My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland [journal added]

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My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland [journal added]

Post by Raybo » Tue May 14, 2019 11:51 pm

[Thread updated, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

I’m sitting at an outdoor table in Corniglia, the middle of the 5 Cinque Terre villages, sipping a thick hot chocolate and taking my first day off off the bike. It is a cool, clear day with blue sky and sea views all around. My plan for the day is to walk 2 villages north to Monterosso and then take a train back to Chiavari, my night’s stop.

The bike ride started last Friday, May 10, from Florence, Italy. I’m headed to Bern, Switzerland through the French Alps.

I rode separated bike paths all the way out of Florence and along the brown, churning Arno toward the Tuscan hills to the northwest. The day was heavily overcast and the views across the valley whose edge I was skirting were obscured. I passed Etruscan sites dug into the hills and eventually up the hills in the first sustained climb of the trip. I was passed by many bike riders (I never pass anyone), two of whom were sandwiched between two cars and driving a very hard pace. A bit further up the hill I would learn the reason: the Giro d’Italia would come by this way on Sunday (it would start on Saturday). About halfway up I started seeing the pink bows and banners welcoming the riders. Like last year, I’ll be dodging the Giro as I make my way north.

I discovered on the climb that I can’t ride a bike and talk Italian at the same time when a friendly guy started talking to me as he rode past. In English, he told me he was going to ride in Israel soon.

My stop for the night was Porciano, a tiny hamlet of 200 people a bit past the top of the climb. I remember thinking how nice it is to end a ride coasting downhill. I was staying above the only store in the area and Monica was the consummate hostess, in both English and Italian.

My plans for the next day we’re upended when Lawrence, my couchsurfing host south of Lucca, had to cancel my stay due to his ex-wife’s unannounced visit. Since I wasn’t too tired, I decided to extend my day by riding another 25 miles all the way to the coast at Viareggio.

The next day was also overcast and rain had been predicted. The 5 miles of downhill from Porciano allowed my spirit to coast along with my bike as the abundant red poppies winked at me as I went by. Once in the flats, I was engulfed in traffic as I mazed my way through towns. An intervening wetland provided a nice respite from both the traffic and housing.

As I approached Lucca on a very busy road, I saw a sign for the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route from England to Turkey. I met 2 bikers who said it went to Lucca and was well marked. They were half right as I quickly lost the trail but did make it to Lucca. I rode the length of Lucca, an attractive, walled town with an old historic center full of narrow streets and high end shops. After a quick gelato, I rode out of town.

The 20 extra miles to the coast involved getting around Lago di Massacuiccoli and it’s broad wetlands. Along the way, I passed an excavated Roman villa and was told some of the area’s history. As I neared Viareggio, the traffic became heavy and the road narrow. I pulled off the road often to let car clumps pass.

Once in town, the traffic and the road were worse. Then, it started to rain. I navigated away from the main road and found my place for the night. I went for pizza and found, what must be, the worst pizzeria in Italy. The crust was soggy and the toppings tasteless. Not something one expects in Italy!

Viareggio is the southern part of a 15 mile long beach with a bike route along its entire length. Oddly, there is almost no view of the beach as there are motels, restaurants and clubs lining the shore. It was a breezy, partly cloudy/sunny day and people were out. I saw as many bikers, often in long pelatons, as cars.

Once I left the beach, I headed directly into a loud, stiff wind. I was flagged down by Luca, a local biker who likes to bike on mountain bike paths. We talked biking, where we lived, and the local area for about 30 minutes. Our conversation was limited as it took place entirely in Italian. It was a nice human connection.

I had searched for something interesting to eat and discovered an Indian place not far away. Lunch was well spiced and tasty, putting the soggy pizza out of my mind. My place that night was in St. Stefano di Magra, just across from a mall (centro commmerciale) whose huge supermarket and several store were open on Sunday. I walked over and there was a band fronted by an active accordionist playing to a couple hundred people.

Yesterday was my first day of real climbing as I headed over the coastal hills separating northern Tuscany from southern Liguria. The road was deserted as the parallel autostrada took all the traffic. The first top came quickly. On the way down, I met Rick and Rob, two North Carolinians out touring. It was Rob’s first ride and he wasn’t all that impressed. Rick was an old hand and since his last name is Steeves (not the travel guy with only one s in his name), I now get to say I met Rick Steeves! We talked for about 45 minutes. Another fond roadside memory.

As Rick and Rob said, the climb up the Passo de Bracco was 6 miles of grinding up. There was virtually no traffic and it was a like a dream to make my way up all by myself. Vistas were green hills undulating up the hazy, distant mountains impossible to photograph.

Once past the top, the views changed to the sea. Unfortunately, the roadside foliage was such that clear views weren’t possible. It was pretty from the seat of my bike but photos won’t show this.

The coast down was lovely as the distant towns slowly came closer. The ride along the coast was during rush hour and a bit hairy. But I eventually found my room in Chiavari and discovered another Indian place just down the way, my second Indian meal in 3 days. So far on this bike ride, I’ve had more Indian food than Italian!

Today, I’m spending a needed day off the bike. Since Chiavari is just north of the Cinque Terre world heritage area, I have taken an early train down the Corniglia to spend the day walking along the coast. Now that I’ve finished this message, I’ll pay for the long gone hit chocolate and be on my way.
Last edited by Raybo on Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Thesaints » Tue May 14, 2019 11:55 pm

Are you going to cross the Alps on your bike ? Which pass are you planning to use ?

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Raybo » Wed May 15, 2019 12:29 am

Thesaints wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:55 pm
Are you going to cross the Alps on your bike ? Which pass are you planning to use ?
That is my current plan. I’ll know more in 10 days. The hard work will start Monday if all goes well.

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by desiderium » Wed May 15, 2019 7:00 am

Looking forward as always to updates
Along the way please comment on which bicycle you are riding and any gear you find is necessary for this trip

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by MastersChampion » Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 am

Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:29 am

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names.
Bourg d'Oisans! Are you going to try Alpe d'Huez?
Thanks for the trip report so far.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Raybo » Wed May 15, 2019 9:24 am

desiderium wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:00 am
Looking forward as always to updates
Along the way please comment on which bicycle you are riding and any gear you find is necessary for this trip
I’m riding the Bike Friday folder again (World Tourist), the Bike I ride in Europe.

I don’t camp so I have no camping gear. Mostly, I have biking clothes (3 shorts, 2 jerseys), repair stuff, and some off bike clothes. Much of the kit is wool to reduce odor problems.

I navigate by phone and see Pocket Earth as a necessity, which allows me to upload routes and follow them.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Raybo » Wed May 15, 2019 9:27 am

MastersChampion wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 am
Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:29 am

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names.
Bourg d'Oisans! Are you going to try Alpe d'Huez?
Thanks for the trip report so far.
Unlikely I’ll challenge Alpe d’Huez and certainly not on my loaded touring bike! It is off my route. If everything lines up, maybe I ride over and chover ca it out. No plans to do the ascent, though.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by jhfenton » Wed May 15, 2019 9:36 am

Grazie mille! Non vedo l'ora di leggere il tuo racconto! (Sto imparando l'italiano adesso.)

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Hockey10 » Wed May 15, 2019 3:19 pm

Raybo - have a safe trip. I always enjoy viewing your photos once you finish.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by imbogled » Wed May 15, 2019 6:50 pm

Le cose belle arrivano quando non le cerchi. Buon viaggio !
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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by SkierMom » Thu May 16, 2019 2:00 pm

Raybo!

I love your travel posts - Do you have a blog?

The Frugal Bike Traveler........

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Raybo » Thu May 16, 2019 2:12 pm

SkierMom wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 2:00 pm
Raybo!

I love your travel posts - Do you have a blog?

The Frugal Bike Traveler........
Thank you! My website is www.biketouringtips.com .
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu May 16, 2019 8:04 pm

Thanks for the update! Too bad about the pizza.
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3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Raybo » Thu May 23, 2019 2:19 pm

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

It is a beautiful sunny day in Bourg d’Oisans, a tourist town in a valley surrounded by snow-covered peaks. Think Lake Tahoe without the lake and only 3,500 people. It is a famous stop on the Tour de France as it is just below the Alpe d’Heuz and the road to the Galibier pass and other high peaks.

I am resting after 3 hard days of climbing over 3 alpine passes. I started in Pinerolo in Italy on a rainy day that started clear enough to see the peaks that surround Pinerolo. By the time I left, the clouds had again obscured the view and it was raining.

