz, this is a beautiful descent as the road has no technical turns, but is not that steep, I am flying (relatively down the descent).

I am now pushing hard all the way to Lausanne, off the descent it is relatively flat all the way back to Lausanne, a few small hills but nothing that really hurts the legs. We drop down through Morges and head back towards Lausanne, I am now passing some of the riders from the around the Lac Leman round the lake tour. It is about 5 kilometers stretch along the lake, and there it is the finish line. I skid to a stop after almost ploughing over the official wating to cut off my timing chip. The end. The end.

It was the end of another beautiful day on the bike. ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done, it is a far far better rest that I go to than I have ever known’ . Dickens words seem to have a different meaning to me as I kick back in the finish area and enjoy the rest of the day as cyclists stream in from their incredible tour of the Lakes and Mountains of Switzerland.

Last edited by dakman; 03.06.2008 at 09:42.
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Old 15.06.2008, 14:07
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Route: Pragel Pass from Riedern and Ibergeregg from Muotathal by way of Illgau

An epic glorious day of challenging climbs in the beautiful Swiss mountains, with interesting sites, good company and pretty empty roads.

Date: Sunday, June 14th

Length: 110 km

Time: 4.5 hours to 6.75 hours

Total Altitude climbed: 2,200 meters

Difficulty: Medium Hard

Ascents: Pragel Pass (1551 meters), Ibergeregg (1450 meters)

Traffic: Non-existent on the mountain roads, pretty light overall

Transportation (from Zurich Stadelhofen): S5 to Rapperswil and train to Nafel-Mollis

Highlight: Beautiful climbs with little traffic, the goat procession and great companionship on the ride

Lowlights: The rain, and the freezing tough descent down the steep side of the Pragel Pass

Description in Detail:

It was another amazing adventurous day on the bike on what must be two of the best cycling climbs in the world from the beauty, challenge and sheer emptiness of the roads.

I met Hillseeker and Mr. Hillseeker (Jeff), at the Nafel Mollis train station (an alternative would be to probably start in Ziegelbrucke or Glarus) after they fueled up on some butter pretzels we were off from the station. From the station, we headed up the cycling route 4 for a few kilometers, then turn right over the railroad tracks after Nestal on a small cycling path take a left on Mattstrasse and then after about half a kilometer there is a small cycling path to your right follow this until you hit a busy road of Landstrasse, turn onto this road and the immediately you should see a sign to the right for Klontal, take this road into Riedern, in Riedern you need to follow a road off to the right onto Klontalstrasse, now you start climbing, you are already on a very beautiful carless stretch of forested road, it is pretty steep,maybe 10% for the first few kilometers and a beautiful rapid stream is snaking along the left side, the road continues to climb until you get to the beautiful Klontalersee. This is a wonderful little lake in the middle of the mountains, virtually no one was there the day we were there, there were a few sailboats parked there but nothing else and the water was the beautiful dark blue which I have only seen in Switzerland. No traffic except for A few tractors driving up the road, a taxi passed us at one stage, which was strange but good to know you can always get a lift home if you have mechanical trouble. After a few nice pictures, we continued for the 5km flat stretch along the lake, the road is narrow at points, see need to watch out for traffic coming the otherway, it is here we realized Jeff’s tire was flattening some, and decided to change the tire, I couldn’t think of a more beautiful spot to change a tire. As the lake ends, the climb starts again., this side of the Pragel pass is not super steep like the other side, but is a beautiful twisty road with no cars, no towns, not much of anything but beautiful dreamy scenery on all sides, when you get to final kilometer you go around a couple of small corners and you can now see across both sides of the valley down to pasture land below. The weather was pretty cold up here as the road has flattened out now and thus effort level has reduced, you continue on this flatter stretch for maybe a kilometer and there is now snow on the sides of the road. Most of this road felt like our very own bike path as we did not pass any cars, motorcycles and there was one group of mountainbikers. At the top, we noticed a bunch of people including a person with sound equipment peering over the edge – it seemed the early summer progression of cattle into the high pastureland had begun, this is where the cows are led to the pasture for the summer months, the clanking of the cowbells was a wonderful sound. As we were starting to freeze, we headed on down the descent. I would beware that this probably one of the trickiest descents I have seen as the road is narrow, wet at points, very steep and has many blindspots, not sure how one can speed down this descent with the many blindcorners, I rounded one corner and came head to head with a moped coming up the pass. The average steepness of this descent is over 10% with areas of maybe 15%. Towards the bottom of the descent, a German fellow who was ascending was asking whether the pass was open, suddenly realized I recognized him after stopping for a minute and briefly catching up with a former colleague, I continued on down the pass as was suddenly waved to a halt by a farmer walking up the pass. I realized there was a herd of 100’s of goats being led up the road. I wouldn’t want to hit them at 70kmph. So we stopped along the road for 15 minutes waiting for the goat parade to pass (there were a lot of cute baby goats that hillseeker wanted to adopt for her own little farm in Rushclikon).

