Imagine a three-day round trip to the Swiss Alps, with epic trails, great company and an unforgettable scenery. We wanted to see how much bike-adventure you can fit into one long bike-weekend in Switzerland.
We live for the weekends and know from experience how much effort you have to put into the planning when you want to explore foreign terrain. Each time we invest hours of research to make every hour of the trip count and get the maximum number of trail meters possible. Where can we go to without spending half the time commuting to the riding location? How can we link up the longest singletrails out there? Can we get some assisted uplifts, or do we have to earn every turn? Where could we stay overnight drink some beers and enjoy the local cuisine?
This time, we were invited from our friends at Rodeo Bike Co to test a new tour that they developed. To make it as real as possible, we started at Zurich airport, as this is where most riders from abroad would start their journey. It is very well connected and has direct flights from all major cities in Europe.
Friday 10:47 am Zurich airport: Off we go – Zurich airport is directly linked to the high-speed train network of Switzerland. Trains are well prepared for bikes and if you leave your bike in the bag, you do not even have to pay extra for transporting it.
After switching trains in Lucerne, we arrive in Meiringen. The journey continued with the public bus, that is called Postauto in the Swiss mountains. Most Postautos in Switzerland are equipped with bike racks during the summer. Be aware that most buses only have space for up to 6 bikes and you might have to reserve up front if you want to make sure you get a spot. Romeo, founder and head guide at Rodeo Bike, did the trick for us.
You never know what the weather might do in the Swiss Alps, even in Valais that has some of the largest amount of sunny days in Switzerland. This time, the weather had changed overnight and created a unique – somehow a bit chilly – landscape. Luckily, the sun had decided to make an appearance and started to uncover the trails again. We started off above the treeline with a scenic traversing trail which then turned into a loamy trail, with little roots, smooth ground and a few steeper sections.
After a long descent of about 1000 meters, we arrived in the valley where we enjoyed a late lunch at one of the great local restaurants. Our overnight location was a rustic mountain hut that was exclusively opened for us as Romeo has been friends with the owner for many years. For the ascent to the hut, which goes quite steep up the hill over rough terrain, we jumped in the hut owner’s little jeep. Somehow in the end we all got a space on the tiny vehicle that took us up the hill.
After a long evening of great food, local wine and some Schnaps from the hut owner, we all (well almost) made it to bed.
The next morning was cold (a bit frosty even), but beautiful and we were ready to enjoy riding in the Swiss Alps.
The early rise was rewarded immediately. The moment the sun rose over the mountains it immersed the trails and scenery into incredible light. The frost on the trail melted and it became grippier again. Time to let loose of your breaks.
About half way down we arrived at a hut with some friendly hunters that offered us to use everything available in the hut to make ourselves a coffee. Gas stove, cups, coffee, Ovomaltine (a Swiss chocolate drink), milk – everything at our disposal. They could not join as they were just about to leave to find dinner in the woods.
For lunch we stopped in Binn, a cosy little town with houses in the original Walser architectural style. The traditional wooden houses are secured against rodents and from mice with stone pillars. We had a special dish of the region, Cholera. It is a leek, potato tart, that weighs quite heavy in your stomach – definitely enough energy to continue our trip.
In amazing fall conditions, we combined a proper amount of climbing trail including carriages andsmooth descents. It was the combination of both, the trail and the view that put a permanent smile on our faces.
After a full day of biking with frost, sun, fantastic views, flowy trails and great company, we ended up in Mühlebach for Aprés-Biking (don’t miss out on the hanging bridge over the very beginning of the Rhone, connecting Mühlebach and Fürgangen). Here we were picked up by the manager of the next overnight accommodation, who shuttled us up to the hotel.
Next day we got up early to get the most of our last day of biking. We started with a trail in the hometown of Romeo. The gondola helped us with the uplift. The downhill was again a great combination of roots and loam.
Next a classic was on the program: From Betten, up to Aletsch Arena and riding alongside the Aletschgletscher ending with a decent all the way down to Brig. Plenty of downhill kilometers and fun on the bike.
The view into the valley, with Brig in the background. Still plenty of trail to go down. With rocky and technical parts turning into a beautiful traverse. Then continuing alongside an irrigation channel that was formerly used to water the plants and supply the mountain people with water.
We ended in Brig, right at the train station, where the trip home began. There is a train leaving every hour that takes you non-stop to the airport. It will take a bit longer than two hours, plenty of time to get your luggage organized for the flight. Overall, we spent 56 hours away from Zurich Airport. Add two times 3 hours for check-in and flying and you end up at 62 hours. The amount of trails, culinary experiences, local stories and good times with the guys from Rodeo we got was just incredible. Thanks guys – we will be back.
This trip was made possible by: Trail-Queen – An online store for bike-clothing for girls and soon also for boys – Trail-King
– Rodeo Bike Co.– the locals for real bike adventures
– Valais Promotion
– Switzerland Tourism
Words: Trail Queen Photos: Simon Ricklin