This is a second part of a long story from Stefan, about an unsupported tour of him and his wife, to Switzerland on a Ti-FLY 26 and Ti-FLY X. You can read the first part here.

Author: Stefan Hartmann

Day 11:
Another hot day starts with breakfast at the reception. Just rounded the first bend and found the route blocked by electric wires. A farmer led his cows from one pasture to the other. We watched cheerful and admired the sound of their bells in tune with their stride. We waved farewell and got onto a nice path with fine gravel following the river bends. This wide valley is called the Witti and is home to a huge population of hares. After some time we came across a nature center, nice toilet, which was founded by an engaged guy who nearly single-handedly reintroduced the than extinct storck into Switzerland. The first few hundreds

came from Ethiopia, by aeroplane, honestly. After a while we got stopped by a temporary barrier for a local marathon event, the runners greeted by someone playing a traditional tune on an alphorn, nice, but running that distance in 34 degrees Celsius? I even regretted everytime I stopped my Azub, because than the air conditioning stopped as well. The river than turned into the artificial Nideck channel, started to be built in 1868 to bypass the old river run which often flooded the area. We wanted to get lunch at a Migros grocery, lost each other in heavy traffic and circled the humongous mall on different sides until we reconnected right at the entrance to the restaurant. Enjoyed ourselves and the company of two very friendly and interested ladies. Than on to the lake of Biel, following the southern shoreline, many ups and downs due to private property limiting access until a nature reserve kept us on a track close to the water. We admired where the Swiss cut through a hill to let the river Aare flow straight into lake Biel, to avoid that its spring flood would pile up gravel on the flats, flood everything and cause diseases and Malaria. The dike was a nice, smooth, level ride till Aarberg. Back on the winding Aare valley we passed the town Mühleberg and another shut down nuclear power plant. We had to cross the river again, this time up three flights of steps, a little challenge with our heavy loaded Tricycles. Off went the saddlebags, pushed and pulled the Azubs up, down again to fetch our gear. A few miles to catch our breath, than a wooden staircase down across a gully, this time we drove it, step by step. Along a picturesque lane on the shore of the Wohlen reservoir, up into the village to the flat of our cousin, after 75 kilometers.

Day 12:
As our cousin was due back from a weekend getaway in the evening, we did relax, made a short walk and backed up our pictures. When she arrived there where countless stories to be exchanged.

Day 13:
Our cousin headed to work, while we used the opportunity to do laundry, maintain the trikes. Got groceries and picnicked on her little garden at the lake, as she also rides an Azub Ti-Fly there where three of these great vehicles parked together.

Day 14:
She could not get off work so we decided to ride on. We had to get across the city of Berne, which our navigation by OSMand+ managed pretty well. But the Swiss idea of a tourist cycle route in a city got us into unintentionally running a red light and passing a street car heading our way on the left or wrong side. By the look on the face of the street car driver this is quite the normal thing to do. We did not like to repeat this anytime soon. Got out of that unscathed again and found our way along the Aare with a nice cycle path. Met a fellow cyclist traveler on his way from England to Australia. Long story.

The next city was Thun, where, again, the cycle route was straight in the middle of the main thoroughfare, squeezed in on the left hand by cars, on the right side y busses. Good my wife remembered from a former visit an alternate route, rescuing us to a stop at a Café at the railway station. The next stretch was another major road with dashed lines but not so heavy traffic, until we reached Interlaken. We knew it is well liked by tourists, but we did not foresee that all campgrounds would be full, due to a Vespa scooter meeting, gathering 6000 of these fossil junkies. Called around and found a place close to Windegg, situated on the lake of Brienz. Thought shopping groceries would be clever, before we followed a narrow road on the shore. The campground was a real treat after 78 kilometers, basic but beautiful, with level spots for tents where no car or mobil home would dare to get to. The owner even got us some power to charge our devices, so we found out tagging along the so-called “standard European camping plug” was not so good an idea, as it does not fit in Swiss receptacles.

Later our travel companion with Australia as final destination showed up also, another long camper chat followed. We told him to checkout the gorge of the upper Aare the next day.