We finished the descent into Muothathal. The rain started coming down and we were freezing so we stopped at a café for a lunch. We decided on the Fitness teller, which consisted of salads and a small Schweinschnitzel (I wouldn’t equate fried pork to fitness but anyway). We now continued on rather bigger road making our way to the Ibergeregg pass, we felt a bit rejuvenated and much warmer after the meal. We sped along the road to Schwyz, at lunch we had decided to take a ‘shortcut’ up to Ibergeregg rather than continuing on to Schwyz and taking the main road. After a few wind swept kilometers from Muothathal and right after a big ugly covered bridge there is a sign to Illgau on the right. This is a great road with hardly any traffic which I would highly recommend, you continue on this road, climbing steeply (maybe at 9%) for 3.5 kilometers to the little village of Illgau, there is a longish well-lit tunnel on this road (maybe 500 meters long), in Illgau you continue climbing up and up, the road is mostly the same steep descent and at this point you have some wonderful views back down to village of Illgau, I don’t think we experienced any motorized traffic on this section at all. One continues up this climb following the signs pointing to Ibergeregg, passing a cable car point (Sankt Carl) with a large terraced restaurant, after this point you continue on for another half kilometer or so (we passed through a crowd of local hikers, who chanted Hopp, Hopp, Hopp) as we went through them. I needed that lift. Then at about 1,150 meters, there is actually a short descent and at the end of this ascent at about 1,100 meters you meet the main Ibergeregg pass road. As we were so spoiled by our car free descent, this almost seemed like a let down as there was actually car and motorcycle traffic on this road, the climb up here is quite beautiful though as it is pretty open and you have spectacular views all around, the road is not super steep maybe a good healthy 8% for the rest of the climb up to 1,400 meters, many many cattle grades to go over on this section and some traffic. Once you get to top, there are several café’s and such. We decided to head straight down after a few pictures, the descent is pretty nice, not to steep and not too many technical corners so one can speed down pretty fast, after a few kilometers you are in the ski resort of Hoch Ybrig, you continue on down following the signs to Einsiedeln, we wanted to take a different road into Einsielden but we missed the turn, which is about 500 meters before the bridge over Sihlsee and ended up crossing over the bridge and taking a left and following along the Sihlsee road to Willerzell, we cross the bridge back over to Einseldn by taking a left here, one could take a right and continue around Sihlsee which adds a few kilometers but is very scenic, after the bridge you climb up a little hill and then take a right, following the road all the way from here to Biberbrugg and on to Shindellegi, after passing on taking a train home from Einseldn, the skies opened up on us and we hard hail like pellets pelting us on this 10km stretch or so. From Shindellegi, we took the turn right after Shindeleggi, where the sign points to Zug and more or followed this ridge road all the way back to Rushlikon, where I left the hillseeker clan and sprinted back home through the Eurofan zone, it was a nice feeling to sit on the couch after a long but wonderful adventure in the saddle. And finally I had a nice Appenzeller beer while watching Spain beat Sweden in the Euro 2008. Another great cycling day in Switzerland, us cyclists are way too spoiled here…..

Last edited by dakman; 15.06.2008 at 23:06.
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Old 15.06.2008, 21:50
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Agree that the downhilll down Pragel is insane, we missed the goats yesterday, but we had the pleasure of cows going up the road at the urging of their herders en masse leaving the contents of their bowels all over the road, which does not leave the greatest feeling when it splats on your legs, back etc. Pragel never seems to be an uneventful pass, but it is great because it is so remote and quiet.

As alternative to Ilgau-Ibergeregg, Ibergeregg can be ridden from the base of Schwyz. Schwyz is about 5 km towards Zug from the base of Pragel (Muothatal).
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Old 02.07.2008, 00:05
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Description: Malbun (Liechtenstein) by way of St. Luzisteig

An enjoyable but hot day of cycling up one of the toughest and in my opinion least well known climbs in the Zurich region.

Date: Sunday, June 28th

Length: 65 km

Time: 3 hours to 5 hours

Total Altitude climbed: 1,600 meters

GPS: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/i...kValue=6125143

Difficulty: Medium Hard

Ascents: St. Luzisteig (727 meters), Malbun (1,580 meters)

Traffic: Some car traffic on the climb to Malbun, no motorcycles but a wide road so not so stressful.

Transportation (from Zurich HB): Train to Sargans

Highlights: Maienfeld, beautiful but tough climb up to Malbun and personally the great adventure of a day out with the Hillseekers

Lowlights: maybe the last 2k up to Malbun, personally my little tumble in Zuri coming home

Description in Detail:

This was a day where I started out with grand ambitions to ride multiple tough passes but the heat/sun and the clock eventually changed those plans.

It was another beautiful, sunny day in Switzerland when I hopped the 8:37 train to Sargans. The cycle compartment of the train was jam packed full of cycles of all makes and varieties. About an hour later, hopped off the train to meet my cycling compatriots, the Hillseeker clan for another day of biking exploration in this mecca of cycling….another training day for the Etape coming up in one week. The goal was to find some of the steepest, nastiest climbs and try to go up them without stopping pedaling (too often) and not falling over (not successful on that front).

