On the road by bike in Veloland

Europe provides the pavement for the world’s most famous bike races. Here, professionals battle it out in legendary races over the steepest Alpine passes, rattle over cobblestones and race down famous valleys. But the roads have long since ceased to belong to the pros alone. In addition to road cyclists, who always reel off day trips with the lightest of luggage, there is also a lively bikepacking scene as well as ambitious mountain bikers who avoid the asphalt and seek out the bumpy routes through forests and over mountain flanks.

Mit dem Rennrad über den Asphalt. Sportstudent Julius Berg unterwegs mit dem Bike Guide Roland Holzer aus Albinen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Over the asphalt on a road bike. Sports student Julius Berg on the road with bike guide Roland Holzer from Albinen / © Photo: Moritz Berg

In Velo Veritas – a terrain for every creed

By bike, the Swiss means the road bike. The asphalt roads go up to 2,600 meters in the Valais. These are perfect conditions for road cyclists. In addition, Swiss drivers have a reputation for being courteous. They give cyclists plenty of room on the well-maintained roads, which rarely have a pothole.

Rund um den Luganer See im Tessin, macht die Fahrt durch kleine Dörfer und Gassen viel SpaßANASA / © Foto: Georg Berg
Around Lake Lugano in Ticino, the ride through small villages and alleys is a lot of fun / © Photo: Moritz Berg
Im Tessin fahren Rennradfahrer gerne die Strecken entlang der Seeufer und durch malerische Orte wie Morcote am Lago Lugano / © Foto: Georg Berg
In Ticino, road cyclists enjoy riding the routes along the lake shores and through picturesque towns like Morcote on Lago Lugano / © Photo: Georg Berg
Im Rhonetal können Rennradfahrer flache Etappen durch die Ebene mit steilen Pässen hinaus bis auf 2.600 Meter kombinieren / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the Rhone Valley, road cyclists can combine flat stages through the plain with steep passes out to 2,600 meters / © Photo: Georg Berg

Mountain bikers are met on signposted routes along the mountain flanks. They often share trails with hikers. Wherever possible, hikers and mountain bikers are separated. In many cantons in Switzerland there are already specialized mountain bike parks. Everywhere else, the coexistence rule applies. Bikers should reduce their speed when hikers are in sight and also give them the right of way.

Ein Rebwanderweg mit Gegenverkehr. Der Ehrenkodex, der auch beinhaltet, nur auf ausgewiesenen Velo-Wegen zu fahren, wird nicht immer befolgt / © Foto: Georg Berg
A vineyard trail with two-way traffic. The code of honor, which includes riding only on designated bike paths, is not always followed / © Photo: Georg Berg

Biker etiquette also includes paying attention to the preservation of hiking trails and refraining from braking maneuvers that cause the rear wheel to lock. This is because the skid marks are particularly damaging to the natural and gravel paths. Furthermore one wishes from the Bikern to drive only on signposted ways and not over meadows or open area. As part of a code of honor, bikers should also show consideration for animals and close pasture gates. This wish list for peaceful coexistence on the mountain does not always come true. A tour of mountain biking trails in the Valais was no longer possible during our stay. The first snowfall at the end of September allowed our team only tours by road bike.

Tips from the bike coach

Bike guide Roland Holzer is a bike all-rounder. The bike expert from picturesque Albinen is more than just a companion in unknown terrain. Roland Holzer runs Rolis Mobile Bikestation in Albinen. He rents racing bikes, bikes and e-bikes, offers bike transport for individual tour planning. From repairs to tour accompaniment, everything revolves around the bike. Roland Holzer also gives tips on all aspects of cycling technique. Especially for beginners in the mountains, it is exciting to get a lot of interesting information about road biking on the way.

Der perfekten Radeinstellung auf der Spur. Roland Holzer und Julius Berg stellen die Räder ein, bevor es auf die Tagesetappe von Turtmann nach Albinen geht / © Foto: Georg Berg
On the trail of the perfect bike setting. Roland Holzer and Julius Berg adjust the bikes before setting off on the day’s stage from Turtmann to Albinen / © Photo: Moritz Berg

Tips for the perfect wheel setting and in what ratio the saddle should be to the handlebars are given by the bike guide before the start of the day’s stage. The tour starts quite tranquilly in the Rhone Valley near Turtmann. The first serious climbs are not yet in sight, the bike path is wide and so there is a practical lesson on riding with clipless pedals. A real guide wouldn’t be a guide if he didn’t also tell the tour participants something about the landscape they are cycling past. So the tour also leads through Leuk. From a distance, you can also see the old bishop’s castle from 1254, for whose extensive restoration the world-famous Ticino star architect Mario Botta was commissioned. Behind Leuk begins the Pfynwald conservation area, a regional nature park, with one of the largest contiguous pine forests in the Alps and an important floodplain conservation area.