I started climbing as soon as I left Pinerolo. I rode up into forests and along the Chisone River, whose valley I would follow. When the clouds would clear a bit, I could see snow topped peaks. It slowly cleared, though the wind remained steady, and I was now seeing mountains behind mountains behind the rushing river. It was impressive. I rode uphill for 4+ hours, taking mountain photo after river picture (while resting). It was hard. I stopped often, sometimes no more than a few hundred feet further up the hill. But, I kept turning the pedals and by about 3pm I made it to Pragaleto, my stop for the night,

Pragaleto is a ski resort whose season had passed. The town was deserted. I was the only one staying at a campground with chalets, bungalows, and lots of amenities, all closed for the season. The woman who checked me in said everyone there goes on vacation after April. There was a small store open where I bought pasta for dinner and the next day’s biking food.

The next morning was sunny but very cold with frost on the roofs of the surrounding chalets. I waited to hit the store for some fresh bread and a bit later to take down a €1 cup of coffee. My goal this day was Briançon, 2 passes and 28 miles away.

The first pass, Sestriere, was 6 miles of steady uphill consistent enough to find an easy rhythm. I was now “in the mountains” and The cloudless sky was pierced with numerous high peaks fronted by large tree covered hills. I remained along the Chisone, adding both sound and fury to the tableaux. All around, ahead and behind were snowy peaks. Several were connected in long chains of jagged tops below a fiercely blue sky. The effect was breathtaking. Which is good because I was definitely breathing hard.

I was in the deserted ski resort of Sestriere around 11:15. After refueling a bit, I headed down into another valley rimmed with white peaks. The 7 mile descent not only went by fast but dropped me 500 vertical feet below my starting elevation. The bottom was Cesana Torinese where I headed up after crossing the Torrente Ripa.

It was now the middle of the day and hot in the full sun. I got into my lowest gear and began grinding up toward the Montgènevre Pass 6 miles further and 1500 feet higher than Cesana. It was a hard climb up switchbacks to set of tunnels. Luckily, the new tunnel was for cars but the old tunnels were for bikes. I rode in several naturally lit galleries (tunnels with open sides) all alone. It is a bit eerie to be in the semi-darkness of a tunnel with stunning views of rocks and trees in the mountain quiet.

I rejoined the main road at the top of this incline and a worker told the top wasn’t far and it was mostly flat to there. For once, this information turned out to be true and I cruised into the deserted ski resort of Montgènevre around 2 pm. It was now all downhill to Briançon, my stop for the night.

The downhill was not only very welcome but it featured clusters of peaks dappled with both snow and sun. The road was, again, deserted and I coasted down at my leisure, stopping when the urge struck without concern for traffic. After a good long descent, I switchbacked down the side of a cliff overlooking the valley of the Durance River and got my first look at Briançon, the highest city in France. It’s nestled below towering white peaks next to the river. Zigzagging down toward it was a very rewarding sight. In some of the switchbacks, I had to brake hard to stay behind the cars in front of me!

My place for the night was with Steve, his partner Julia and Jonah, their just talking 2 year old. They live at the very top of the old walled town in the historic barracks of the fort. Steve, Julia and 11 other family got together, bought the old derelict building, and in the intervening 5 years cleaned it and built flats in it. Their view of the mountains is unparalleled. Truly magnificent.

Both Steve and Julie are nurses. He works in a psychiatric ward and she is a visiting nurse. They live almost communal lives with their neighbors. Before we ate, 2 other youngsters and one mom had dinner in their flat. After they were done, Steve spooned up a fabulous vegetable stew with a sort of Thai curry sauce that was very good. After eating Steve and I went over my next day’s route and we mapped some changes that he recommended. While these looked good, they also added another 1000 feet of climbing.

Steve left at 6:30 the next morning and I got up say an revoir and merci. Julie got up when Jonah stirred and we ate breakfast together. I knew I had a long hard day ahead of me so I was up and out before 9am. I found the store Julia suggested, loaded up on food (and my first pan au chocolat), and started up the grade to the Col de Lautaret 18 miles and 2400 elevated feet away.

My route followed the main road which was busy for the first few miles. I had mapped several diversions away from the main road but they all seemed to require even more climbing. After having to dig hard to rejoin the main route after one, I decided simply to follow the main road. Once the traffic thinned, it was as if I was on a bike path. Vehicles, including bike riders, passed about every 3 to 4 minutes.

I was following the Guisane River, which would go all the way up to the pass. There were astounding snow-covered peaks to my left and dry, almost desert-like, mountains to my right. In between was the river and trees. At times, I was riding in a wide valley that reminded me of Canada’s stunning Icefield Parkway and Montana’s Glacier National Park. I have no words left to describe just how beautiful this was.

It is possible that my emotions were impacted by the effort required to do this climb. Every kilometer was a sign announcing how many more kilometers there were to the top (they started at 32), the elevation at the top and at the current spot, and the percentage of gain in the next kilometer. Psychologically, these signs helped take my mind off the distance. I was stopping frequently to just stand there and soak it all in, rest, and take photos. I’m sure I took the same photo over and over, but I didn’t care.

I had figured that I would get to the pass about 1pm. In actually, it was about 1:20 or 4 hours of climbing. There is a couple cafes at the top and I stopped to rest, revel in my accomplishment, eat, and put in more clothes for the coast down. It would be downhill the rest of the way to Bourg d’Oisans, my stop for the night.

I was again on my own on the steep switchbacks going down the other side where the Romanche River begins gather momentum for its run down the mountains. I was exhilarated making my way down, wowing out loud at each new vista that I saw. Not far from the top, I was passed a group of uniformed professional riders out training with a climb up to Montgènevre. One or two answered my wave.

One problem with the descent was tunnels. Near the town of La Greve I hit my first one. It was 600 meters of sheer terror. It was narrow (barely room for two cars), dank, and dark. Going through it was otherworldly. In the moment, it was like I was in the passageway between life and death. I heaved a sigh of relief that I went through it without another vehicle present. There were other tunnels near La Greve that, while always scary, were not quite as bad as that first one. There were no cars in my direction in any of them, thankfully.

A bit after La Greve, I entered a long narrow valley, a gorge, really, of the Romanche River. The road was just above the water and the white water sang to me the entire time. Equally amazing was all the waterfalls on both sides of the cliff faces. I stopped counting, though not taking pictures, after 12. It was an amazing coda to the climbing, the mountains, and the tunnels.

The Romanche flows into a reservoir that has a 900 meter tunnel above it. I was concerned about this long bit of dark narrowness. But, again, there were no cars and it was slightly downhill and it was over in a couple minutes. Just after I stopped at the exit, a huge truck and several cars wooshed past. My luck was holding.

Steve’s main route variant was just after the barrage (dam). It required me to climb up the side of the cliff and ride along the top. When I got to the turn-off, I realized that I didn’t have another 1000 feet of climbing in me and continued on the main road.

This road was cut out of the cliff with a series of cement blocks the only thing between anyone on the road and sure death in the water hundreds of feet below. When trucks came by (now with increasing frequency), I pulled off the road. At one point huge gusts of wind blew up the canyon and panic stopped hoping not to get blown off the road.

There were more scary tunnels to survive. In the last one a car came up behind me just as I was exiting and I thought I was a goner. But, nothing happened and I continued on my way.

At the bottom of the gorge, I was on a long, straight road (dead into a headwind) that went directly to Bourg d’Oisans. The fabulous peak visuals continued and I took more photos.

My hosts for the night were Fred and Vèro and their engaging 2 year old daughter Charlene who live above the little town. They moved there a month ago when Fred scored a job with the local economic association. Vèro is a nurse who is just starting to look for work. They took 9 months off to ride around Southeast Asia and New Zealand and are restarting their lives back in France. I was entranced by her as she spoke her high-pitched French while
pointing to pictures in her book. I smiled and kept answering “tres bien” and Merci, along with other appropriate sounds in both English and Italian.

After dinner (a homemade spinach quiche) we talked about bike touring in SE Asia (where hotels rent by the hour) and their experiences. I went to bed after Vèro retuned from putting Charlene to sleep.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by DanMahowny » Thu May 23, 2019 6:28 pm

I enjoyed reading that. Thanks for posting man.
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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by yukonjack » Thu May 23, 2019 7:15 pm

Thanks for posting Raybo. I always enjoy reading about your travels and I do recognize several Tour de France cities.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Matigas » Thu May 23, 2019 7:39 pm

Raybo wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:19 pm
It is a beautiful sunny day in Bourg d’Oisans, a tourist town in a valley surrounded by snow-covered peaks. Think Lake Tahoe without the lake and only 3,500 people. It is a famous stop on the Tour de France as it is just below the Alpe d’Heuz and the road to the Galibier pass and other high peaks.

I am resting after 3 hard days of climbing over 3 alpine passes. I started in Pinerolo in Italy on a rainy day that started clear enough to see the peaks that surround Pinerolo. By the time I left, the clouds had again obscured the view and it was raining.

