Cycling the Aare and Rhine routes

Cycling the Aare and Rhine routes

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Patchouli
Patchouli
11 posts
new member
Feb 10, 2016 - 4:41 PM

Hello!

In a previous thread that I started (Lucerne vs. Lake Constance in May/June), I had posted a tentative itinerary in which I would cycle to Bern over 3.5 days from Kreuzlingen

I realize now that I have to cut down one day on the trail because I absolutely must arrive in Bern on May 23 (Day 5). So I can only be on the trail for 3 days (or 2.5 days actually).

Day 1 : Fly into Zurich (May 19) and head to Lake Constance (tentatively Kreuzlingen). Flights have just been confirmed yesterday and the ETA to Zurich is 1 pm.

Day 2: Rest at Lake Constance to overcome jet lag

Day 3-5: Bike to Bern from Lake Constance. Arrive in Bern on Day 5.

The difficulty of the Rhine and Aare Routes have stretches that are "easy" and "medium" in difficulty. My question is this: What do these adjectives mean? Difficulty is extremely subjective, and I also hear that your typical Swiss is really fit, so the average person might take a bit longer to complete each section. Up and downhill sections are also a factor.

Rhine Route

Stage 6: Kreuzlingen --> Schaffhausen (48 km (easy)Stage 5: Schaffhausen --> Koblenz: ~52 km (easy)

Aare Route

Stage 7: Koblenz --> Aarau: 42 km (easy)

Stage 6: Aarau --> Solothurn: 56 km (easy)

Stage 5: Solothurn --> Biel (Nidau): 31 km (easy)

Stage 4: Biel (Nidau) --> Bern: 46 km (medium)

I am female. Let's just assume that I can bike 20 km/hr (maybe faster...I don't know. I want to stay conservative). Realistically, how far can I get in 2.5 days? I'm hoping to arrive in Bern at 3 pm.

I don't want to overdo it. I am already thinking that I'll have to take the train somewhere in between. Any suggestions on where I should rest? Will it be easy to get off the trail to head to a train station?

Is Stein am Rhein worth visiting? If not, I might just take the train directly from Kreuzlingen to Koblenz. I'm generally not fond of places that are overrun with tourists. Or should I head to Stein am Rhein from Zurich?

So many decisions! Help! :-)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2638 posts
expert
Feb 10, 2016 - 11:31 PM

Hi Patchouli -

<<"The difficulty of the Rhine and Aare Routes have stretches that are "easy" and "medium" in difficulty. My question is this: What do these adjectives mean? Difficulty is extremely subjective, and I also hear that your typicalSwiss is really fit, so the average person might take a bit longer tocomplete each section. Up and downhill sections are also a factor.">>

A comment on that one of your questions.

More later on where you could break your trip. However, the maps can show train stations along/near the route.

If you look at the Switzerland mobility links that I gave you before, for the Rhein route and the Aare route, you will find a height profile for the entire length of both routes.

You have identified the stages from that site...check the height profile and other information about route surface.

Any bicycle path that I have seen in Switzerland, with the exception of the Mountain Bike Routes. is a road or path with a high quality surface. I am not a cyclist anymore. Knees.

If you work the maps, you can probably see all the fine detail in any section. You can see if it is on a road, for example. I'm not sure exactly which map I'd start with, but my first look would be the Switzerland mobility site. I have found that they have superb, highly detailed maps in the hiking section.

If you know something about your capabilities as a distance cyclist in Canada, that can give you some guidance on how far you can go per hour.

Do a google search on "Switzerland electric bicycles" and follow a few of those links.

And, for the Aare route, for example,

www.veloland.ch/en/ser vices-e907.html

and select "Services" at the right and check out e-bikes.

Slowpoke

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2638 posts
expert
Feb 12, 2016 - 2:27 AM in reply to Patchouli

Hi Patchouli -

A couple more thoughts. I'd skip Schaffhausen.

Are you an experienced cyclist?

I've been assuming that you are...

Slowpoke

Patchouli
Patchouli
11 posts
new member
Feb 12, 2016 - 6:22 PM

Thanks! I'll do just that -- take the train from Schaffhausen to Koblenz. Probably better this way.

I think I'm experienced enough as a cyclist. I draw the line at mountain biking. My understanding is that the Aare Route is fairly flat and mostly paved, so I'm quite comfortable with that. It's also accessible so I can easily exit the trail and hop on a train if need be.

Slowpoke, I just want to thank you so, so, so much for all your help in finalizing my itinerary. As the saying goes, "spoiled for choice." I really couldn't have done any of this without the help of these forums. It's a lot faster to learn from others' personal experiences!

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2638 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2016 - 12:35 AM in reply to Patchouli

<<"Thanks! I'll do just that -- take the train from Schaffhausen to Koblenz. Probably better this way. Ithink I'm experienced enough as a cyclist. I draw the line at mountainbiking. My understanding is that the Aare Route is fairly flat andmostly paved, so I'm quite comfortable with that. It's also accessibleso I can easily exit the trail and hop on a train if need be.Slowpoke,I just want to thank you so, so, so much for all your help infinalizing my itinerary. As the saying goes, "spoiled for choice." Ireally couldn't have done any of this without the help of these forums.It's a lot faster to learn from others' personal experiences! ">>

You are more than welcome.

Use the timetable to confirm whether or not a particular train can carry bicycles.

It sounds like a great trip, and also sounds like you can estimate your capacity for distance and time.

The stretch between Biel and Bern has some modest altitude changes, as the altitude profile and maps can clarify. However, my experience with driving in that countryside says that your expectations are correct, even though I have not cycled the route.

Please post here after you have completed your trip. I'd like to learn how well it went, and if any suggestions need refinement. ;-)

Slowpoke

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