In July 2011, I embarked on my first solo cycling journey in Switzerland. It only took two weeks to organize and it was one of the best trips of my life (so far!). A company called SwissTrails made it possible. I knew I wanted to cycle in Switzerland so my search was easy. I found SwissTrails by doing an Internet search, immediately contacted them and within a couple of days my cycling trip was booked!
Day 1 | Zurich – Linthal (87km)
I arrived in Zurich the day before on July 9th 2011. This gave me enough time to assemble my bike and spend time with my good friend in Zurich before my departure the next morning. Luckily I arrived the day before because my bike had not followed me through my connecting flight in Paris, France and Air France only delivered it at 22:00 that night. It took me about 1.5 hours to assemble my bike since it was the first time I was doing this on my own. I had grease up to my elbows and was frustrated at times however I managed to finish the job and ride safely the entire week. My awesome bike mechanic Kim spent many hours coaching me prior to my trip and his expert advice paid off!
The next morning I left my luggage at the Zurich train station and a courier picked-up my luggage and dropped it off at my hotel in Linthal. It was weird since I had never met anyone from SwissTrails – all my communications were by email or mail and, the courier only came by later after I had left. Everyone assured me that the Swiss are trustworthy and helpful and this was proven to me on a few occasions during my trip.
I left Zurich at 10:30 with my iPod to keep me company and my maps to guide me. I had the most amazing departure one could hope for. A few minutes into my ride, I realized I was on the same route as the Zurich IRONMAN 2011! As I rode along, the crowd was cheering and I felt like an imposter…but the adrenaline rush it gave me was fantastic.
As the roads diverged I suddenly found myself alone and I felt that my journey had really began. The Swiss cycling routes were clearly marked however it would be easy to miss a turn or an exit if I became too distracted by the amazing scenery that was unfolding before me. Generally the roads were in great condition however the cycling route did pass through gravel areas at times. Perhaps something to consider if you have expensive carbon rims… Most of the cycling routes were away from main traffic as well and this allowed me to soak in the beauty of Switzerland with its white peaked mountains and bright green countryside. At times, I was cycling in the middle of a green field surrounded by mountains with no cars or people in sight for kilometres. I could not contain my excitement and would ride harder and faster!
I found the hotel Bahnhof in Linthal immediately and was greeted by a very kind woman who took my bike into the garage and showed me to my room. It was a very nice room including a balcony with a view on the little town of Linthal and the mountains. I quickly settled in and as expected my luggage was waiting for me so I was able to go explore the town. I realized that restaurants are closed on Sunday in some parts of Switzerland however the hostess informed me that there was one pizzeria open in town within minutes of the hotel…I was in luck! The restaurant was great and the staff was so friendly.