Switzerland has 9 national cycling routes totalling over 1600 miles. The Swiss have invested millions of francs into these routes and the government funds a full-time staff to promote their use and do regular maintenance. These paths are painstakingly signposted at every turn and specially built shelters, fountains and maps can be found along them. The routes normally follow well-maintained tertiary roads that are off limit to regular traffic. Any roads with extra traffic will always have a wide bike lane making for safe cycling. Although these paths stick to the countryside, cyclists will have no problems finding small “bike hotels”, supermarkets and bike shops catering to “vélotourists”.
You can find out more about these routes at www.purevelo.com, Cycling in Switzerland and www.bikeswitzerland.com . Making things even easier is the Swiss train system. This network is the densest and most efficient in the world and you’ll find train stations with hourly departures at roughly 15 mile intervals along each route. Feeling tired ? Want to shave off 15 miles from your day ? For around 10 CHF you and your bike can travel together. Consider buying the “Swisspass” and purchase ½ train tickets in Switzerland for one month.
Make things even easier for yourself by leaving your bike at home. Most train stations rent satisfactory bicycles and a number of cities even loan out free bikes for the day. High quality bikes with panniers and accessories can also be rented in Geneva and delivered throughout Switzerland.
Of course, if you come to Switzerland it’s for the scenery: lakes, peaks, rivers, meadows, waterfalls. You’ll never be disappointed, regardless your route. And you’ll enjoy all of it without constantly looking over your shoulder: unlike its Latin neighbours, the Swiss tradition of peace and tolerance means giving cyclists plenty of room and never honking. The only thing more respected than cyclists, is a pedestrian and you’ll experience this change of attitude within your first hour on the road. I hope you’ll take the opportunity.