From the station, we headed out on the street and there were cycling signs galore all pointing in one direction, down a cycling path which looks more like a parking lot next to the station. We continue on this path following the signs for where, not sure, we are bit confused at this stage as this part was not on the St. Gallen map, however the scenery was beautiful as there were mountains on both sidesultimately the goal was to get to Maienfield so after a few directional errors, we followed the ride signs to Bad Ragaz and ended up at the train station and from there found the cycle path taking us to Maienfield.
  • If someone was doing this ride properly, they could follow turn east coming out of the Sargans train station and make there way to the Rhine River and follow the nice cycling path along the Rhine and then follow the signs to Maienfield
We arrive at Maienfield – home of, in my opinion, some of the best red wine in Switzerland and the scenery is wineyards and we cycle up through the old town of Maienfeld. About halfway up through town one should take a left following the the cycling sign (for Route 2 I believe). You travel about half a kilometer on this road and take a right up the road, called Stiegasse, there are road signs here for Saint Luzisstieg, this is a wide road with a some traffic but a very nice 2.5 kilometer covering almost 200 meters.
  • There is an alternative route on a more quiet road, instead of going right at the junction, take a left throught the small wine yards roads winding through and eventually there will be a small road near Flasch that turns uphill at a pretty steep gradient follow this road all the way up to St. Luzisteig
When you get to the top of St. Luzisteig there are a few cafes but continue up the road (there was a market here when we there) and to the road continues through a arched gate to left, if you look up the hills from here there are some ancient walls, not sure if there is a road leading there. You now head down through the gate and the descent is a more a straight shot (one bending curve) and you are in Liechtenstein. The only place that has better roads than Switzerland is Liechtenstein....wow, so nice.

Continue straight on through the town of Balzers and then straight on to Triesen, this is a big road with cycling path on the road, don’t pay any attention to the cycling signs (which try to lead you to a different path to Triesen, but we figured out that was for mountain bikes eventually). Continue on to Triesen and immediately to the right you will see a sign for Malbun. The climb up to Malbun starts steep, stays steep and gets even steeper at the end so be prepared for a good climb if you are to take this one on. It was definitely one of the hardest climbs I have done and the temperatures with full sun exposure on this day made it even tougher but the toughness only makes one stronger. The climb was featured in the 2007 Tour de Suisse as a finishing climb for some reason unbeknown to everyone (even the commentators) it was rated a Category 2 climb, I remember watching and seeing the field blown apart on the last few k’s and thinking I need to do that climb. It was won by Frank Schleck that day.

The road up to Malbun is a big wide road with some traffic but not overloaded even on a Sunday. This is a ski resort road so not a pass but an out and back course. The climb rises about 1,100 meters in 13k, which is almost a 9% AVERAGE.

There is an alternative route up from Vaduz, which is full shaded with trees and virtually on a great narrow road, this is even steeper and brings you up to above a 1000 meters before connecting to the main road. We only found this route on the descent but I would highly recommend it and hope to go back to try the climb up this route soon.

The climb continues to wind up wide hairpin turn after wide hair pin turn, at 8% to 9% gradient sometimes steeper, my lungs are burning and I am overheated but each turn has inspiring views down to the valley below which makes you forget the suffering. You continue on up the climb through Triesenberg and though the body is begging for a breather this climb does not relent and never gives you a break. At about 1,050 meters altitude after a very steep isolated section of the road with no views, one reaches a place with a park on the right side, which has a fountain and a working toilet, this is made for a break for cyclists if one is needed. From here one continues on for another 2 kilometers or so and eventually reaches a tunnel. The tunnel is about 500 meters long a bit eery but well lit. This is the first real breather as the tunnel is more or less flat. But the steepest part of the mountain awaits, the final 2 kilometers average near 12% and there are no bends or turns you just head straight up the mountain, this part of the climb seems to last forever as I can just barely make out the Hillseekers off in the distance…eventually you top out at the ski town of Malbun, you have made it…there is an alternative to continue up through town and take the a small winding path just beyond the chair lift which will add another 1 kilometer and 100 meters in altitude. We went for the fitness platter at the local café instead. This was when the executive decision was made to shorten the day as we were feeling hot, tired from our various sporty days the day before (Okay, I have to be honest here, it was really hillseeker, she just broke down and said, I can’t handle anymore of this climbing, I have had enough…do you believe it?) After our nice lunch, we headed the descent which was pretty nice and fast for the first few kilometers back down through the tunnel past the signs for the town SUCKA, rather than follow the route we came up we decided to follow the road to the right leading to Gnalp. This is a brilliant road, very tight, steep and winding at the top, tight hairpin after tight hairpin eventually a forested road, where the road is as smooth as glass and there is no traffic at all on this road…..I only had thoughts on how nice it would be come up this route (a true crazy climber, thinking about the climb instead of enjoying the descent). This road continues on like this into Vaduz (there is a cobble section at the end). The main problem is, coming from Vaduz, it is not clear to me that there is an easy way to find this road as it did not in my opinion seem well marked….I will try though. But essentially you continue down the road following the signs to center of Vaduz and the castle in Vaduz is on the hill on the left. So to find this road I would advise starting from castle Vaduz head up the road about 500 kilometers and take a right on a main road from here you should be able to find the cobbled road up this climb (one would hope).

