Part 2 of 2x2 - 2x2 in 2022 - CycleBlaze

Part 2 of 2x2

When in Appenzell....visit the shop and museum!
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Double rainbow after a wet day.
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Along the route.
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Cooling off in the Rhone River in Geneva. Great local swimming spot.
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National Day (1 Aug) celebration in Gruyeres.
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Trail from Interlaken to end of the road at the mountains.
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In Lausanne outside the Olympic HQ.
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The magnificent Lavaux wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Fun riding through the vineyards.
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ViaRhona route. We rode from Lyon to Geneva. It is popular and flat.
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Day off the bikes to hike the SeeAlpSee trail in Appenzell.
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Exactly 3 months on the road for Part 1. We got to see the finish line of the Tour de France in Foix. 

Part 2: Riding to Switzerland

Why Switzerland?  We are riding to visit friends who live in Appenzel. Plus, hoping for cooler riding temperatures! (Two weeks of >35C temperatures has us negating our carbon footprint of bicycling.) We are very good at last minute planning, meaning the day before we left Foix, we decided to take a train to near Arles, ride to Arles to see UNESCO World Heritage sites. The train was 3 legs: first leg no issues. Second leg Toulous to Narbonne was PACKED with people and bicycles. We had to stand and hold our bikes for 2 hours. Narbonne to Tarascon sur Rhone was also packed with people. The conductor only allowed 7 bikes to board (only 6 spots to hang bikes) and there were angry bicyclists waiting at subsequent stations because the conductor did not allow them to board. This was an unsettling experience.

In Arles, we recommend the Logis Le Rodin hotel (very bicycle friendly, aircon, pool, quiet neighborhood, restaurant on site). We rode from Arles to Avignon along EV17. Avignon also has UNESCO World Heritage sites. We did visit the Papal Palace and wandered the old city. Turns out July is NOT a good time to visit Avignon: world famous theater festival all month and HOT. It was expensive, but we did stay at a very nice BnB (Maison de Trois Papes).

We bought train tickets from Avignon to Lyon to save 4 days of riding (and again the heat). We got to the station early. By the time our train arrived, there were 17 bicyclists (nearly all with panniers) waiting to board. After the previous experience, we could only imagine how things might turn out. One woman tried to organize by last off-first in. Turns out, SNCF had prepared for this: it removed several cabins of seats and everyone helped load all the bikes onboard. We all got on. What a relief. 

In Lyon, we stayed at another wonderful bicycle friendly hotel, Le Phenix, right on the river and in a fun neighborhood near the UNESCO old city. Another city we want to return when it is off season. From Lyon, we rode out the ViaRhona and will continue on this bicycle route to Geneva, Switzerland. We stayed in bicycle friendly hotels in Hier du Val Amby (Logis hotel with a very gourmet/expensive restaurant, but no other places in the tiny village open on Sunday) and in Monistel (Hotel Sakura). Monistel was pretty much closed on a Monday, including restaurants normally open. At least the hotel restaurant will be open tonight. 

The best parts: seeing so many people bike touring/traveling! Today's ride was on excellent surface and lovely being close to the river.

Late July & August in Switzerland

Switzerland is a bicyclist's dream country in which to ride: bicycle trails and routes abound, connecting the entire country by 2 wheels. 


  • Drivers are respectful of bicyclists. Road surfaces are good, but do watch for alligator cracking, small potholes, often no shoulder and more often a separate bike lane!
  • Routes are very well marked/signed.
  • Most hotels have secure bike storage, whether a distinct bike room or a baggage storage room. Many are now equipped for charging e-bikes.
  • National and local bicycle routes keep you mostly off main roads and enable you to see more of Swiss countryside and cows, lots of cows.
  • There are crystalline lakes and rivers for jumping in and cooling off, a frequent habit of ours when temperatures hit high 20's C or higher. 
  • The "Coop" is most towns and offers superb quality produce, healthy prepared foods and natural/organic options. It has become our go-to place for ride food, picnics, local beers and even supplies (adapter for Swiss electricity outlets).
  • Simply stunning scenery everywhere.  Unique architecture, lots of green and important to touring, water spigots/fountains are found all over and are potable (unless indicated non-potable).
  • Super fun and hilly rides abound. You will get into hill climbing shape.
  • Certain trains let you bring assembled bicycles onboard. You  must have a day-pass for each bike (14 CHF) and book a "bike reservation" (2 CHF/bike) to use the faster Intercity trains. You get a train wagon number & bike rack number with the reservation. Train stations have lockers (cash or card) to stash the panniers while you tour the city.
  • Since most larger cities prioritize bicycle travel, there are bike racks everywhere and actually FULL of bikes! This means your bike is among hundreds and it is not likely to be taken. That said, all bikes had locks on them.