Day 15:
Drove on along the lake, very scenic route, steep up and down again and again, but enjoyed every bit. Close to the end we found a sign indicating end of cyclepath, footpath only from here, cyclists must push their bikes. Well, we did not, but rolled slower than anybody would walk. The site was amazing, a narrow bridge across a waterfall, on one side an ancient magnificent hotel building, on the other a towering fall, cascading endlessly. Afterwards another very steep climb and than finally a long sloping ride onto the valley bottom way into the town of famous Meiringen, passing the famous Reichenbach falls where Sherlock Holmes lived his final hour.

Had nice lunch in Meiringen and on we got to the track leading up to Hasliberg. Narrow, rough gravel and very steep. Our little electric assist engines did help, but it was hot and we started sweating quickly. Had to catch our breath frequently, not only from the exercise but more because of the scenery. We did hardly shift out of the lowest gear for the whole climb from elevation 500 to 1180 meters. Great little cottages strewn across plush meadows, just Switzerland at its finest. We finally got to the highest point and enjoyed rolling down to the Brünigpass, where we celebrated our achievement with some ice-cream. Had to turn afterwards onto the main traffic road for a few hundred meters, than we had a very beautiful rural road, partially paved, but mostly not, for us. Pretty steep down the pass, into the valley of the beautiful situated lake of Lungern, along its shore line, and down again to the Sarnen lake. Found a very nice campground near Giswil on the shore after 50 kilometers. After dinner at the restaurant our companion on his way to Australia showed up again, thanking us for our guidance to the scenic places. No campground chat that evening as we all where exhausted and full of pictures and impressions.

Day 16, Thursday:
We got up early and said farewell. Followed a little road along the western shore. Few ups and downs and in a little village a bakery with fresh baked pastries and coffee. Enjoyed it outside and answered again many questions about our Azub trikes. On again to the town of Sarnen with many historic buildings, I liked especially the former fire engine garage. Our route waved along a little creek and another small lake. Passed a well hidden entrance to one of the caved military secrets of the Swiss Army. After this the cycle route crossed an air strip for jet fighters. Just in the middle of the runway two huge transport helicopters of the air force came in and hovered for a while over us, probably checking out the nice design of our Azub Trikes. We cheerfully waved and headed on. Passed the base Station of the world famous cog railway which gets you up on top of Mount Pilatus, we did that some time ago already.

Along the Alpnach lake we had to drive on the road, not really pleasant, especially as there would have been plenty of space for us on the pedestrian lane, no pedestrians anyway here. Rounded a rocky outcrop and had a panoramic view of the lake Lucerne. Followed the official route through outskirts into the city of Lucerne and passed over the bridge to find the campground on the Lido peninsula after 37 kilometers. Checked in early afternoon, as they do not accept reservations but go by “first come first served” principle. We knew that place from trips before and it is really nicely situated, across a big public swimming pool and very near the famous and huge Swiss museum of transport. With the campsite fee included is a city pass for public transport and free electricity. After our tent was set, the trikes locked inside, a short shower, off we went by bus back to the city. We enjoyed the city life and did some summer sale shopping. Than we met with my wife’s cousin in his exquisite flat and

walked to a lebanese restaurant, which opened just recently. Had a lot fun, laughter and exchanges. Walked the cousin back for a night cup in his apartment and headed back to our tent.

Day 17:
Started late, did some laundry, walked to the apartment of a former colleague for lunch. Nice chat along with a delicious barbecue. The view from his terrace offered the whole mountain range, set atop the lake Lucerne, very nice. Got some groceries later for evening and next day breakfast. Than we just hung out and relaxed.

Day 18:
We slept in late. Walked the whole lake shore promenade with its double row of old trees to the city Lucerne and had a long brunch with our cousin. Than we browsed some shops and took the bus back to the campground. Dinner there, while thinking about our next route, planned it out and hit the sleeping bags.