From here we followed the signs back to Switzerland, to Sargans, from the main road after Vaduz, one must pay attention and follow the cycling sign veering to the left off this road which leads one to Sargans. We followed the cycling path signs to Sargans, which eventually led us to path next to the Rhine, which was beautiful and we blasted along here at almost 40 kmph and made it back to Sargans train station. As we had 30 minutes for the train we downed a Radler or two (lemonade and beer, good) and the local Sargans band made an appearance at the station to musically show their appreciation for our effort. We hopped the direct train back to Zurich. My little excursion doesn’t end here. After getting off at Zurich train station, I sped towards Seefeld and people were everywhere enjoying the beautiful sunny day and getting ready for the Euro 2008 championship. Some Spanish matadors were waving their flag at me as if I was a 1000 pound bull…..all great fun, until the bull (me) made one too many brave turns around fans and sunk his backwheel in the tram tracks…..this is falling part, I hit the deck kind of hard but sprung back up quickly but a bit embarrassed, after this stupid fall, I checked the bike everything okay, a few scrapes on the arms and hips but nothing serious. This cyclist will live to ride another day…everyday is an adventure in this beautiful country and I can’t wait to get back from France to explore more great climbs in the Mecca of Cycling, Switzerland.

Last edited by dakman; 02.07.2008 at 00:24.
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  #9  
Old 04.07.2008, 04:45
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

I did the Pragelpass yesterday, in the reverse direction as reported above by dakman. Its a neat 60km from Brunnen to Ziegelbrücke, and took me just under 3 hours.

The climb is certainly one of the steepest I've attempted recently, and the first couple of kilometres are mentally and physically challenging...but it is a pass that seems to get easier as you get closer to the top. And the decent is enjoyable with few suprises, and a glorious view over the lake as you race towards Glarus.

A few points:
  • If you follow the Veloroute 83 signs out of Brunnen, you encounter a 1.5km section of gravel after 5km...its quite smooth and no danger to a roadie if you take care. This seems to be a reasonable trade-off for the short cut that it makes.
  • Make use of the 15km to Muotathal as a relaxing warm up...conserve energy for the climb.
  • Be careful attempting it on very warm and sunny days. You're average speed might still make it difficult to cool down, regardless of how much water you drink.
  • As with most passes, take a jacket with you. I sweated my way up from the 23 degrees at the valley floor, only to encounter fog and 13 degrees when I got to the top.
  • The road surface is okay, but poor in comparison to wider passes, with plenty of cattle grids. Watch out for post buses on the way down to Glarus, they like to take the whole road especially at corners).
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Last edited by litespeed; 06.07.2008 at 00:19.
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Old 24.07.2008, 13:29
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Name: Col De la Croix
Being able to tell your family and friends not from Switzerland that you rode up and over the alps makes it worth doing[/font]

Area: VAUD
Date: Sunday, July 20th 2008
Length: 60kmGPS: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6311364[/font]

Time: Took me 3:18 ridding time but allowing for stops (lunch/water etc) it took 5:00

Total Altitude: 1,500 meters
Difficulty: Medium/Hard for me as it was my first one,
Ascents: Pretty much only up for half and down for half so one assent really
Traffic: Very light
Transportation: Aigle is a main stop on the route from Geneva-Lausanne-Brig with services twice an hour

Highlights: Views J oh and over taking cars on the way down, the roads are nice, wide and safe

Lowlights Flies, they seem to stick to me and I was bitten by a horse fly or something my leg the next day was Very swollen
Description in Detail:


Ok so Three of us arrived in Agle at about 11:00am for the short ride to BEX, this is along a flat stretch of road and is the busiest part if you ask me, however there is a cycle road about 3m to the right one the main road so its not all that bad, I will say that in the other direction its not available and you are on the main road with all the other cars,

Turning in to Bex we left out the back of the town towards Villars, this is where the hill starts it’s a pretty even 8% climb for most of the way with the villages allowing for a more gentle 5% plenty of switch backs and not to many disheartening long straights to annoy you(I know I hate them)

Villars is about 3 quarts of the way up the route, and provides a great place to stop for some lunch, as it’s a tourist town most things are open on Sunday and we had no trouble finding a safe place to put the bikes on the main street allowing us to get some food from one of the bakeries, after a nice slow lunch we continued the route towards Diablerets where I think the official start of the Pass begins, this was a more gentle climb at first as the first few km after lunch were not to hard allowing the legs to get warmed up again.

The final climb to the top was a bit steeper but with the end in sight it was not to much of a problem. After reaching the top it was time for the decent. With the holiday traffic and the “Sunday” drivers I had no trouble in overtaking 6-8 cars on the way down. The roads were nice and wide with no surprising bends at all.

Once in Diablerets you have to pedal again after 10 minutes of doing nothing, the route we then chose was the main road back down the mountain to Aigle. While this is the main route down the hill it’s not super busy like it is in winter, but there are cars, however being the same speed as them if not faster makes it fun J

The motorbike rider I came up next too had a very jealous look on his face and tired to leave me on the straight only to find I caught up again at all the corners J

Well once again in the main town of Aigle it was time to take the train home,

A very nice route, one which I shall repeat on my new full road bike rather than the heavy hybrid I did it one that weekend


I would recommend this one for anyone for one simple reason as its up for 50% of the way you can at any point turn around and ride 100% downhill where ever you are so if you can’t make it in one go it doesn’t matter. I was not sure if I could but im glad to say I took on the pass and won

i would say doing the route in reverse would not be fun climbing for me is nice on roads where i am on my own, so this way round is the only way it should be done.