I started climbing as soon as I left Pinerolo. I rode up into forests and along the Chisone River, whose valley I would follow. When the clouds would clear a bit, I could see snow topped peaks. It slowly cleared, though the wind remained steady, and I was now seeing mountains behind mountains behind the rushing river. It was impressive. I rode uphill for 4+ hours, taking mountain photo after river picture (while resting). It was hard. I stopped often, sometimes no more than a few hundred feet further up the hill. But, I kept turning the pedals and by about 3pm I made it to Pragaleto, my stop for the night,

Pragaleto is a ski resort whose season had passed. The town was deserted. I was the only one staying at a campground with chalets, bungalows, and lots of amenities, all closed for the season. The woman who checked me in said everyone there goes on vacation after April. There was a small store open where I bought pasta for dinner and the next day’s biking food.

The next morning was sunny but very cold with frost on the roofs of the surrounding chalets. I waited to hit the store for some fresh bread and a bit later to take down a €1 cup of coffee. My goal this day was Briançon, 2 passes and 28 miles away.

The first pass, Sestriere, was 6 miles of steady uphill consistent enough to find an easy rhythm. I was now “in the mountains” and The cloudless sky was pierced with numerous high peaks fronted by large tree covered hills. I remained along the Chisone, adding both sound and fury to the tableaux. All around, ahead and behind were snowy peaks. Several were connected in long chains of jagged tops below a fiercely blue sky. The effect was breathtaking. Which is good because I was definitely breathing hard.

I was in the deserted ski resort of Sestriere around 11:15. After refueling a bit, I headed down into another valley rimmed with white peaks. The 7 mile descent not only went by fast but dropped me 500 vertical feet below my starting elevation. The bottom was Cesana Torinese where I headed up after crossing the Torrente Ripa.

It was now the middle of the day and hot in the full sun. I got into my lowest gear and began grinding up toward the Montgènevre Pass 6 miles further and 1500 feet higher than Cesana. It was a hard climb up switchbacks to set of tunnels. Luckily, the new tunnel was for cars but the old tunnels were for bikes. I rode in several naturally lit galleries (tunnels with open sides) all alone. It is a bit eerie to be in the semi-darkness of a tunnel with stunning views of rocks and trees in the mountain quiet.

I rejoined the main road at the top of this incline and a worker told the top wasn’t far and it was mostly flat to there. For once, this information turned out to be true and I cruised into the deserted ski resort of Montgènevre around 2 pm. It was now all downhill to Briançon, my stop for the night.

The downhill was not only very welcome but it featured clusters of peaks dappled with both snow and sun. The road was, again, deserted and I coasted down at my leisure, stopping when the urge struck without concern for traffic. After a good long descent, I switchbacked down the side of a cliff overlooking the valley of the Durance River and got my first look at Briançon, the highest city in France. It’s nestled below towering white peaks next to the river. Zigzagging down toward it was a very rewarding sight. In some of the switchbacks, I had to brake hard to stay behind the cars in front of me!

My place for the night was with Steve, his partner Julia and Jonah, their just talking 2 year old. They live at the very top of the old walled town in the historic barracks of the fort. Steve, Julia and 11 other family got together, bought the old derelict building, and in the intervening 5 years cleaned it and built flats in it. Their view of the mountains is unparalleled. Truly magnificent.

Both Steve and Julie are nurses. He works in a psychiatric ward and she is a visiting nurse. They live almost communal lives with their neighbors. Before we ate, 2 other youngsters and one mom had dinner in their flat. After they were done, Steve spooned up a fabulous vegetable stew with a sort of Thai curry sauce that was very good. After eating Steve and I went over my next day’s route and we mapped some changes that he recommended. While these looked good, they also added another 1000 feet of climbing.

Steve left at 6:30 the next morning and I got up say an revoir and merci. Julie got up when Jonah stirred and we ate breakfast together. I knew I had a long hard day ahead of me so I was up and out before 9am. I found the store Julia suggested, loaded up on food (and my first pan au chocolat), and started up the grade to the Col de Lautaret 18 miles and 2400 elevated feet away.

My route followed the main road which was busy for the first few miles. I had mapped several diversions away from the main road but they all seemed to require even more climbing. After having to dig hard to rejoin the main route after one, I decided simply to follow the main road. Once the traffic thinned, it was as if I was on a bike path. Vehicles, including bike riders, passed about every 3 to 4 minutes.

I was following the Guisane River, which would go all the way up to the pass. There were astounding snow-covered peaks to my left and dry, almost desert-like, mountains to my right. In between was the river and trees. At times, I was riding in a wide valley that reminded me of Canada’s stunning Icefield Parkway and Montana’s Glacier National Park. I have no words left to describe just how beautiful this was.

It is possible that my emotions were impacted by the effort required to do this climb. Every kilometer was a sign announcing how many more kilometers there were to the top (they started at 32), the elevation at the top and at the current spot, and the percentage of gain in the next kilometer. Psychologically, these signs helped take my mind off the distance. I was stopping frequently to just stand there and soak it all in, rest, and take photos. I’m sure I took the same photo over and over, but I didn’t care.

I had figured that I would get to the pass about 1pm. In actually, it was about 1:20 or 4 hours of climbing. There is a couple cafes at the top and I stopped to rest, revel in my accomplishment, eat, and put in more clothes for the coast down. It would be downhill the rest of the way to Bourg d’Oisans, my stop for the night.

I was again on my own on the steep switchbacks going down the other side where the Romanche River begins gather momentum for its run down the mountains. I was exhilarated making my way down, wowing out loud at each new vista that I saw. Not far from the top, I was passed a group of uniformed professional riders out training with a climb up to Montgènevre. One or two answered my wave.

One problem with the descent was tunnels. Near the town of La Greve I hit my first one. It was 600 meters of sheer terror. It was narrow (barely room for two cars), dank, and dark. Going through it was otherworldly. In the moment, it was like I was in the passageway between life and death. I heaved a sigh of relief that I went through it without another vehicle present. There were other tunnels near La Greve that, while always scary, were not quite as bad as that first one. There were no cars in my direction in any of them, thankfully.

A bit after La Greve, I entered a long narrow valley, a gorge, really, of the Romanche River. The road was just above the water and the white water sang to me the entire time. Equally amazing was all the waterfalls on both sides of the cliff faces. I stopped counting, though not taking pictures, after 12. It was an amazing coda to the climbing, the mountains, and the tunnels.

The Romanche flows into a reservoir that has a 900 meter tunnel above it. I was concerned about this long bit of dark narrowness. But, again, there were no cars and it was slightly downhill and it was over in a couple minutes. Just after I stopped at the exit, a huge truck and several cars wooshed past. My luck was holding.

Steve’s main route variant was just after the barrage (dam). It required me to climb up the side of the cliff and ride along the top. When I got to the turn-off, I realized that I didn’t have another 1000 feet of climbing in me and continued on the main road.

This road was cut out of the cliff with a series of cement blocks the only thing between anyone on the road and sure death in the water hundreds of feet below. When trucks came by (now with increasing frequency), I pulled off the road. At one point huge gusts of wind blew up the canyon and panic stopped hoping not to get blown off the road.

There were more scary tunnels to survive. In the last one a car came up behind me just as I was exiting and I thought I was a goner. But, nothing happened and I continued on my way.

At the bottom of the gorge, I was on a long, straight road (dead into a headwind) that went directly to Bourg d’Oisans. The fabulous peak visuals continued and I took more photos.

My hosts for the night were Fred and Vèro and their engaging 2 year old daughter Charlene who live above the little town. They moved there a month ago when Fred scored a job with the local economic association. Vèro is a nurse who is just starting to look for work. They took 9 months off to ride around Southeast Asia and New Zealand and are restarting their lives back in France. I was entranced by her as she spoke her high-pitched French while
pointing to pictures in her book. I smiled and kept answering “tres bien” and Merci, along with other appropriate sounds in both English and Italian.

After dinner (a homemade spinach quiche) we talked about bike touring in SE Asia (where hotels rent by the hour) and their experiences. I went to bed after Vèro retuned from putting Charlene to sleep.
Sounds fun. Just curious, for personal security did you fly with a handgun, or diid you purchase a weapon after arrival?

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Finridge » Thu May 23, 2019 8:10 pm

Thank you for the post. Very enjoyable reading.

Did bring your bike and check it as baggage? And if so, how did that work?

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Raybo » Sun May 26, 2019 12:10 am

Matigas wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 7:39 pm
Sounds fun. Just curious, for personal security did you fly with a handgun, or diid you purchase a weapon after arrival?
I’m not sure how to respond to this question.

1) I am in Europe where gun possession is seriously illegal.

2) What, exactly, would I need “a weapon” for when riding a bicycle? The main threat to my safety is cars. For my “personal security” I have a rear view mirror and pull off the road if a big truck is bearing down on me.

