When I mentioned to friends and other cyclists I was going cycling in Switzerland the immediate reaction was surprise soon followed by a comment of some sort regarding the height of the mountains.
Switzerland has an undeserved reputation, because where there are great mountains there are even greater valleys. Switzerland has nine national, well signed, cycling routes cover the country along numerous regional and local trails in each city. Some of the cycling routes are indeed in the mountains, while others follow the valleys.
If you are bicycle touring along a cycling route that you find too difficult the efficient Swiss Rail system has bicycle cars on its trains so you can hop to the next town and continue your journey. I have never found a country in the world more respectful of cyclists and pedestrians than the Swiss drivers who always stop at cross walks.
Unexpected is the 200 bicycle rental depots in every corner of the country which include touring bikes with locks and rear racks. You can reserve on-line picking up at one location and dropping off at another as they are all part of the same company; most locations are in the train stations.
We picked up our rental bicycle at the Interlaken West station and soon joined the Aare National Bike route into Bern. Connecting with other national cycling routes we cycled to Lake Geneva. Then Swiss National Bike route 1 took had us riding along Lake Geneva into Lausanne and Monteux before traveling right along the Rhone River, this is the most popular cycling route in Switzerland. We left our rental bikes in Brig to spend a few days hiking in Zermatt.
The second most popular route is the Rhine Valley Bike route which begins in Switzerland and continues through Germany to the Netherlands.
The Swiss cycling association website has a list of hotels which are cyclist friendly, but we found all hotels, B and B’s, hostels to be accepting of our bicycles. If you choose to camp there are many campgrounds on the cycling routes as well.
A great investment is a Swiss Rail pass which not only gets you to your starting point but provides discounts on lake ferries, cable cars plus free admission to over 400 museums in Switzerland including the famed Castle Chillon in Monteux.
When bicycle touring anywhere you will require proper clothing for better performance and safety reasons so check out these great bicycle helmets.
Switzerland is one of the great cycling nations in the world, it just has an undeserved reputation.