Thanks for reading

Sam Cole
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Old 01.09.2008, 22:00
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Grosse Scheidegg – from Meiringen


An excellent and challenging climb in one of the most beautiful and most famous areas in Switzerland. The scenery is beyond description for even Switzerland, looking up at Jungfrau and Eiger face as you ascend on your own power is simply amazing.

Date: Sunday, August 30th

Length: 17 km (to Grosse Scheidegg), 50 km to Interlaken, 80 km roundtrip (see comments on route to Brienz)

Time: 1.5 to 2.5 hours to Grosse Scheidegg, 4.5 hours round trip

Total Altitude climbed: 1,300 meters (pass only)

Difficulty: Hard

Ascents: Grosse Scheidegg 1954 meters

Traffic: Busy coming out of Meiringen, on the lower slopes some traffic, upper slopes virtually no traffic other than the official buses which can make life interesting

Transportation (from Zurich HB): Train to Luzern and transfer to Meiringen (about 2 hrs total)

Area: Bernese Oberland

Description in Detail:

The climbs just keep getting better and better. When I think there can’t be a climb better than this one, I find another that is even better. What makes this climb so great, is a combination of factors, the difficulty, there are some really steep sections, the relative lack of traffic, the very Swissness of the landscape but mostly that as you ascend the most famous high peaks of Switzerland are just above your head.

I woke up in the morning in Meiringen feeling less than ambitious, I had climbed the Grimsel pass the day before and suffered badly the whole climb (plus the traffic was near unbearable). But as the day was beautiful and the mountains were peering at me, I couldn’t fathom not giving it a go. My initial plan was to tackle the first part of Grosse Scheidegg and see if I wanted to press on. Headed out of Meiringen at 10 am towards Interkirchen and followed the cycling signs, I saw a sign maybe 0,5 kilometers out of town pointing me to Grosse Scheidegg, I started up this path, which was very steep, though the legs felt pretty good, after about 0.5 kilometers the road turned to gravel (this theme will return later). Oops, this was not the right way, a mountain biker directed me that the road was another 1.5 kilometers down the road so descended back down and headed again towards Interkirchen, at about the 2 kilometer there was a sign for Grosse Scheidegg on the right side of the road, immediately the climb begins on a road oddly enough called Scheidgeggstrase and you climb and climb, in the first 6.0 km’s you gain nearly 600 meters in altitude. The climb is on a very narrow ride (not like Grimselpass) and winds itself up through the forests. It is quite spectacular with waterfalls coming down on the right side of the road, I realize partway up that this is the famous waterfall where Sherlock Holmes fictionally died. I was hoping to avoid the same fate and this seemed likelyas my legs were feeling pretty good despite the steep gradient. And with these views, waterfall, forests and down to Meiringen, who could think about the pain. There was some traffic on this road and as it was a narrow road made for some interesting moments of having to get as right as possible as the cars (and a lot of SUV’s) tried to inch past you, and then there were the buses. There is a bus route from Grindelwald along this route and when the buses come up and down this road, there really isn’t room for a car and hardly a bike. One bus did stop to let me inch by him and for another I pulled off to the side to let it by. It wasn’t annoying but actually kind of funny. The climb continues on and on after about another 2 km’s of climbing flattens into a valley, near Rosenlai at about 1300 km this gives you a good chance to catch your breathe. There are a few steep climbs intermixed with some flat areas to catch your breathe over the next 3 k’s. The traffic at this point is considerable less and seems that the only people on the road are fellow cyclists, mostly on mountain bikes. The climb continues on to Schwarzwaldalp,where there is a restaurant if one needs to refuel and then the road continues on and on for the next 5.5 km where you ascend another 500 vertical meters on twisting roads. The scenery has now opened up and you have the famous mountains of Jungfrau including the famous Eiger Northface directly looking over your head. As I was currently reading the book (the White Spider), which inspired me to climb this route and which I would recommend for people who like to read adventure/climbing books, it is about the first ascents of the Eiger this was quite a sight. The scenery is utterly spectactular as you have mountains all around you. You struggle up the final very tough kilometer and can finally see the restaurant at top. I stopped and enjoyed the scenery and a quick cola.

