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Old 28.02.2011, 16:10
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Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

Hello Swits,

I need some help regarding bike routes from Zurich to Rome. I'm planning to bike from Zurich to Rome March 26, coming from Canada. I'II have to buy maps when I get in Zurich, but does anyone know where the best place to buy that stuff, hows the weather during that time? Is there actaul bike paths to Rome or back roads. Need some help. Please Thank you

joey
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Old 28.02.2011, 16:30
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes to Italy

The only Swiss pass to get to the south side of the Alps that will be open then is the Lucomagno, so you will need to pass by Chur.

Tom
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Old 28.02.2011, 23:12
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes to Italy

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The only Swiss pass to get to the south side of the Alps that will be open then is the Lucomagno, so you will need to pass by Chur.
Open, yes, but will it be snow-free?

In any case, check out these websites:

http://www.veloland.ch/en/routen.cfm
http://www.ecf.com/14_1
http://apsykes.com/eurovelo-5-2010-2/
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Old 28.02.2011, 23:18
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes to Italy

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Open, yes, but will it be snow-free?
Yes, snow free (more or less).

Anyway, the only alternatives are to go by train.

Tom
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Old 01.03.2011, 15:30
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

The Lukmanier certainly may be the best option. I cycled over it about 10 days ago (late February), and it had quite a bit of snow cover. The authorities keep the road open (except after big storms), but it appears that they don't bother to totally clear it of all snow. On the south side, it's not cleared above Campra, which is at about 1400 metres altitude; the next 3-4 km after that are on the shady south side of the valley, so it was covered in hard-packed snow when I was there, despite there being no new snowfall in the previous couple of days. I took it slow, used a really low gear, and pedaled as smoothly as possible; I barely slipped at all despite only have 30mm-wide tires (the other 370km of my 3-day tour were on snow-free tarmac, so I didn't regret my tire choice). After that section, the sun gets onto the road a lot more, so it was mostly clear, although there were occasional, small patches of snow and ice, but nothing extensive. The north side of the pass was almost completely clear, but I took it real snow until I got below about 1500m and then I could be more certain that I wouldn't meet any surprises, so enjoyed the descent from then on.

Another alternative would be the Jullier pass towards St Moritz, then over the Maloja pass down to Lake Como. The Jullier is quite a bit higher than the Lukmanier, almost 2300m instead of just under 2000m, but it is more used and so should be clearer of snow. The TCS website certainly lists the Jullier as being clear most of the times I look at it, whereas the Lukmanier is normally listed as having snow on the road.

The third option would be the Simplon pass, but that would make the distance a lot further from Zurich. However, that is only just over 2,000m, and the road was completely clear of snow when I went over it two days before doing the Lukmanier. A fair amount of heavy truck traffic uses that route though, making it somewhat less enjoyable.

In Switzerland you can use the national cycle routes, links to which have been given by others. They use combinations of quiet roads and a few sections of light gravel trails. However, they are not always so direct, and can sometimes be challenging to stay on without missing any of the frequent turns. There are many minor roads in Switzerland that are also a pleasure to cycle on, but are more direct and often easier to follow than the official cycle routes IME.

Good luck in Italy: cycling there can vary between being a nightmare and being in heaven; hopefully you'll find more of the latter than the former.
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Last edited by ChrisW; 08.03.2011 at 10:23.
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Old 01.03.2011, 15:54
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

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Another alternative would be the Jullier pass towards St Moritz, then over the Maloja pass down to Lake Como.
Ooops, forgot that the Julier is open in winter.

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The third option would be the Simplon pass, but that would make the distance a lot further from Zurich.
If you don't want to take a train, you'd have to go from Zurich to almost Lake Geneva, and then do the whole Rhone valley until Brig!

Tom
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Old 01.03.2011, 16:38
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

Maybe this is interresting too...
Some routes, and bikerfriendly restaurants, inns, bars are listet, as well as all places where you can get it fixed.. http://bike.primail.ch
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Old 01.03.2011, 22:38
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

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The third option would be the Simplon pass, but that would make the distance a lot further from Zurich. However, that is only just over 2,000m, and the road was completely clear of snow when I went over it two days before doing the Lukmanier. A fair amount of heavy truck traffic uses that route though, making it somewhat less enjoyable.
The only time I (admittedly) drove up the Simplon it was an outright mess on the Italian side all the way up to the top, and then magically clear of snow on the Swiss side. I suppose YMMV wildly depending on the day.
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Old 08.03.2011, 10:33
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

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The only time I (admittedly) drove up the Simplon it was an outright mess on the Italian side all the way up to the top, and then magically clear of snow on the Swiss side. I suppose YMMV wildly depending on the day.
The difference is not due to the different sides being maintained by the Swiss or Italian authorities. The south side of the pass, leading to Italy, is actually mostly in Swiss territory, all the way down to the village of Gondo at about 850 metres elevation. However, a lot of the south side of the pass is in a narrow valley that doesn't get much sunlight, so the snow and ice takes a lot longer to clear properly. In the sections that are in similar situations on the north side, there are a lot of galleries (tunnels that are open on one side) that keep the road clear, but there are very few on the south side.

The same thing happens on every pass: it is the sections in narrow valleys, especially when the road is on the south side of that valley, where snow and ice conditions on the road are the worst for the longest. Even at much lower elevations, not on mountain passes, this is still the case, so you should be extra cautious when you see a section of road like that approaching any time during the winter months.
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Old 12.03.2011, 17:32
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

Thank you so much for the very helpful replies. I have 33 days to make it to Rome from Zurich. I think, I'II train it to the south side of the alps and bike from there, which train station should i go with?. Now, when I get into Zurich is there any places that i must see and foods to eat that Zurich is famous is for? Thanks for taking time to give me some advise.

Joey
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Old 12.03.2011, 17:55
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

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Thank you so much for the very helpful replies. I have 33 days to make it to Rome from Zurich.
Well, that should be ample time to go by bike.


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I think, I'II train it to the south side of the alps and bike from there, which train station should i go with?.
Como would be my suggestion.

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Now, when I get into Zurich is there any places that i must see
The lake, Top of Zurich, some place from here:
http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/dest...nd/zurich.html

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and foods to eat that Zurich is famous is for?
Cheese?
;-)
Zürch'er Gschnetzeltes with Röschti might be a bit more famous.
But restaurants are very expensive in Switzerland. Be prepared to spend 50 CHF and more for this speciality.
If you want it more frugal, the Sternen Grill at Belvue offers a Bratwurst with mustard and bread - in a way, the working-class version of the above dish....
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Old 13.03.2011, 10:56
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

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I think, I'II train it to the south side of the alps and bike from there, which train station should i go with?.
I would therefore take a train through the Gotthard tunnel and start biking from Airolo, in Ticino. The ride from Zurich to the north side of that tunnel, in Goeschenen would also be very nice, and should be snow-free if we don't have any bad weather around that time.
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Old 14.03.2011, 11:23
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Re: Need some info on Bike routes Zurich to Italy

If you got a train from Zurich to south of the Alps you would miss a lot so certainly the first leg by Bike to Goeschenen would be my recommendation pretty much follow your nose due south, takes in some very nice lakeside scenery and several picturesque towns and villages en route. Then the option of a short trip through the tunnel to Airolo by train or maybe slightly longer to Bellinzona.
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