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Dieser Reisebericht liegt an:

Nord-Süd-Route route-03
Nord-Süd-Route
Basel–Chiasso
Zur Route
A week of clear blue skies, generous hospitality and fantastic scenery!

A week of clear blue skies, generous hospitality and fantastic scenery!

On our last holiday to Switzerland I purchased a map of the national cycling routes as a souvenir. This lay forgotten in my map draw for a number of years, until my wife suggested that I needed a break. I was soon pouring over the map looking for inspiration, and after checking some web sites I discovered that I could follow Route 3 to Chiasso…
On our last family holiday to Switzerland I purchased a map of the national cycling routes as a souvenir. This lay forgotten in my map draw for a number of years, until my wife suggested that I needed a break and a few days away on my bike would be good for me. I was soon pouring over the map looking for ideas and inspiration, and after checking some web sites I discovered that I could easily fly to Basel, follow Route 3 to Chiasso before catching the train back to Basel and flying home to the UK.
Day 1.

Arriving in Basel at 5pm one Saturday in June, the temperature was still 34C, too hot to cycle, so I caught the bus into town. After building up my bike in the cool of the railway station, I rode to the hostel only 10 min away, which was located in a quiet leafy suburb close to the Rhine and Route 3. After a quick shower, I headed to the old town to meet a couple from the same cycle club of which I was a member. After initial introductions, I was taken for a beer at a terrace overlooking the Rhine, followed by a tour of the old town and a meal at a traditional Swiss restaurant This was a wonderful introduction to Basel and Swiss hospitality.
Day 2.

Sunday dawned hot again with clear blue skies. I was soon heading along the Rhine embankment following the route signs. These took me out of Basel through quiet suburbs and along narrow traffic free roads. Although the route was rather convoluted, it avoided the main roads and followed the back roads used by the Swiss for their Sunday recreation.

After about 30k the road started to climb into the Jura, this was to be my first minor col but it turned out to be the steepest climb of the holiday. The map showed 4 triple chevrons over the next 10k (a triple chevron = steeper than 10%) and I was struggling in the heat. Eventually I climbed above the tree line and into open pastures and the summit at 837m. My reward was the decent into the Aar valley and the opportunity to freewheel and rest my legs. As it was Sunday, all the cafes and supermarkets had been closed, but at 3pm I arrived in Olten, where a sports festival was taking place. Here I found a café and was able to have my first food since breakfast. After a good rest, I was able to cover the final 20k to Zofingen and my hostel for the night. This was a beautiful villa set in its own grounds not far from the old town. I was fortunate to be the only occupant that night. (75k/700m)
Day 3.

The next day, Monday was to be my easiest in spite of the continuing heat. In order to get to Zofingen I had left Route 3 and needed to rejoin it at Sursee. I had planned to cycle down the main road, but the warden told me of a cycle route down by the river. Heading into the outskirts of Zofingen I soon spotted a cycle route sign to Sursee 25k away. This turned out to be a beautiful route along the riverbank, across meadows and through woods on narrow roads and tracks. As I approached Sursee, I crested a hill to see the full panorama of the snow covered Alps stretching across the horizon. After coffee, croissants and a litre of mineral water at Sursee I headed south to Lucerne. Route 3 took me direct to the harbour along riverside paths that bypassed the busy roads. I had intended to spend some time looking round the old town, but it was too hot and busy, so I caught the next ferry across the lake. The ferry was a beautiful old paddle steamer built in 1913 and I was able to spend half an hour on the upper deck resting and enjoying the views. On reaching Weggis I headed for the first lakeside café for more water, coffee and apple strudel. The final 20k followed the lakeside on quiet roads to Brunnen and my hotel for the night. Here I ate at a promenade restaurant overlooking the lake and the snow capped mountains first seen earlier in the day (80k, 230m).
Day 4.

Tuesday dawned bright and clear with the temperatures heading for the lower thirties. Although this was to be my shortest day I had to climb up to Andermat at 1500m. The first 15k followed a busy lakeside main road, but I was able to avoid the traffic by riding on the wide smooth cycle path. Here I encountered my first tunnels, the first had a shared cycle path and footpath, while the other used the old road tunnel for cycles, leaving cars to use the new road tunnel. On reaching the end of the lake I headed for Altstadt for my morning fix at the café backerei. The next few kilometres then followed lanes and tracks by the river, before joining the old main road that was very quiet. Very soon I passed a cycle route notice informing that there were over 1600m of ascent in the next 35k. Fortunately, Andermat, my destination for the day was only 20k further, but first I had 1000m of ascent! Initially the road wound up a wooded gorge, but towards the top, it narrowed with sheer rock walls on either side. This was blisteringly hot with the heat reflected from the rock face, but eventually I emerged into the cooler alpine pastures surrounding Andermat. After another carbo fix at the backerei I was off to my accommodation in the next village. (60k, 1330m).
Day 5.