The descent to Grindelwald is simply amazing. It is steep(over 10%), twisty and on average roads but really enjoyable especially as the peaks of the high mountains hang over your head. I wouldn’t advise going too fast as there often hikers on the road and the occasional bus to avoid. Once you get to Grindelwald, the descent becomes a lot less fun, at first I followed the cycling route signs (61) which was quite nice, on through Grindelwald, you take a left (there was some sort of festival going on where there had cattle, sheep etc in the middle of town) and follow the signs to Grindelwald Grund. After Grund, I continued to follow the cycling signs on to a bicycle path, the path turned to gravel, this is one of my pet annoyances in Switzerland, the cycling paths suddenly turn to gravel (more on this later), but thankfully in this case there was a bail out option as the main road down to Interlake was just a short ride away, I continue on descending to Interlaken, the road here is nothing special, a rather large road the scenery was not overly impressive and this portion of the descent seemed to go on forever, partly because I was descending into a headwind. Eventually, I hit the tourist mecca of Switzerland of Interlaken, not my favorite place in Switzerland and after dodging hordes of tourists and passing the legendary Interlaken Hooters, I grabbed a quick sandwich from a kiosk and decided to cycle back to Meiringen rather than take the train. I figured it would be an easy 29 kilometers along a lake and could practice my time-trialing skills. I was 100% wrong on that account. I followed the signs to Meiringen and the road become lovely as it ran along, arguably the most beautiful lake in Switzerland, BrienzerSee. After 5 kilometers, the first trouble started, there was climb 100 meters over 2 km’s, it wasn’t too bad but did a hurt some as my body was still expecting a smooth ride. The scenery got even better as you climbed up you had a beautiful view to the BrienzerSee and then a short descent past Iselwand, a little village that juts out into the Brienzer See, I continued on, and the next trouble began, another sign marking another climb, the sign said 5 kilometers, 150 meters, okay not too bad but it seemed much steeper than that. And then the big trouble began, the road turned to gravel, no, I was not in the mood for a cyclocross experience on my road bike but really had no choice as there was no bail out road, there was major highway running too far away but not suitable for cycles. So I pressed on, the road was okay at first but then the hardpacked gravel became loose rocks and the road was climbing rather steeply, the bike was vibrating all over the place and the back wheel would spin out as I tried to get out of the saddle a couple times, onward and upward the road climbed and road conditions kept getting worse, okay finally I have reached to top but then things got worse, the descent was clearly not for a road bike, and the signs said that cyclists should get off the bike and walk the next half kilometer, I could barely walk down the slope in my cycling shoes without slidng. The road turned back into concrete and eventually met up with a road for cars. Finally, I had reach Brienz after a nice winding descent, the rest of the path was a more or less flat sprint for 10 kilometers along a cycling path back to Meiringen.

There is supposedly another cycling trail on the other side of the Brienzer See, but I cannot confidently say whether it is better for a road bike. The route on the right side of the Brienzer See (coming from Interlaken) I would not recommend for a road bike.


Another adventure packed day taking in this lovely land we are fortunate enough to call home, even with those trick-filled cycling paths.

Last edited by dakman; 01.09.2008 at 22:25.
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Old 02.09.2008, 07:53
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

I also did the Grosse Scheidegg loop a couple of weeks ago. We started in Lauterbrunnen and travelled in the opposite direction, climbing Grosse Scheidegg from Grindelwald. The climb is tough because it averages more than 10% for the last 4 kms, you'll certainly need some LOW gearing (see the profiles on climbbybike.com for coming from Meirngen or Grindelwald). The scenery was certainly pretty awesome. When the buses and service vehicles approached (no regular private cars are allowed on the top section), we always got off of the road to let them pass because the road is really narrow. To get to the base of the climb, we stayed on the main road into Grindelwald. The road is pretty busy and there is not always much room for the traffic, so its certainly not a great part of the ride. However, I knew the alternatives would involve gravel tracks and lots of energy-sapping unnecessary undulations, so we put up with it because we knew it would improve after Grindelwald.

After all that climbing, we were ready to be rewarded with a great descent. We knew that we'd have to take it careful due to the road width, quality, and possibility of meeting a bus head-on. However, the descent was FAR less enjoyable than we'd hoped. The road surface was pretty terrible, and would have been more suited to something a bit more cushy than a road/racing bike. We hoped that after the point where the road was open to cars again, it would improve. However, the change was imperceptible and it was still narrow and bad quality, the only difference was that there were now more vehicles to worry about, making it really difficult to enjoy the descent.

We stopped in Brienz, where we found some awesome cake at a Tea Room / Bakery on the west side of town, then continued along the north side of Lake Brienz. This is a beautiful ride along a well-paved road. There is a moderate amount of traffic, but the road is plenty wide enough. There are no significant climbs IIRC. I've now heard a couple of people complain about the ride along the south shore of Lake Brienz, and so I'd recommend everyone to use the north shore unless they want to throw in some additional adventure to their ride.

We then skillfully managed to bypass nearly all of Interlaken and rode straight back to where we were staying in Lauterbrunnen - a section in which you ride straight toward the Jungfrau and is a great way to end such a scenic ride. Another quick note, if you do the ride on a weekday then there is a good chance that the Swiss Air Force will be flying their fighter jets in and out of Meiringen, and you might get to watch many of them fly around throughout your ride, as was the case for us.
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Old 21.06.2009, 05:54
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Grosse Scheidegg: Glad to notice folks describing their rides over this great pass. couple of thought about it: Last month I noticed you can get even more dramatic views of the Schreckhorn and Lauteraarhorn peaks by riding out a ways on the dirt path northwest from the pass. And, though the main attraction is the mountain views from near the pass, riding up from Interlaken to Grindelwald thru the villages on bike route 61 off the main road is pretty special too. [ photos ]

Col de la Croix: climbing up to Villars-sur-Ollon from Bex by way of Gryon is much prettier [ photos ] (and I think quieter) than the more direct road up from Ollon. Actually once the winter snow has melted off the high peaks, I don't think Col de la Croix is very spectacular, and the descent east to Diablerets not so interesting -- so I'm thinking the most pretty and interesting continuation is just to descend the same road back down to Bex.

Ken
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Old 21.06.2009, 06:36
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

Rhone valley climbs . . .