3) Even if I did have a “weapon,” how would I carry it? Would I wear it under my biking jersey? On my hip over my Lycra biking shorts? If I kept it in my handlebar bag (which is already filled to capacity) I’d have to get off my bike, unzip the bag (a 2 hand operation), and grab the weapon, by which time things might already have gone sideways.

4) Aren’t guns and ammo heavy? Remember that everything I carry I had to push over the Alps.

5) I was once riding a bike in Montana, a place where a handgun is both legal and possibly necessary, on a deserted road. A car pulls off the road about 100 feet ahead of me and stops. A man gets out of the car. I begin wondering what is going to happen next. As I pull up next to the car, the man pulls a can of Coke and says “I really admire what you are doing and want to help out.” He handed me the Coke, which was both cold and tasty. We spoke briefly and we both went on our way. I’m not sure how pulling a weapon would have helped this situation.

6) When I crossed from Montana to Canada, I was asked several times by the border agent if I was carrying a gun. I’m sure he was scrutinizing me to see if he should search me for one. After asking for about the 6th time, he let me through without a search.

7) I do carry a multi-tool with a sharp 2 inch blade. Though, I mostly use it to cut-up vegetables.

8) In over 15 years and dozens of bicycle tours, I have never been accosted, robbed, threatened, or intimidated, except by cars. Most people I come across are friendly, curious, and wanting to talk or help. I’ve had meals paid for, been offered money, invited into homes, given things and have had my faith in people elevated time and time again. What causes me anxiety are thunderstorms, headwinds, and bike problems, none of which a weapon would help.

9) Was this a serious question?
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Raybo » Sun May 26, 2019 12:18 am

Finridge wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 8:10 pm
Thank you for the post. Very enjoyable reading.

Did bring your bike and check it as baggage? And if so, how did that work?
I have a folding Bike Friday New World Tourist that I store with my brother-in-law who lives close to Heathrow Airport near London. When I plan a trip to Europe, I stop by his place, pick-up the bike, and fly on from there. So, the answer is I don’t fly with the bike from the US, but do fly with the bike from England.

The bike fits into a large suitcase that flies as checked luggage. It is heavy and a real pain if stairs are involved (think the London Underground). Flying with a bicycle also involves lots of metal parts that have to be checked (at least I’ve always checked them), so I usually have to pay for a second bag.

Riding my own bike is worth every penny and calorie I expend to get it here.

One bother is sending the suitcase to my destination (if it isn’t a loop ride). I use UPS or FedEx or which ever freight service is most convenient. On this trip, it cost me €90 to ship my empty care from Florence to Bern. Here’s a tip, don’t ship things to Switzerland. Their custom forms are brutal.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by AerialP » Sun May 26, 2019 5:32 am

Having eased away from the board a bit since my investing is comfortably on auto-pilot, I'd not read one of your travelogues in a few years, Raybo, but am reminded of just how engaging are not only your adventures but also your writing of them. Thank you!

Per the wackadoodle gun question, looking at that contributor's posting history it would seem that they enjoy being a bit of a provocateur, having had several of their posts deleted and a significant amount of them fixated either on firearm discussions or on rattling peoples' cages. Your reply to them was spot-on.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by wanderer » Sun May 26, 2019 7:58 am

Raybo: Always enjoy reading about your adventures.

Safe travels!

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by caffeperfavore » Sun May 26, 2019 7:54 pm

Wait. You’re riding the Alps on a folding city bike? Am I reading that right?

I bow to my new god.

Seriously though, how would you describe your level of fitness and level of cycling abilities? I’m wondering if a schlub like me should even consider this and just what it would take to get me in shape for this kind of ride. What’s a typical ride like for you back home?

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by WhyNotUs » Sun May 26, 2019 10:45 pm

Ride on Raybo!
Did 2,000' of climbing today and then read this, my knees hurt just reading it.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Raybo » Mon May 27, 2019 12:20 am

caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:54 pm
Wait. You’re riding the Alps on a folding city bike? Am I reading that right?

I bow to my new god.

Seriously though, how would you describe your level of fitness and level of cycling abilities? I’m wondering if a schlub like me should even consider this and just what it would take to get me in shape for this kind of ride. What’s a typical ride like for you back home?
Some basic concepts. I do not bring cooking or camping equipment. This lightens my load by about 15-20 pounds. Which helps a lot. I aim for riding no more than 50 miles and 4000 vertical feet of climbing. I usually ride less than those maximums. I have a great deal of range given those parameters.

I ride a bike for exercise. Since I live in San Francisco, every ride involves hills, as well. When I am not training for a tour, I ride between 150 and 200 miles a month, usually consisting of 16 and 35 mile rides. When I am training for a tour, I up my monthly mileage, aiming for 500 miles the month before I leave ending with two back-to-back rides of 50 miles fully loaded with touring weight. Here is an article I wrote about how I train for a bike tour: https://www.biketouringtips.com/showTip ... tipID=2423 .

You get to decide how long and how much climbing your tour will involve. You can use an electric bike, go on supported tours where you don’t have to carry your gear, and many other bike travel methods. There is no one way to do this.

Keep in mind that the hardest mile you’ll ride is the first one!
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Always passive » Mon May 27, 2019 12:41 am

Matigas wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 7:39 pm
Raybo wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 2:19 pm
It is a beautiful sunny day in Bourg d’Oisans, a tourist town in a valley surrounded by snow-covered peaks. Think Lake Tahoe without the lake and only 3,500 people. It is a famous stop on the Tour de France as it is just below the Alpe d’Heuz and the road to the Galibier pass and other high peaks.

I am resting after 3 hard days of climbing over 3 alpine passes. I started in Pinerolo in Italy on a rainy day that started clear enough to see the peaks that surround Pinerolo. By the time I left, the clouds had again obscured the view and it was raining.

I started climbing as soon as I left Pinerolo. I rode up into forests and along the Chisone River, whose valley I would follow. When the clouds would clear a bit, I could see snow topped peaks. It slowly cleared, though the wind remained steady, and I was now seeing mountains behind mountains behind the rushing river. It was impressive. I rode uphill for 4+ hours, taking mountain photo after river picture (while resting). It was hard. I stopped often, sometimes no more than a few hundred feet further up the hill. But, I kept turning the pedals and by about 3pm I made it to Pragaleto, my stop for the night,

Pragaleto is a ski resort whose season had passed. The town was deserted. I was the only one staying at a campground with chalets, bungalows, and lots of amenities, all closed for the season. The woman who checked me in said everyone there goes on vacation after April. There was a small store open where I bought pasta for dinner and the next day’s biking food.

The next morning was sunny but very cold with frost on the roofs of the surrounding chalets. I waited to hit the store for some fresh bread and a bit later to take down a €1 cup of coffee. My goal this day was Briançon, 2 passes and 28 miles away.

The first pass, Sestriere, was 6 miles of steady uphill consistent enough to find an easy rhythm. I was now “in the mountains” and The cloudless sky was pierced with numerous high peaks fronted by large tree covered hills. I remained along the Chisone, adding both sound and fury to the tableaux. All around, ahead and behind were snowy peaks. Several were connected in long chains of jagged tops below a fiercely blue sky. The effect was breathtaking. Which is good because I was definitely breathing hard.

I was in the deserted ski resort of Sestriere around 11:15. After refueling a bit, I headed down into another valley rimmed with white peaks. The 7 mile descent not only went by fast but dropped me 500 vertical feet below my starting elevation. The bottom was Cesana Torinese where I headed up after crossing the Torrente Ripa.

It was now the middle of the day and hot in the full sun. I got into my lowest gear and began grinding up toward the Montgènevre Pass 6 miles further and 1500 feet higher than Cesana. It was a hard climb up switchbacks to set of tunnels. Luckily, the new tunnel was for cars but the old tunnels were for bikes. I rode in several naturally lit galleries (tunnels with open sides) all alone. It is a bit eerie to be in the semi-darkness of a tunnel with stunning views of rocks and trees in the mountain quiet.

I rejoined the main road at the top of this incline and a worker told the top wasn’t far and it was mostly flat to there. For once, this information turned out to be true and I cruised into the deserted ski resort of Montgènevre around 2 pm. It was now all downhill to Briançon, my stop for the night.

The downhill was not only very welcome but it featured clusters of peaks dappled with both snow and sun. The road was, again, deserted and I coasted down at my leisure, stopping when the urge struck without concern for traffic. After a good long descent, I switchbacked down the side of a cliff overlooking the valley of the Durance River and got my first look at Briançon, the highest city in France. It’s nestled below towering white peaks next to the river. Zigzagging down toward it was a very rewarding sight. In some of the switchbacks, I had to brake hard to stay behind the cars in front of me!