„Solange man noch Reden kann, strengst du dich nicht genug an“. Reden in einer Pause am Berg bei grandioser Aussicht ist eine schöne Alternative / © Foto: Georg Berg
“As long as you can still talk, you’re not trying hard enough”. Talking in a break on the mountain with a magnificent view is a nice alternative / © Photo: Moritz Berg

Before the climb via Varen up to Albinen, Roland Holzer provides his tour participants, who are otherwise mostly on the flat Rhineland, with a few rules of conduct on the mountain. When you get out of the saddle on the mountain, you should shift up two gears right away, advises Roland Holzer, because otherwise you step into a kind of trough and waste energy. On longer stages, Holzer is not concerned with speed; rather, he says, it is important to change the type of exertion from time to time. In any case, Roland’s cycling rule remains in the touring memory: “As long as you can still talk, you’re not exerting yourself enough,” but the words “I don’t want any more” don’t count for him!

Radfahrer nach einer Bergetappe: Die Beine sind schwer und der Kopf voller Tipps vom Bike Coach / © Foto: Georg Berg
Cyclist after a mountain stage: the legs are heavy and the head full of tips from the bike coach / © Photo: Moritz Berg

Fantastic infrastructure for racing cyclists and bikers

Mountain biking has been in great demand in recent years. Certified bike guides work in the respective regions. Their addresses can be obtained from the local tourist office. In addition, there are maps of designated tours for racing bikes and many tips on loops and trails for mountain bikers. In Ticino and Valais, the conditions for touring are really good.

Die Infrastruktur für Radfahrer ist im Wallis hervorragend. In Albinen betreibt Roland Holzer seinen Biker-Service / © Foto: Georg Berg
The infrastructure for cyclists is excellent in Valais. In Albinen, Roland Holzer runs his biker service / © Photo: Georg Berg

Tourism offices provide overviews of certified biker hotels and biker-friendly accommodations. Amenities range from separate and lockable bike rooms as well as tools for maintenance, to e-bike charging stations, to laundry service for bikers and special menus for the energy-hungry and exhausted guests. In some places, on the day of departure, after check-out and the last little tour, guests are given the opportunity to take a shower.

The Walliser Stube Godswärgisstubu in Albinen

If your own tour takes you to the picturesque village of Albinen, we recommend a stop at the Walliser Stube Godswärgisstubu. There is a midday meal and a multi-course evening menu. Roger Haudenschild is at the stove. In addition to the homemade original spelt bread, you can eat in the Godwärgisstubu above all very regional and very seasonal, because many ingredients come from the gardens in the village or from the meadows. In the rustic dining room full of mementos from the old days, not only exhausted cyclists will feel at home. Reservations are recommended, because the food is only cooked here when guests have announced themselves.

Roger Haudenschild ist Förster und Koch. Die Verbundenheit zur Natur spiegelt sich auch in seinen Gerichten wieder. Im Godswärgisstubu werden viele Kräuter, Obst und Gemüse wenn immer möglich aus dem eigenen Dorf eingesetzt / © Foto: Georg Berg
Roger Haudenschild is a forester and cook. His closeness to nature is also reflected in his dishes. In the Godswärgisstubu, many herbs, fruits and vegetables are used from the own village whenever possible / © Photo: Georg Berg
Das Godswärgistubu in Albinen ist eine sehr schöne historische Walliserstube und bietet saisonale Gerichte aus dem eigenen Garten oder dem, was in der Region auf Feld, Wald und Wiese wächst / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Godswärgistubu in Albinen is a very beautiful historic Valais restaurant and offers seasonal dishes from its own garden or from what grows in the fields, forests and meadows in the region / © Photo: Georg Berg

Further information

Our mode of operation is characterized by self-experienced, well-researched text work and professional, vivid photography. For all stories, travel impressions and photos are created in the same place. Thus, the photos complement and support what is read and carry it further.

Never miss new Tellerrand-Stories again! Mithilfe eines Feed-Readers lassen sich die Information über neue Blogartikel in Echtzeit abonnieren With the help of a feed reader, all stories about the Tellerrand (edge of the plate) can be subscribed to in real time.

The research trip was partly supported on site by Switzerland Tourism

Permalink of the original version in German: https://tellerrandstories.de/unterwegs-im-veloland-schweiz