I had the good luck to get to ride around Martigny and Sion back in May and try some more climbs. Here’s
some links to photos
..

I’ll be glad for suggestions of other interesting or spectacular climbs to try.

Here’s a map of some climbs in that area

A little about some of the climbs I tried . . .
(lots more details on this page)
* Lac d’Emosson by the France-Switz frontier [map] -- A great big view of the snowy Mont Blanc mountains - (perhaps the best mountain view from a paved road in Europe?) - [photos], also some interesting riding above the lake [photos2]. Makes a great addition to a loop from Martigny thru Salvan up the Gorges du Trient (section on dirt) to Finhaut and return over Col de la Forclaz to Martigny.

* Villars-sur-Ollon from Bex -- big views of the Rhone valley and mountains across it, thru vineyards + farms + villages, interesting riding - (much prettier than the more direct road up from Ollon). [ map | photos | photos2 ]

* "Balcon Sud du Rhone" -- multiple climbs + descents above Sion + Sierre -- big views of Rhone valley + mountains across it, thru mountain villages with views across and up higher valleys, with interesting climbs and descents. [ map | photos ]

* "Balcon Nord du Rhone" -- multiple climbs + descents above Sion + Sierre -- big views of Rhone valley and snowy mountains. [ map ] - (Overall I didn't like this route as much as the "Balcon Sud", I guess its main attraction is that in late summer could still get views of high snowy peaks.)

* la Fey southwest from Martigny [ map ] -- a short way to “skim the best” of the Col de la Forclaz northeast side. Villages + vineyards with views over the Rhone valley (bigger views if descend instead the main Forclaz road, which is how I'd do it).

Some climbs around there I've liked in other years:

* Martigny over Champex to Orseires, and back the same way.

* loop: Orsieres over Grand St Bernard to Aosta, then return Courmayeur over Col du Grand Ferret (dirt) to la Fouly and Orsieres. Views of the Grand Combin, late Mont Blanc, Grandes Jorasses, Mont Dolent, fun descent north side of Grand Ferret. (It's helpful to choose a time with lower traffic volume on the main road above Orsieres, and choose a day when the trail over Grand Ferret is not muddy).

* Pas de Morgins from Monthey, mostly on the side roads - (which did not have any bike route signs for me to follow). (I did enjoy descending on the main road, but the motor traffic is not for everybody and not what I'd want to deal with while climbing up).

Lots more info + details on this page

Ken
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Old 19.08.2009, 15:53
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prettiness of climbs rated 1 to 5 stars

Found a very helpful website -- www.quaeldich.de -- which rates climbs separately for prettiness and for difficulty. It's showing me a whole lot of new roads to ride.
Most bicycle climbing websites don't rate prettiness at all, or they just have a single quality rating which is an unknown mix of prettiness or difficulty or whatever factors.
This website also includes lots of less-well-known climbs -- so it could be a good source of ideas even if you don't agree with the numerical 1-5 ratings.

Example:
from the home page, I click on P ässelexikon, then Regionen, then Schweiz, then Regionen, then Berner Oberland, then P ässe, which brings me to
this page of Berner climbs
then I go to the top of the column of green stars and click on " Schön"
which groups the
prettiest climbs at the top.
What's interesting to me is that two-thirds of the 5-star climbs I've never heard of before, and I've only ridden one of them so far.
Then I click on Griesalp, then Karte, and I get this
map of several more nearby climbs
which I didn't know about.
(then click on "Map", zoom in a couple levels, and I see the road to Griesalp)

I've also done this for larger areas, like here's
Valais / Wallis prettiest climbs

with some (possibly unexpected) findings about what some riders (visiting Germans?) think about Les Agites and Col du Sanetsch.

I'm finding that my own ratings of the climbs which I've done are within one star of the quaeldich.de ratings. (Of course there are some pretty roads that haven't been included yet, e.g. Lac d'Emosson near Finhaut)

So now I've got a whole new list of places to ride. Interesting how putting a subjective number on prettiness enables me to get my planning away from relying on the obvious numbers of size + steepness of climbs.

Ken
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Old 10.10.2009, 04:01
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climbs not over a pass 2 (Berner Oberland)

I tried some more climbs "not over anything" in early September, and was very well rewarded. I just looked on www.quaeldich.de for climbs around the Berner Oberland and sorted them by prettiness, did some rated 5-star or 4-star.

quick list with my rating (east to west):
* Oberaar Panoramastrasse (by Grimselpass) (A)
* Gental + Engstlenalp (near Innertkirchen) (A)
* Axalp + Chruttmettli (near Brienz) (B)
* Kleine Scheidegg direct from Grindelwald (C)
* Männlichen from Grindelwald w hike to Kleine Scheidegg (A)
* Mürren + Winteregg from Lauterbrunnen (B+)
* Kiental + Griesalp from Reichenbach im Kandertal (A)
[ see on map ]
ratings: A = pretty special, see if it might be special in your preferred way; B = good; C = nothing special, or special but with negatives.
I'm eager for more suggestions for interesting + pretty climbs to try.

More below.
Photo links + lots more details here

Ken
___________________________________________
Oberaar Panoramastrasse (by Grimsel pass) [ map ]
Great views of peaks and lakes in three directions, especially west into the glaciers and high peaks of the Berner Oberland. Narrow asphalt road cut into steep rock. Possibililty of riding to (and across?) the dam of a remote glacial lake.