My place for the night was with Steve, his partner Julia and Jonah, their just talking 2 year old. They live at the very top of the old walled town in the historic barracks of the fort. Steve, Julia and 11 other family got together, bought the old derelict building, and in the intervening 5 years cleaned it and built flats in it. Their view of the mountains is unparalleled. Truly magnificent.

Both Steve and Julie are nurses. He works in a psychiatric ward and she is a visiting nurse. They live almost communal lives with their neighbors. Before we ate, 2 other youngsters and one mom had dinner in their flat. After they were done, Steve spooned up a fabulous vegetable stew with a sort of Thai curry sauce that was very good. After eating Steve and I went over my next day’s route and we mapped some changes that he recommended. While these looked good, they also added another 1000 feet of climbing.

Steve left at 6:30 the next morning and I got up say an revoir and merci. Julie got up when Jonah stirred and we ate breakfast together. I knew I had a long hard day ahead of me so I was up and out before 9am. I found the store Julia suggested, loaded up on food (and my first pan au chocolat), and started up the grade to the Col de Lautaret 18 miles and 2400 elevated feet away.

My route followed the main road which was busy for the first few miles. I had mapped several diversions away from the main road but they all seemed to require even more climbing. After having to dig hard to rejoin the main route after one, I decided simply to follow the main road. Once the traffic thinned, it was as if I was on a bike path. Vehicles, including bike riders, passed about every 3 to 4 minutes.

I was following the Guisane River, which would go all the way up to the pass. There were astounding snow-covered peaks to my left and dry, almost desert-like, mountains to my right. In between was the river and trees. At times, I was riding in a wide valley that reminded me of Canada’s stunning Icefield Parkway and Montana’s Glacier National Park. I have no words left to describe just how beautiful this was.

It is possible that my emotions were impacted by the effort required to do this climb. Every kilometer was a sign announcing how many more kilometers there were to the top (they started at 32), the elevation at the top and at the current spot, and the percentage of gain in the next kilometer. Psychologically, these signs helped take my mind off the distance. I was stopping frequently to just stand there and soak it all in, rest, and take photos. I’m sure I took the same photo over and over, but I didn’t care.

I had figured that I would get to the pass about 1pm. In actually, it was about 1:20 or 4 hours of climbing. There is a couple cafes at the top and I stopped to rest, revel in my accomplishment, eat, and put in more clothes for the coast down. It would be downhill the rest of the way to Bourg d’Oisans, my stop for the night.

I was again on my own on the steep switchbacks going down the other side where the Romanche River begins gather momentum for its run down the mountains. I was exhilarated making my way down, wowing out loud at each new vista that I saw. Not far from the top, I was passed a group of uniformed professional riders out training with a climb up to Montgènevre. One or two answered my wave.

One problem with the descent was tunnels. Near the town of La Greve I hit my first one. It was 600 meters of sheer terror. It was narrow (barely room for two cars), dank, and dark. Going through it was otherworldly. In the moment, it was like I was in the passageway between life and death. I heaved a sigh of relief that I went through it without another vehicle present. There were other tunnels near La Greve that, while always scary, were not quite as bad as that first one. There were no cars in my direction in any of them, thankfully.

A bit after La Greve, I entered a long narrow valley, a gorge, really, of the Romanche River. The road was just above the water and the white water sang to me the entire time. Equally amazing was all the waterfalls on both sides of the cliff faces. I stopped counting, though not taking pictures, after 12. It was an amazing coda to the climbing, the mountains, and the tunnels.

The Romanche flows into a reservoir that has a 900 meter tunnel above it. I was concerned about this long bit of dark narrowness. But, again, there were no cars and it was slightly downhill and it was over in a couple minutes. Just after I stopped at the exit, a huge truck and several cars wooshed past. My luck was holding.

Steve’s main route variant was just after the barrage (dam). It required me to climb up the side of the cliff and ride along the top. When I got to the turn-off, I realized that I didn’t have another 1000 feet of climbing in me and continued on the main road.

This road was cut out of the cliff with a series of cement blocks the only thing between anyone on the road and sure death in the water hundreds of feet below. When trucks came by (now with increasing frequency), I pulled off the road. At one point huge gusts of wind blew up the canyon and panic stopped hoping not to get blown off the road.

There were more scary tunnels to survive. In the last one a car came up behind me just as I was exiting and I thought I was a goner. But, nothing happened and I continued on my way.

At the bottom of the gorge, I was on a long, straight road (dead into a headwind) that went directly to Bourg d’Oisans. The fabulous peak visuals continued and I took more photos.

My hosts for the night were Fred and Vèro and their engaging 2 year old daughter Charlene who live above the little town. They moved there a month ago when Fred scored a job with the local economic association. Vèro is a nurse who is just starting to look for work. They took 9 months off to ride around Southeast Asia and New Zealand and are restarting their lives back in France. I was entranced by her as she spoke her high-pitched French while
pointing to pictures in her book. I smiled and kept answering “tres bien” and Merci, along with other appropriate sounds in both English and Italian.

After dinner (a homemade spinach quiche) we talked about bike touring in SE Asia (where hotels rent by the hour) and their experiences. I went to bed after Vèro retuned from putting Charlene to sleep.
Sounds fun. Just curious, for personal security did you fly with a handgun, or diid you purchase a weapon after arrival?
Why would you need a gun in Europe? Forgive me, but your question is more relevant in the Wild West. Guns kill, do not save lives

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The gorge was closed so I rode to 2 lakes, instead

Post by Raybo » Tue May 28, 2019 2:46 pm

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

It’s raining and I am indoors on the top floor of a medieval house in Conflans across the L’Arly river from Albertville, France. This rain has been predicted for a couple days and I wanted to avoid having to ride it. So, I took a rest day here, sitting inside all day watching the early round matches of the French Open.

When I last wrote, I was Bourg d’Oisans, which the French seem to pronounce as a single sound, resting. The next morning, I hung around the house waiting until 10 to leave as Fred had suggested it to avoid rush hour on the main route to Grenoble. After breakfast, I talked with Vèro and was entertained by Charlene.

After good-byes and photos, I left and followed Fred’s directions to a bike path along the river. The 360 decree mountain views had me stopping and taking photos until the path turned to dirt through trees. I quickly tired of dodging rocks and ruts. It is very tiring and painful to bump along over embedded rocks on a dirt road and having to constantly scan the next few feet of earth for a smooth passage.

Long after I wanted rid of this path, it finally gave way to asphalt and then the main road. This 2-lane highway carried most of the traffic between Bourg d’Oisans and Grenoble. On each edge was a 3 foot strip painted blue that was the “bike lane.” The fast traffic came in waves and rarely did a minute go by without trucks or cars passing me. But, I never felt in any real danger as the vehicles kept their distance.

The road followed the Romanche river to its rendezvous with the Isere and Drac rivers at Grenoble. The river had carved a wide, steep-sided canyon with the occasional waterfall. The highway snaked over and back along the meandering river, each narrow bridge an exercise in traffic brinksmanship. Fortunately, this road was downhill and it was easy to maintain decent pace.

I was concerned that things would get untenable as the highway neared Grenoble and I turned off at Vizille and headed north to go over the hills east of Grenoble. These hills had short, steep roads that carried plenty of fast traffic. Eventually, the traffic died off and I pleasantly peddled along young wheat and corn fields.

Once in Grenoble proper, I used bike paths created out of sidewalks, side roads, and bike paths all the way to Francis’ house, my host for the night. He was my age and a retired sports journalist who covered rugby for 30 years. He left shortly after welcoming me, saying he’d be back in a couple hours to take me to dinner at his partner, Lauren’s house. He was and the vegetarian meal consisted of salad, bread and asparagus. After the meal, Francis drove me home and he and Lauren went to an opera (Strauss’ The Bat). I wouldn’t see him until the next morning.

On the way back, Francis had mentioned that I should check that the road through the Gorges du Bourne, my next day’s ride was, in fact, open. It hadn’t even occurred to me to do so. When I did check, I discovered it was closed by a landslide! This threw my entire plan out the window. I didn’t know what to do or how to fill the three days now left open due to this road closure. I began a frantic search for an alternative route. I was tired and anxious, but after 90 minutes of frantic googling, I roughed out a plan for the next few days and went to bed.

The next morning started out drizzling. I mapped a route going north (the Gorges du Bourne is south) to Aix les Bains. Francis came by to say good-bye and after he left, I packed up and went. There seemed to a bike path on every street and I followed several out of town and along the Isere river.

Grenoble is surrounded by huge, thick massifs with snow covered tops in all directions. Even with thick cloud cover, the views were fabulous. I rode along the river through trees, next to main highways, and along farm fields. It was pleasant riding. I discovered I was on a bike path but I didn’t quite know where the path went. I stuck to my mapped route which took me along busy, narrow streets. I turned off into the countryside and eventually rediscovered the bike path, which, again paralleled the freeway, and rode it all the way into Chambrey, a good-sized town. After a few wrong turns, I again found a bike path marked to Aix les Bains. It again followed the river through the industrial outskirts of Chambrey and into farmland. I liked riding along the river path and made good time.