Day 19:
After the city life we where happy to get our trikes rolling again. Headed back into town to find the starting point of the cycle route following the river Reuss, which exits lake Lucerne. After some obstacles due to construction we found a wide, well maintained path and rolled on cheerfully. Across the water we found a sign saying “RollsReuss”, which obviously must mean our vehicles. Through forests and Parks the lane guided us, always close to the fast running water. We had to leave it at the village of Gisikon, as we wanted to reach the city of Zug, famous for herding many wealthy companies which sometimes consist of a postbox only, set up to enjoy the lowest taxes in Switzerland. Lucky us found us in the middle of the national Jodel competition event. Without challenging the contestants we weaved our way through the masses, wearing Dirndl and leather trousers in sweltering heat. We found shade along a little creek and arrived at Sihlbrugg. Here we drove one steep road uphill to the the summit over Hirzel Pass. Met a nice racecycle couple very interested in the Azub trikes on a viewpoint overlooking lake Zurich. Downhill from here to the dam across the lake, passing nice villages and cutting through wine yards. Turned right after the dam in Rapperswil and followed the eastern lake shore. Got sent in circles by some bicycle lane construction deviation. But after a while the agglomeration was left behind and nature surrounded us again. Had an early dinner at a grandiose beer garden. Where the lake petered out the way followed the Linth river channel. Behind us a thunderstorm was forming, so we tried to race it to our next campground. Just as we pulled up at the reception after 110 kilometers the rain poured down, but we had a little roof to hide from the worst. As we had called ahead, the camp manager came and showed us a marvelous spot for our tent right on the edge of the lake Walensee. The rain had stopped, so up went the tent, something to eat and good night.

Day 20:
Right out of the campsite the official cycle path follows the lake. It is quite wide and well maintained. It follows ancient paths used by horses and carts. Some tunnels are included, they have openings onto the lake with amazing views. As always there is a lot of short, steep climbing and downhill for us. We passed an abandoned highway reststation, now cut off from the highway, which runs inside tunnels further in the mountainous clifface. Took lunch on the shore close to the village of Walenstadt. Here the lake ends and our path continues on the edge of the river Seez, feeding it. This valley has a smooth but continuous incline, until we reached the village of Mels. From here we crossed over into the valley of the upper Rhine River, which we followed downhill. Both sides of the river are cycling lanes, some paved, some gravel. We decided to stay on the paved one atop the dike, which offered nice views but also some headwind. Anyway we made good speed, thanks to the lowslung design of our Azub Trikes. Crossed over to the Austrian side of the river and found our way across the rhine delta into the city of Bregenz. Here another thunderstorm catched up with us, but we ignored it, sped up along the newly opened so-called “pipeline” bicycle path along the shore of Lake Constance. We got wet to the bones but reached the campground across the border into Germany close to the city of Lindau after 116 kilometers just five minutes before closing. Waited for a break in the rain, set tent and headed to the close restaurant for a well deserved last dinner.

Day 21:
Our final day started sunny and with a quick breakfast. We entered the “Kings” cycle route up into the Allgäu until Stockenweiler, where we left it, to fetch the one to the city of Wangen. From here on we knew our ways through the valley of the river Argen, up until we reached our home, after 44 kilometers that day, and overall 1020 kilometers and 4500 meters elevation gained in total.

We really never thought it would be so much fun to trike in Switzerland. We have had not much experience riding them over steep passes, especially with gravel. The Azub Ti-Fly 26 and X performed flawlessly. No issues with the design or any parts, only regular maintenance, with attention to the brake pads, retightening screws after bumpy sections and applying wax to chains.

The king rack carriers never complained about the load they had to carry. Which, again, was way too much. We had a bigger tent this time, which was a good choice. It allows to stand up inside, which is a comfort we do not want to miss again. With a little squeezing we can park the trikes inside as well, so these precious companions are hidden from sight if necessary. I carried a plug for camp receptacles and 10 meters extension, which was a mistake, because the plug does not really fit everywhere, or one can lend one, or we would have found another option to charge. Most campgrounds could improve their services simply by providing lockers where one could charge smartphones, powerbanks and batteries.

And we may leave some heavy tools at home on our next trip, as experience has got us to trust in fewer of them.

We learned that low gearing is a big benefit, as we rather enjoy coasting, than pedaling downhill. One misses so much at high speeds, and it’s preferable to stop frequently, when one wants to take in all the scenery. As our chains reached their life expectancy after we made it back, we changed both trikes to 11 speed shifting, with new chains, 30 teeth cog wheel on the front and a 11 to 51 teeth cassette on the rear. The next trip will probably see us crawl up any hill like ants, but with big smiles on our faces.

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