Key point is not that so many people would ride this (short) road on its own. But it naturally combines with climbing or descending the spectacular roads of the upper sections of both sides of the Grimsel pass, and the addition of the Panoramastrasse raises my interesting+prettiness ratings for the Grimsel pass climbs from "good" to "outstanding".
see Photos + lots more about difficulty + sizing + "cheating" options
Engstlenalp + Gental (near Innertkirchen) [ map ]
Like a wonderful mountain bike ride thru meadows near tree-line with a stream and cows (sometimes on the road) and waterfalls and some kinda dramatic rock peaks -- except that it’s on smooth asphalt, and there’s food served at the end (and perhaps along the way). A little further ride or walk on gravel road to a lake. Some views toward glaciers and distant snow peaks on the descent.

see Photos + lots more about difficulty + sizing + "cheating" options
Axalp + Chruttmettli (near Brienz) [ map ]
Views of the biggest bluest-green mountain lake I know in Switzerland, from close low down and from high up. Sustained climbing on a low-traffic asphalt road.
The problem for me is the long slog thru the forest between the low views and the high views. So I cannot give it 5 stars like Quaeldich.de -- my suspicion is that their rater rode it in late spring / early summer while there was still snow on the peaks on the other side of the lake Brienz.
see more about difficulty + sizing + "cheating" options
Kleine Scheidegg direct from Grindelwald Grund [ map ]
Great high-mountain views in a famous place. The big problem is that the upper part of the climb has a long section on dirt with larger stones in it. Painfully bumpy for me riding without a rear suspension.

I think there's a better alternative nearby ...

Männlichen from Grindelwald, optional hike to Kleine Scheidegg [ map ]
Great views of high peaks and glaciers, and to far horizons in many directions, plus a steep look from top down into Lauterbrunner valley. Optional hike toward the Eiger north face with continuing views.
I did not pedal up this climb -- rode up the lift instead -- so I'm relying on Quaeldich.de to attest that the experience of the paved path itself is in keeping with the other aspects. The asphalt path looked like it had less distance (less than the Kleine Scheidegg direct way) of slogging thru forest between the lower pasture-grazing land and the higher above-tree-line open meadows -- then it goes above tree-line a long ways which allows time to enjoy the high mountain views. So I’d like to try pedaling up it.

I did do the hike, and it's a rather spectacular (and not difficult) trail -- aand I suspect its popularity with walkers is a key reason that bicycling is not permitted on it. So I'm happy to agree with the Quaeldich.de rating of 5 stars.
see lots more info + options (perhaps some photos)
Mürren + Winteregg from Lauterbrunnen [ map ]
Big views of high peaks and glaciers, some views across the Lauterbrunnen valley, and Gimmelwald is a quiet pretty village. If you're looking for an adventure that includes carrying your bike and a variety of different road surfaces and steepness, this loop could be a good choice.
Problems for me: climb up from Lauterbrunnen has a long slog thru forest; descent from Gimmelwald has some unridable sections.

see lots more about difficulty + sizing + "cheating" options (perhaps some photos)
Griesalp from Kiental + Reichenbach im Kandertal [ map ]
Steep switchbacks on both sides of waterfalls, coming after a steep-walled cirque with braided streams, coming after a climb up a pleasant valley thru villages toward a dramatic rock peak.



I'd give it 3 stars just for the pleasant climb thru the villages, up to 4 stars for the cirque, then the unique waterfall climb clearly puts it into 5 stars (in agreement with Quaeldich.de).
see Photos + lots more about difficulty + sizing + "cheating" options
Look forward to suggestions of more climbs -- and other ideas.
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Old 10.10.2009, 07:49
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

A bit of supplemental info to KenR's post:

Männlichen from Grindelwald. I've ridden this road, and it is fantastic. The views are constantly amazing, and the road is good quality. From what I remember, there's very little riding in the forest: You start off in the holiday chalets near Grindelwald, then go through some farmlands (watch out for the cows on the road), then end up above tree line. Traffic is very light, and what there is drives very slowly. There are a number of unmarked intersections on the way up, but I was able to follow the right road without too much of a problem.

Engstlenalp + Gental. I've read other reports of people who have ridden this road, then from the end of it they have done a couple of kms of pushing/carrying the bike along a hiking trail, then ended up in the village of Tannen. From there, there is a paved road that goes down to Sarnen, between the Bruenig Pass and Luzern. I haven't done this myself, but I plan to do so some day (you can completely avoid the heavy traffic of the Bruenig Pass by doing this).
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Old 11.02.2010, 19:00
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

I found a great site for finding and sharing your routes using a Garmin Bike Computer:

http://www.bikemap.net

used it several times. always a great ride.
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Old 16.11.2012, 16:55
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

anyone know if i can take my road bike up gurten in bern? seems like its is more for mountain bikers but i know there is road up there, i'm hoping its tarmac!
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Old 16.11.2012, 17:20
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Re: Road Cycling Routes (route discussions are on another thread)

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anyone know if i can take my road bike up gurten in bern? seems like its is more for mountain bikers but i know there is road up there, i'm hoping its tarmac!
I believe you can, just follow the main path up.
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