Wednesday was my big day with the crossing of the St Gotthard pass. The first hairpins started right outside my hotel. Compared with yesterday the climb was easy. Only 600m of ascent in 12k. It was a beautiful day with crystal clear air, the sound of cowbells and I was surrounded by alpine peaks and glaciers. The summit at 2100m was my highest point of the ride and I lingered at the refuge not wanting to leave. The descent from the pass followed the old cobbled road, which has now been bypassed. Initially the descent was quite gentle, but after 1k the road dropped away in a series of hairpins, some of which were ungaurded! This gave one of the most exhilarating descents I have ever ridden. I had nearly reached the valley when my front tyre blew, fortunately it happened on a straight section and I was able to stop without problem. The pounding of the cobbles had punctured the tube on the inside, and I had to find some shade before changing the tube. I was now on the southern side of the Alps and it was hotter than ever, the climate here was more Mediterranean than Alpine. After the delay with the puncture, I skipped my café stop at the next town and pressed on. It was 3pm before I reached the next café for a meal. It was only 20k to the hostel, but due to route finding problems and difficulty in locating the hostel, the last leg took 2 hours. I arrived at 6pm after a 9 hour day. (96k, 600m)
Day 6.

My final day was to take me over the border into Italy, but first I had another 800m col to cross. As I gained height, I could just see Lake Maggiore and Locarno through the heat haze. After crossing the col the decent through woods and along riverside paths brought me to Lake Lugano and a pleasant picturesque ride round part of the lake. Before leaving the lake I had lunch at lakeside restaurant watching the swans dodging the ferries as they crossed the lake. South of Lake Lugano the route entered quite a busy industrial area before reaching Chiasso, the official end of Route 3. However, I crossed the border and headed down the main road to Como and my hostel for the night. The hostel was located next to Lake Como and I spent the evening relaxing and dining on the promenade. This was a beautiful spot to end the ride, surrounded by wooded mountains, expensive villas and the tranquillity of the lake. (80k, 500m)
In retrospect I had experienced a week of clear blue skies, generous hospitality and fantastic scenery. Cycle touring does not get much better than this.

Roger England

July 2005
On our last holiday to Switzerland I purchased a map of the national cycling routes as a souvenir. This lay forgotten in my map draw for a number of years, until my wife suggested that I needed a break. I was soon pouring over the map looking for inspiration, and after checking some web sites I discovered that I could follow Route 3 to Chiasso…
On our last family holiday to Switzerland I purchased a map of the national cycling routes as a souvenir. This lay forgotten in my map draw for a number of years, until my wife suggested that I needed a break and a few days away on my bike would be good for me. I was soon pouring over the map looking for ideas and inspiration, and after checking some web sites I discovered that I could easily fly to Basel, follow Route 3 to Chiasso before catching the train back to Basel and flying home to the UK.
Day 1.

Arriving in Basel at 5pm one Saturday in June, the temperature was still 34C, too hot to cycle, so I caught the bus into town. After building up my bike in the cool of the railway station, I rode to the hostel only 10 min away, which was located in a quiet leafy suburb close to the Rhine and Route 3. After a quick shower, I headed to the old town to meet a couple from the same cycle club of which I was a member. After initial introductions, I was taken for a beer at a terrace overlooking the Rhine, followed by a tour of the old town and a meal at a traditional Swiss restaurant This was a wonderful introduction to Basel and Swiss hospitality.
Day 2.

Sunday dawned hot again with clear blue skies. I was soon heading along the Rhine embankment following the route signs. These took me out of Basel through quiet suburbs and along narrow traffic free roads. Although the route was rather convoluted, it avoided the main roads and followed the back roads used by the Swiss for their Sunday recreation.

After about 30k the road started to climb into the Jura, this was to be my first minor col but it turned out to be the steepest climb of the holiday. The map showed 4 triple chevrons over the next 10k (a triple chevron = steeper than 10%) and I was struggling in the heat. Eventually I climbed above the tree line and into open pastures and the summit at 837m. My reward was the decent into the Aar valley and the opportunity to freewheel and rest my legs. As it was Sunday, all the cafes and supermarkets had been closed, but at 3pm I arrived in Olten, where a sports festival was taking place. Here I found a café and was able to have my first food since breakfast. After a good rest, I was able to cover the final 20k to Zofingen and my hostel for the night. This was a beautiful villa set in its own grounds not far from the old town. I was fortunate to be the only occupant that night. (75k/700m)
Day 3.

