Diversity of the Mittelland - Swiss roots but no Large Hadron Collider - CycleBlaze

August 22, 2019

Diversity of the Mittelland

Changing views from Aarau to Solothurn

Crossing the Aare west of Aarau
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There comes a day on a tour when you say, "to hell with the alarm.” That happened to be today for me. I am touring solo now and had all day to cycle the 38-miles from Aarau to Solothurn. Unfortunately, my biological clock woke me at 6:30 am. Pre-retirement, I fantasized that my retirement days would see me sliding out of bed at 8:00 am. 40+ years of being the early bird at work just does not go away. 

Typical open country on this section of the Mittelland
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I lazily played on the phone, go dressed, packed, ate breakfast, and was still on the road at 8:30am. The morning was overcast, cool, and quiet in Aarau. I pedaled down through the old town to the Aare and pointed the bike west towards Solothurn. The first miles and many other miles today were along the river through woodlands. 

Olten Switzerland
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I cycled into Olten about 10-miles into the ride. It was early. I would normally have a coffee and cake. I opted not to since the hotel breakfast filled me up. Olten was the location of the first of several wooden covered bridges I cycled past and through today. I pedaled a bit around the old town and across the river. Most stores were not yet open. The coffee shops and bakeries were, and they were calling my name. I pedaled on. 

A scenic river crossing with a schloss
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I very much enjoyed the scenery after Olten. I crossed through a thick forest preserve, on quiet country lanes lined with Swiss dairy farms, and through small villages with the river on my side. It was very serene. I hardly encountered another touring cyclist. That is so different than the tour around Lake Constance with a parade of cyclotourists. 

Aare River at Wangen
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Entering Wangan, I spotted another covered bridge across the Aare to yet another quaint old village. I opted to continue on my way and not venture across the river. These towns are starting to all look the same. The roads and paths after Wangan were very rural and scenic. The farms were especially nice. I was on a detoured route due to construction. It took me into Solothurn almost entirely along the river. 

Beautiful countryside west of Wangan
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I am using the Swiss Mobility’s mobile app on this part of my tour. I am becoming very adept at using it. I actually did not stray off course during the whole ride.  You chose the route and segment you are cycling in the app. It then shows your position on the course. It is especially handy when you come to a questionable turn. My only drawback is that I check it often to make sure I am on course. That slows me down, but I am not time bound on this tour. 

Swiss bicycle route signage
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I am pretty impressed by the signage on this Swiss national route, the Mittelland route. It is easily recognizable. It points the direction at almost all turns. There may be a few when a small dark red sign with a bicycle icon points the direction. These smaller signs are common in cities and on long stretches. The signage and app make it easy to not get lost. If you veer off course, the app can help get you back on track. 

Solothurn Switzerland
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I am in Solothurn for the night. This is probably the most attractive city I have visited this tour. I spent the afternoon exploring the city. There are tourists but the numbers are lower than Lake Constance and Zurich. Prices are better. Dining out is expensive in Switzerland. Solothurnd restaurants are below the Swiss norm.   

Solothurn old town across the Aare
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Tomorrow I head west for a roundtrip to my mother’s birthplace, Pieterlen. It will be a short ride. I have no local connections. It is a village I have heard about from relatives and seen in much of my genealogy research. The weather forecast is super perfect tomorrow. I am excited to finish my Swiss cycling with this day trip. 

H4 Hotel, my hotel for the night in Solothurn
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Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 333 miles (536 km)

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