As I approached The Lac du Bourget, whose eastern bank is home to Aix les Bains, it started to rain hard. I put my head down and covered the last 7 miles in blur. I checked in, dried out, cleaned up and went to bed after a so-so pizza.

My plan was to ride to Lake Annecy the next day. It started with a breakfast at the hotel where I spoke with Bethoud, the 25 year-old owner who has worked in hotels his whole life. His parents bought, refurbished, and sold hotels and he is following in their footsteps. He owns one hotel, has just agreed to purchase another one and, I have no doubt, will soon be the hotel king of Aix les Bains. He said the larger hotels are being converted into condos and that there aren’t enough hotel rooms left in Aix, thus his opportunity. It was very interesting listening to someone with drive and ideas that don’t involve creating apps or disruptive technology.

In the past, Sundays were days of store closures in both Italy and France. But, no longer. I bought food and bread before leaving. It was sunny and I rode to the lake to try and get some photos. Lots was going on and people were everywhere. I took a few photos and rode out of town.

Again my mapped route followed busy, shoulderless roads and then dirt single track before I started ignoring it and making my way on my own. About 10 miles from Aix les Bains, I diverted up the side of a steep hill toward the Pont du l’Abime (Bridge of the Abyss). I ground away for about an hour until I got to the bridge, a short span built in the 1889s over a narrow gorge high above the Chéran River. The whole scene was of another time.

The route into Annecy, my stop for the night, was mostly downhill below tree covered hills. Jean-Michal, my host was at home when I arrived and we immediately fell into conversation. He is a collector and restorer of vintage bicycles and he showed me all of them while stashing my bike in his garage. His pride and joy was an Alex Singer (pronounced: San jay), an old time French made bike. He showed me a book of photos of Singer bikes, bicycle porn, really. Jean-Michal was a year older than me and an occasional bike tourist. We talked (mostly he talked) about politics, bicycles, work, and family life. We combined our larders to make dinner (his lettuce, my tomatoes; his pasta, my pesto; my bread, his butter) and after listening to the disheartening results of the EU elections, I went to bed.

Jean-Michal got a late start the next morning. After eating, we did some (unsuccessful) work on my bike’s gears. Then, I went for food while Jean-Michal extricated his Singer from his garage so he could ride with me out of town. We left about 11.

We were quickly on the bike path that went along the lake. There were lots of bikers out on a sunny day. Jean-Michal rode with me for several miles before turning around and after heartfelt good-byes headed home. I continued on the bike path past the end of the lake and onward towards Albertville, my stop for the night.

As I rode through trees the high hills and mountains of Lake Annecy moved in and I was again surrounded by dramatic vistas of rocky, green hills backed by snow-streaked peaks. A tailwind had picked up and I was able to coast at between 15 and 20 MPH. It was a bit of cycling heaven.

Instead of heading over hills, this day I went around them. The bike path, which I would follow all day, snaked through a narrow opening in the hills before turning toward Albertville. I followed the L’Arly river into Albertiville only to discover that my apartment was in an old building up in the hills across the river in a medieval village called Conflans. After shopping and dinner, I watched some French Open matches and went to bed.

It was raining when I woke up today. I snuck out for more food about noon during a short rain-free break. It has rained since and I haven’t left the apartment.

Tomorrow I start my last climb up the Alps toward Switzerland. After 2 short but hard days, I’ll be in Chamonix, at the base of Mont Blanc, after which, I cross into Switzerland. I’m looking forward to one last assault on the mountains...
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: The gorge was closed so I rode to 2 lakes, instead

Post by hillman » Tue May 28, 2019 2:50 pm

I am reminded of an anecdote our driver relayed to my wife and me on our honeymoon in Ireland a few years ago. It was August and there were a tremendous number of cyclists on the road. Our driver said, "I don't see many of these cyclists smiling as they trudge up hill," though he probably had an Irish way of saying it beyond just the accent.

After reading your story, I think you are probably an exception. Your trip sounds amazing and I hope the remainder of the trip is wonderful. Safe cycles. :beer

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Re: The gorge was closed so I rode to 2 lakes, instead

Post by Raybo » Tue May 28, 2019 2:59 pm

hillman wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:50 pm
I am reminded of an anecdote our driver relayed to my wife and me on our honeymoon in Ireland a few years ago. It was August and there were a tremendous number of cyclists on the road. Our driver said, "I don't see many of these cyclists smiling as they trudge up hill," though he probably had an Irish way of saying it beyond just the accent.

After reading your story, I think you are probably an exception. Your trip sounds amazing and I hope the remainder of the trip is wonderful. Safe cycles. :beer
When I talk to non-cyclists about bike touring, the issue of uphills always is mentioned. But, such people have never ridden a loaded touring bike downhill at 25 MPH, squeezing the brakes in a strong sidewind, I’ll take uphill to scary downhill any day!
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: The gorge was closed so I rode to 2 lakes, instead

Post by flyingaway » Tue May 28, 2019 3:53 pm

Would love to see some pictures.

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Re: The gorge was closed so I rode to 2 lakes, instead

Post by chevca » Tue May 28, 2019 3:59 pm

That's a lot of writing for something that isn't allowed on the forum. Thanks though. :happy

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Raybo's journey

Post by LadyGeek » Tue May 28, 2019 4:06 pm

I merged Raybo's updates into the first thread.

Raybo - Use this thread for additional posts. Member's who follow your trek will have the thread show up under Your posts. Also, one can bookmark this thread for all updates.

To identify new legs on the journey, change the Subject: line in the individual post's title. I used this post as an example.
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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Duckie » Tue May 28, 2019 7:08 pm

flyingaway wrote:Would love to see some pictures.
He'll post pictures on his website when he gets back home.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by baconavocado » Tue May 28, 2019 8:17 pm

Thanks for posting, Raybo, keep 'em coming. I'm very jealous.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by Finridge » Thu May 30, 2019 6:05 pm

caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:54 pm
Wait. You’re riding the Alps on a folding city bike? Am I reading that right?

I bow to my new god.

Seriously though, how would you describe your level of fitness and level of cycling abilities? I’m wondering if a schlub like me should even consider this and just what it would take to get me in shape for this kind of ride. What’s a typical ride like for you back home?
That was my immediate reaction as well! :shock:

Thanks for the updates. I'm really enjoying this thread. And it's giving me ideas for a future trip.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri May 31, 2019 8:48 am

Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:27 am
MastersChampion wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 am
Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:29 am

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names.
Bourg d'Oisans! Are you going to try Alpe d'Huez?
Thanks for the trip report so far.
Unlikely I’ll challenge Alpe d’Huez and certainly not on my loaded touring bike! It is off my route. If everything lines up, maybe I ride over and chover ca it out. No plans to do the ascent, though.
The turns are flat. What's the big deal? :)
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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Raybo » Fri May 31, 2019 12:45 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:48 am
Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:27 am
MastersChampion wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 am
Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:29 am

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names.
Bourg d'Oisans! Are you going to try Alpe d'Huez?
Thanks for the trip report so far.
Unlikely I’ll challenge Alpe d’Huez and certainly not on my loaded touring bike! It is off my route. If everything lines up, maybe I ride over and chover ca it out. No plans to do the ascent, though.
The turns are flat. What's the big deal? :)
Actually, on switchbacks the turns are the steepest bit of the road and always require that extra effort at the end of a long uphill stretch that ”builds character.”
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by 2pedals » Fri May 31, 2019 1:04 pm

Thank you for sharing your stories. Your stories are inspiring to me.

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Re: 3 Alpine passes in 3 days by bicycle

Post by caffeperfavore » Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:36 pm

Raybo wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 12:20 am
caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:54 pm
Wait. You’re riding the Alps on a folding city bike? Am I reading that right?

I bow to my new god.

Seriously though, how would you describe your level of fitness and level of cycling abilities? I’m wondering if a schlub like me should even consider this and just what it would take to get me in shape for this kind of ride. What’s a typical ride like for you back home?
Some basic concepts. I do not bring cooking or camping equipment. This lightens my load by about 15-20 pounds. Which helps a lot. I aim for riding no more than 50 miles and 4000 vertical feet of climbing. I usually ride less than those maximums. I have a great deal of range given those parameters.

I ride a bike for exercise. Since I live in San Francisco, every ride involves hills, as well. When I am not training for a tour, I ride between 150 and 200 miles a month, usually consisting of 16 and 35 mile rides. When I am training for a tour, I up my monthly mileage, aiming for 500 miles the month before I leave ending with two back-to-back rides of 50 miles fully loaded with touring weight. Here is an article I wrote about how I train for a bike tour: https://www.biketouringtips.com/showTip ... tipID=2423 .