The next day, Monday was to be my easiest in spite of the continuing heat. In order to get to Zofingen I had left Route 3 and needed to rejoin it at Sursee. I had planned to cycle down the main road, but the warden told me of a cycle route down by the river. Heading into the outskirts of Zofingen I soon spotted a cycle route sign to Sursee 25k away. This turned out to be a beautiful route along the riverbank, across meadows and through woods on narrow roads and tracks. As I approached Sursee, I crested a hill to see the full panorama of the snow covered Alps stretching across the horizon. After coffee, croissants and a litre of mineral water at Sursee I headed south to Lucerne. Route 3 took me direct to the harbour along riverside paths that bypassed the busy roads. I had intended to spend some time looking round the old town, but it was too hot and busy, so I caught the next ferry across the lake. The ferry was a beautiful old paddle steamer built in 1913 and I was able to spend half an hour on the upper deck resting and enjoying the views. On reaching Weggis I headed for the first lakeside café for more water, coffee and apple strudel. The final 20k followed the lakeside on quiet roads to Brunnen and my hotel for the night. Here I ate at a promenade restaurant overlooking the lake and the snow capped mountains first seen earlier in the day (80k, 230m).
Day 4.

Tuesday dawned bright and clear with the temperatures heading for the lower thirties. Although this was to be my shortest day I had to climb up to Andermat at 1500m. The first 15k followed a busy lakeside main road, but I was able to avoid the traffic by riding on the wide smooth cycle path. Here I encountered my first tunnels, the first had a shared cycle path and footpath, while the other used the old road tunnel for cycles, leaving cars to use the new road tunnel. On reaching the end of the lake I headed for Altstadt for my morning fix at the café backerei. The next few kilometres then followed lanes and tracks by the river, before joining the old main road that was very quiet. Very soon I passed a cycle route notice informing that there were over 1600m of ascent in the next 35k. Fortunately, Andermat, my destination for the day was only 20k further, but first I had 1000m of ascent! Initially the road wound up a wooded gorge, but towards the top, it narrowed with sheer rock walls on either side. This was blisteringly hot with the heat reflected from the rock face, but eventually I emerged into the cooler alpine pastures surrounding Andermat. After another carbo fix at the backerei I was off to my accommodation in the next village. (60k, 1330m).
Day 5.

Wednesday was my big day with the crossing of the St Gotthard pass. The first hairpins started right outside my hotel. Compared with yesterday the climb was easy. Only 600m of ascent in 12k. It was a beautiful day with crystal clear air, the sound of cowbells and I was surrounded by alpine peaks and glaciers. The summit at 2100m was my highest point of the ride and I lingered at the refuge not wanting to leave. The descent from the pass followed the old cobbled road, which has now been bypassed. Initially the descent was quite gentle, but after 1k the road dropped away in a series of hairpins, some of which were ungaurded! This gave one of the most exhilarating descents I have ever ridden. I had nearly reached the valley when my front tyre blew, fortunately it happened on a straight section and I was able to stop without problem. The pounding of the cobbles had punctured the tube on the inside, and I had to find some shade before changing the tube. I was now on the southern side of the Alps and it was hotter than ever, the climate here was more Mediterranean than Alpine. After the delay with the puncture, I skipped my café stop at the next town and pressed on. It was 3pm before I reached the next café for a meal. It was only 20k to the hostel, but due to route finding problems and difficulty in locating the hostel, the last leg took 2 hours. I arrived at 6pm after a 9 hour day. (96k, 600m)
Day 6.

My final day was to take me over the border into Italy, but first I had another 800m col to cross. As I gained height, I could just see Lake Maggiore and Locarno through the heat haze. After crossing the col the decent through woods and along riverside paths brought me to Lake Lugano and a pleasant picturesque ride round part of the lake. Before leaving the lake I had lunch at lakeside restaurant watching the swans dodging the ferries as they crossed the lake. South of Lake Lugano the route entered quite a busy industrial area before reaching Chiasso, the official end of Route 3. However, I crossed the border and headed down the main road to Como and my hostel for the night. The hostel was located next to Lake Como and I spent the evening relaxing and dining on the promenade. This was a beautiful spot to end the ride, surrounded by wooded mountains, expensive villas and the tranquillity of the lake. (80k, 500m)
In retrospect I had experienced a week of clear blue skies, generous hospitality and fantastic scenery. Cycle touring does not get much better than this.

Roger England

July 2005

Dieser Reisebericht liegt an:

Nord-Süd-Route route-03
Nord-Süd-Route
Basel–Chiasso
Zur Route