CONS (not many)

  • Switzerland has a very high cost of living and salary level. This is good. However, it means your budget will take a beating. Be prepared for much higher costs (than France) for hotels, camping, even prepared foods from grocery stores. In summer 2022, average cost per person for breakfast is 15-20 CHF; lunch 20-40 CHF; dinner 40-60 CHF (without adult beverages).
  • Summer travel is high season, not just costs. There are tourists everywhere. (On the positive side, we saw LOTS of bicycle travelers, which made us happy.) In popular places, like Interlaken, it means more cars on the roads. It also means you need to make dinner reservations, particularly on weekends.

HOTEL LIST (only those we recommend and that have secure bicycle storage)

NYON -  Hostellerie Du XVI Siecle

LUTRY - Hotel Rivage (very good breakfast 17CHF/person)

GRUYERES - Hotel St Georges (super breakfast 20CHF/person)

FRIBOURG - Maison D'Amman (breakfast must be pre-ordered, we didn't have it)

BERN - Prizeotel (aircon! secure bicycle parking for 100 bikes, very good b'fast included, great Wi-Fi, all modern conveniences, Coop superstore colocated, a 10 min walk to historic old town)

INTERLAKEN - Post Handermannli (excellent breakfast included, super hosts, great location, laundry on site)

SACHSELN - Hotel Kreusz by B-Smart (parked bikes in the room), breakfast included. Very good restaurant & service. 

MERLISCHACHEN (near Kussnacht) - Hotel Swiss Chalet (breakfast option 25CHF/person - we didn't do this)

Schmerikon - BnB Goldberg (110 CHF plus 10 each for breakfast). You are staying in a family member's bedroom, with her stuff all around. The bed is comfortable and you have your own WC/shower. It is super quiet, breakfast is very good, the proprietor is kind and helpful. Bikes go in [an open but not visible to the public] garage.

Liechtenstein - We stayed across the river in little Sevelin at BSmart (85 CHF). It was cheaper than Vaduz. There is not much in Sevelin, but we liked that! 

Vaduz, Lichtenstein - Hotel Schloss (120 CHF). This hotel allowed us to check-in early to leave our bikes. The room was available and we could actually leave our gear in the room! Bikes were stored on the terrace for the room. Excellent breakfast, very quiet location.

Lindau, Germany - The Medusa Hotel (180 CHF). Great location. Bikes go in a separate, locked room around the corner from the hotel entrance. 

Arbon, Switzerland - Hotel Brauerei Frohsinn (200 CHF). Just outside of the old town. Very good restaurant and beers brewed onsite. Super service. Separate, locked bike storage. No a/c.

Zurich - Hotel Altstadt in old town (200 CHF including extra for breakfast). Great location and service. Bike storage was in the bar/kitchen storage area. Our room has no a/c.

Part 3: Return to Foix France

We planned to return to Foix by 30 August. This meant getting a train from Geneva to Orange. Orange is on the ViaRhona route. It has a UNESCO World Heritage site, a Roman Amphitheatre, which we highly recommend visiting. Your 10 Euro entry includes an audio guide (excellent) and entry to the history museum across the street. The city has an ancient Arc de Triumph and "La Colline" a nice park on the hill above the amphitheatre. We stayed in Hotel St Jean, which has aircon, a necessity when temperatures were 34C. The wifi was not good in room 11 (2nd floor, last room, thick walls). Breakfast was an additional 10 Euro and was typical French: bread, croissant, homemade jams, butter, cheese & meat, homemade yogurt, sugary cereals and lots of coffee/tea. The owners are extremely kind and helpful (the wifi) and bike parking is in a storage room. 

The next day, we rode a very short distance to Chateauneuf du Pape. We stayed in L'Amarylis chambre d'hote (108 Euro plus 7 Euro each for continental breakfast), where Chantelle welcomed us with cold water on yet another 34C temperature day. The room was spacious and well appointed and has aircon. The wines (both Chateauneuf du Pape and Cote Du Rhone appellations) are superb. 

Cyclists beware of "puncture vine" (aka goatheads) along the route through vineyards. If you aren't familiar with this noxious weed, look it up. We encountered more of it along the bike trails the next morning when we rode to Avignon. The TER trains to Foix were all PACKED with people and bikes. Bicyclists help one another and we all made super tight connections and assisted with panniers and loading bikes on racks. 

Now, back in Foix for September to enjoy "unloaded" riding (no panniers). Riding in the Arriege region is fabulous.

Today's ride: 1,800 km (1,118 miles)
Total: 1,800 km (1,118 miles)

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