You get to decide how long and how much climbing your tour will involve. You can use an electric bike, go on supported tours where you don’t have to carry your gear, and many other bike travel methods. There is no one way to do this.

Keep in mind that the hardest mile you’ll ride is the first one!
Thanks for the reply! That actually sounds do-able as I typically ride between 30-50 miles, although it's pretty flat.

The Lake Annecy area is beautiful and I would love to bike around there. And once in Bern I would be tempted to go on to Thun, Interlaken, and Lucerne. That would be a gorgeous ride.

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Re: First few days of my bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:55 pm

Raybo wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:45 pm
White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:48 am
Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:27 am
MastersChampion wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:19 am
Raybo wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:29 am

I don’t camp so I have arranged to go via Sestriere, Briancon, Bourg d’Oisens, Grenoble, Albertville, Chamonix as it is possible to find lodging every night on this route. There is more than one pass and I don’t know all their names.
Bourg d'Oisans! Are you going to try Alpe d'Huez?
Thanks for the trip report so far.
Unlikely I’ll challenge Alpe d’Huez and certainly not on my loaded touring bike! It is off my route. If everything lines up, maybe I ride over and chover ca it out. No plans to do the ascent, though.
The turns are flat. What's the big deal? :)
Actually, on switchbacks the turns are the steepest bit of the road and always require that extra effort at the end of a long uphill stretch that ”builds character.”
I agree on many roads. But not on the Alpe D'huez. They're mostly flat. :) Trust me.
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Up to Mont Blanc and into Switzerland via Lake Geneva

Post by Raybo » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:00 pm

The ride is over and I’m on the flight home. This is the first chance I’ve had to write up the last week of my tour.

I last wrote from Conflans, waiting out a day of rain. The next day arrived with remnants of the storm still lingering in the sky. It wasn’t raining, but it looked and felt like it might at any time.

When I’d planned this route, I was expecting to arrive at Albertville from Grenoble, 50 miles south. But, I had come from Annecy, which is north of Conflans and about level with Chamonix. Thus, the first several miles of today’s ride was backtracking to Ugine, where the climb over to the L’Arve valley started.

I knew from mapping this route that the road over would be steep and long. What I didn’t know was that the main road was closed and that all the traffic would join me on mine. Once past the neighborhoods of Ugine, I was riding up a series of switchbacks with views down the Isere river toward Albertville at one end and broad vistas down the L’Arve valley that I’d ridden along from Annecy on the other. I was stopping often to let good-sized trucks and their following traffic pass on the narrow road.

After about 10 switchbacks, I’d ridden around and could no longer see the valleys behind me. I was now riding through thick forests steadily making my way up. The grade, while not steep, was constant and tiring.

After a sharp downhill to the junction of the closed road and a bit of rain, I again began climbing. I ground my way up through the quaint ski towns of Flumet and Praz-sur-Arly and crawled up toward Megéve, where I knew the top was.

My Warmshowers host for the night was Noè (like the valley!) who didn’t want me to arrive before 6:30. I got to Megève about 4:30. I rode to the main square and sat in the sun and wind in a cafe drinking hot chocolate and inhaling cigarette smoke.

I left about 6 for the high speed, rush hour run down to Dormancy, my stop for the night. It is always a bit dicey when moving at speed on a bicycle among cars going about the same speed on a curvy downhill road. Drivers don’t know whether to attempt a risky pass or hang behind a guy on a bike. Along with playing this scary cat and mouse game, stunning, snow covered mountain peaks came into view as I descended. I was stopping frequently to try and get yet another photo (and let cars pass).

Noè is a young guy (late 20s?), who worked for Decathlon, the huge French sports company, designing equipment for people who rappel down waterfalls, which he called canyoning, a growing adventure sport I’d never heard of. He was staying in a colleague’s old wooden house with a carpenter roommate, while the colleague traveled with his family.

Noè had worked as a chef and while I cleaned up he made an onion tart from scratch along with some hummus and spears of tart dough for an appetizer. We talked about his work, my ride, and other topics while I watched him cook. I bedded down on a mattress in the living room shortly after we finished dinner.

The next day arrived full of sun and blue sky. The enormous white top of Mont Blanc was clearly visible from the windows of Noè’s house. It was a holiday in France (Ascension) and Noè decided to ride with me through the valley to the start of the climb up towards Chamonix.

After a stop at the store, we rode over to Lac du Passy whose smooth surface mirrored the snowy tops surrounding the valley. Then, we went along a dirt path right next to the L’Arve past Decathlon’s office to the turn up the hill. Noè left and I downshifted.

The climb began in the landing zone for the many hang gliders dotting the sky. It was hard climbing up the steep switchbacks though the constant views of the valley and, especially, Mont Blanc helped. The grade moderated after while and I hit the first top of the day at Servoz, after riding through some pretty trees. I was drenched with sweat from the effort.

After a bit of downhill, the climb up to Chamonix started. It began with a section so steep I had to walk up it. There followed about a dozen switchbacks through both trees and open fields with views across the valley and up ahead to Mont Blanc. The combination of great effort amid wonderful views is a powerful tonic. Eventually, I was able to find a rhythm up to the top.

I coasted down for about 30 minutes to Chamonix and found the apartment I’d rented for 3 nights. I had to give virtually all my Euros to Marco, the manager, when I was told a €200 cash deposit was needed. I cleaned up to discover the place had no toilet paper, hand soap, sharp knives or kitchen towels. Marco returned with these, telling me I was the first tenant.

I walked out but much of Chamomix was closed due to the Ascension holiday. I managed to find a huge cauliflower and other bits for dinner. Chamonix is a major resort on the L’Arveyron River at the foot of a towering, snow-covered Mont Blanc. It’s pedestrian-only streets are lined with stores selling every brand of outdoor wear, restaurants, gelato stands, and tourist services. After a quick walkthrough, I returned, ate about a third of the cauliflower, and went to bed, only to discover there weren’t any sheets.

My plan for my first day in Chamonix was to hike up to the Mer du Glacé (Sea of ice), the famous glacier that was the source of the L’Arveyron River. I could return by train. But, first, I had to deal with getting a bed sheet. Marco was incredulous and questioned me closely about the sheet. I decided I was done with this place and would not spend three nights here. This required a fair bit of effort as booking.com had my money and I wanted some of it back. I wrote a detailed email to the owner and booking.com and, after buying some food, walked across town to the Mer du Glace trailhead.

It is one thing to bike up a steep road on a bike with low gears. It is another thing entirely to hike up a long, steep footpath toting a backpack full of food and water. The trail climbed about 1800 feet in 3 miles. It was a hard trek up through thick forest with broad views up, down and across the valley. Eventually I made it to the train station that overlooks the dirty Mer du Glace. I was tired, but gratified to be so close to rocky, snowy peaks that jut out of the shrinking glacier. After many photos, I got on the cog railway back to Chamonix.

I walked through the bustling town, had a gelato, and considered dinner at the town’s only Indian restaurant. But, I still had most of the cauliflower at home and decided to cook pasta, cheese, and another third of the cauliflower for dinner. By then, I’d heard from both the owner and booking.com that I was free to leave the next day without penalty and the bed now had sheets! I spent the evening trying to decide where to go next.

The road to Switzerland would be another 2 pass day. The first pass was over 1000 feet of elevation above Chamonix. It was a warm, sunny Saturday and the road was full of holiday traffic. The 2-lane highway was narrow and the traffic constant. The signs I passed on the road about the distance to the top showed grades of 7%+. I was grinding in my lowest gear through resort towns, holiday homes, and along the L’Arve River, now more of a stream. Just past the town of Argentière, the road kinked up through a series of switchbacks that had me resting by the side of the road every few hundred feet. I finally made it to the top (Col des Montets) where I rested, ate, and tried to soak it all in.

The downhill was quick. I had to brake constantly to keep under 30 MPH. By the bottom, I was in Switzerland and the climb up the second pass began. I pushed up through a tunnel and then up 2 long hard inclines to get to the second pass, the Forclaz.

The view into the Rhône valley from the pass was spectacular. At the top was sharp, white peaks whose sides were clothed in multiple shades of green. In the far distance was the grid of Martigny and then the meandering Rhône. At the end was a white line of peaks. I spent 20 minutes eating, resting, and marveling at the view.

The descent, my last out of the Alps, was steep, full of switchbacks and a bit scary. The cliff side of the narrow road had no railing and the cars (and loud motorcycles) zoomed by leaving little road for me to navigate. I stopped often to take yet more photos of mountain and valley vistas and to let traffic by. I snaked my way down. After the last switchback, there was a long straightaway with many cars inching down to a busy roundabout. I carefully passed many of them.

I rode through Martigny on the banks of the Rhône and turned left toward Lac Lèman (Geneva). I pedaled against a strong headwind down the valley. My stop for the night was someone’s extra bedroom in the nothing village of Collonges. I ate the last third of the cauliflower for dinner.

The next morning, Sunday, I was up early and out before my host was up. I stopped at the local store for some biking food that I bought with Euros valued at 1 Swiss Franc each, an 11% discount. I stopped at the first big town and got 200 Francs from a bank in a single bill. A short while later, I found a bakery and wondered if the 200 Franc note would work. The woman behind the counter gave me a “this is Switzerland” look and took my bill without flinching.

Not only does the Rhône valley have a bike path along the length of the river, it is lined by high peaks slowly shedding their winter snows. These made for fabulous, but unphotographable vistas. The Rhône empties into Lac Lèman and I followed the road counter clockwise to Montreux and then Vevey, my stop for the night.

My reservation email said check-in time was 3pm. I’d arrived at 2:30. I called the number and was told check-in was 5. I pointed out the time listed on booking.com was 3. The manager repeated that he’d be there at 5.

Vevey is a happening place that is both right on the lake and the headquarters of Nestle. I had a good felafel across the street and rode to the ferry terminal to find out about boat travel across the lake. There were lots of people walking and sitting on the lakeshore. I rode to the apartment at 5.

The manager was there and tried to get me to leave my bike in a locked but public bike storage room. I declined as I had to fix a broken spoke on bike and needed it accessible. The “apartment” turned out to be a two-room flophouse without access to the kitchen or a TV. After forking over my Francs, I had to sign a paper saying I wouldn’t take a shower longer than 15 minutes.

I had a huge plate of tofu and vegetables at a nearby Chinese restaurant and returned to try a figure out my next move.

I had planned to spend 2 days in Vevey to get back on schedule after skipping my last day in Chamonix. But, the apartment and its owner were unacceptable. Instead, I considered where I might ride the next day. Given the prices in Switzerland, I decided to ride to Evian-les-Bains, of bottled water fame. This is on the French (south) side of the lake.

Rain was predicted but the sun was out when I left. I rode down the pretty lakeside path from Vevey to the Rhône through a number of lakeside towns, including Montreux. The south edge of the lake is show-crowned mountains that steeply crash into the lake. I rode past the confluence of the Rhône and the lake and into farmland and then marshy forest. The bike path emptied onto a lakeside road that didn’t have much room for a bicyclist. I followed an arrow up a long, steep side road that kept me off the main road and rolled up and down to Evian-les-Bains.

My hotel was in the pedestrian center of the town. The hotel’s receptionist and owner, Patricia (Pa tree see ah) was helpful, bright, and cheerful, which helped erase my previous night’s experience. I cleaned up, rested and walked out to see the town. There was lots of wooden art pieces on display. I bought a ferry ticket for me and the bike for tomorrow’s crossing to Lausanne, checked out the spa, and then visited the famous outlet of Evian water. There was a family with about 20 plastic bottles filling up who clearly would be there a while so I didn't stick around. After a so-so pizza and watching the sun set, I started trying to map my next day’s ride from Lausanne. This proved impossible on an iPad and I decided to use the Swiss Bike routes that connect Lausanne to Fribourg, my destination.

I was up, breakfasted, and at the ferry stop a little after 8am. The ferry was busy with morning commuters. I was in Lausanne by 9am. Lausanne is a big town with lots of streets going in all directions. I knew the bike route number I wanted but not how to find it. Google maps don’t show the bike routes and the Swiss map doesn’t show the street names. What’s more, the bike routes themselves are only marked at the intersections where there is a turn. I zigzagged across Lausanne for about an hour, at one point having to push my bike up a dirt staircase, before I found the bike route. Once on it, I was mostly able to follow the signs.

The route out of Lausanne is steep as I slowly made my way up from the lake. The bike path seemed to take the steepest roads around. Often proceeded by a steep downhill. It was tiring and frustrating. But, I had no other route to follow so I stayed on it. It was brutal. I walked up several sections too steep to ride. These roads were neither traffic-free nor very scenic. One way I passed the time was to try and imagine the priorities of the Swiss bike route planners: the steepest roads possible through farm fields with uninteresting neighborhoods interspersed. I rode/walked up many roads far steeper than anything I’d encountered in the Alps. I was pouring sweat and none too happy about it.

Eventually, the climbing subsided and I rode past farm fields and along the La Grand River on both paved and dirt roads. At Payerne, I discovered the intersection of two bike paths and recalled that I’d ridden by there several years before on an earlier tour around Switzerland. I stood there for a few minutes enjoying the memory.

The bike route from Payerne to Fribourg was as bad as the one I turned off of. Again, I was heading up roads too steep to ride; yet another wheat field at the top. What’s more, some of the farm fields were now housing estates and the very narrow roads carried a fair amount of traffic. Cursing ensued.

Eventually, after losing the route, I rode to the nearest direct highway to Fribourg and took it. While it was busy, the rush hour drivers were courteous and about halfway, a bike lane appeared.

It took me some time to navigate through Fribourg to Chantal and Patrick’s house in Basse Fribourg, down a long cobblestone street that would definitively require walking up. Chantal was a Swiss who spoke excellent English and she translated between me and her French partner Patrick. They welcomed me like an old friend and we fell into (a kind of three-way) conversation immediately.

They had spent over 4 years on a bike tour of Europe, Asia, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. This is hard for me to imagine and I wanted to know all about it. They also had hiked for many months in Nepal and lived on a sailboat in French Polynesia for a year. Their apartment overlooks sheer cliffs that force a 180 degree bend in the La Sabine River. We sat on their balcony talking and sipping an anise flavored aperitif.

After dinner, Patrick and I talked about my next day’s route, which would not be on a Swiss bike route!

Bern, my final destination, is about 20 miles from Fribourg. My friend Toni had asked me to arrive after 4:30 so I was in no hurry to leave. Both Chantal and Patrick, part-time nurses, were off that day so the three of us walked to the town square and through the weekly farmer’s market. I bought some biking food for the day. I waited while Chantal and Patrick did some paperwork and then we walked around the old town a bit. I took some photos and we continued talking.

We returned to the apartment after noon and I got ready and left, but not before saying heartfelt good-byes to and inviting them to San Francisco.

The climb out of Basse Fribourg was a long semi-circle away from the river. I was on a relatively busy road with no bike lane that went directly to Bern. I rode by farm fields, had distant views of snowy peaks, and passed small workshops and dairies. At one point I road along a river for a mile or two. The last few miles into Bern were past its outskirts.

I navigated through Bern where virtually every street has a bike lane. I made my way to Toni’s place, waited a short while for him to return, stowed my bike in his basement, and this bike tour was over.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: Up to Mont Blanc and into Switzerland via Lake Geneva

Post by Yukon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:53 pm

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by abuss368 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:56 pm

Thanks for sharing and safe travels! Please share some pictures.
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Re: My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Iorek » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:00 pm

Thanks for all these posts— great reading and they expand my view of the world.

Do you find these hosts on bike-specific forums, or is it just the case that people who support couchsurfing are more lilely to be avid cyclists, or maybe it’s just everyone in Europe likes to bike?

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Re: My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by One Ping » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:28 pm

Just love reading about your adventures!! Thanks!
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Re: My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland

Post by Raybo » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:56 pm

Iorek wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:00 pm
Do you find these hosts on bike-specific forums, or is it just the case that people who support couchsurfing are more lilely to be avid cyclists, or maybe it’s just everyone in Europe likes to bike?
There is a website for touring bicyclists to find hosts of other touring bicyclists. It is http://www.warmshowers.org. I don't really use couchsurfing anymore.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Selected Photos

Post by Raybo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:56 am

flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 3:53 pm
Would love to see some pictures.
I took nearly 2000 photos. I've selected 56 pictures to give an idea of the trip.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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Re: My bicycle ride from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland [Pictures added]

Post by mbres60 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:27 am

Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Selected Photos

Post by yukonjack » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:34 am

Raybo wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:56 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 3:53 pm
Would love to see some pictures.
I took nearly 2000 photos. I've selected 56 pictures to give an idea of the trip.
Magnificent photos Raybo. Thanks for sharing. I recognized a number of towns that are often part of the Tour de France. It must have been thrilling to ride over some of the same roads that the professional cyclist race on. Always enjoy your travel logs.

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Re: Selected Photos

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:57 am

Raybo wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:56 am
flyingaway wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 3:53 pm
Would love to see some pictures.
I took nearly 2000 photos. I've selected 56 pictures to give an idea of the trip.
Great shots Raybo! Glad you made it to the top of the hill.

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