Bicycling and Skiing in Switzerland, 2002

Michael J. Ferguson

In 2002, I was fortunate to be able to live in Switzerland for several months. During January/February, I skied at Arosa, Davos, Grindelwald, and St. Moritz. When I ski, I put crampons and climbing skins on my skis, climb up the hill, and then take off the crampons and skins at the top and convert my bindings to alpine downhill. In March and April, I brought my bicycle and rode around the Bodensee to Arosa, and then from St. Moritz to Lugano.


By Bicycle: Schaffhausen, the Bodensee, and Arosa

Schaffhausen, the Bodensee, and Arosa (photos) The ride started after a train trip to Schaffhausen. After a 20km or so up the Rhine, I spent the first night in the hostel in Stein am Rhein. Stein am Rhein is a delightful gabled and "oriel" windowed town, meriting a Michelin ** rating.
The second day I rode almost the full length of the Bodensee, but decided at 4:45pm not to stay in the hostel in Rorschach and took the train, instead, to Arosa.
This was still ski season and I caused quite a stir at the hostel in Arosa when I arrived with my bicycle. Since I had just come from the Bodensee, after a full day's ride, I arrived just after 8:00pm and the reception had closed down. I couldn't find anyone official, and neither could anyone else. However, I seemed to have half the hostellers trying to help. Then a nice woman phoned the hostel on her cell phone. After several tries, the resident manager answered, and was very solicitous when she was told that I had come by bicycle.
The ride down was on a glorious sunny day. For the most part, the road was on the cliff above the train. It was that train ride when I was skiing that inspired me to ride down. It was indeed down - all the way. I spent some time in Chur looking for a new rear wheel - I dumped my solid rear tires after the ride in the Jura because, not only did they break spokes, they killed wheels, and were much harder to pedal than ordinary pneumatic tires. I am not certain why they were much harder to pedal, except possibly that they did not absorb and distribute the road impact energy as efficiently as ordinary tires. In Chur, I tried to go to southern Switzerland, but found that it was almost impossible to go to the Ticino (Lugano and environs) from Chur without going back to Zurich. So instead, I went to St. Gallen, again too look for a tire, explore the old town, but really to go back to Appenzell to get the fondue cheese mix that I was supposed to get on my first visit, and failed to do, because of ignorance, and misunderstood instructions. After some effort, I found a shop that had a new back wheel, and continued on to the hostel.
My last day was a ride over the southern ridge, to Appenzell, where I got a strong fondue mix, handmade while I watched, from Mösler's Käsewelt, and then rode up and down and up and down and ... all the way back to Rüti. Schaffhausen, the Bodensee, and Arosa (photos)

By Bicycle: St. Moritz to Lugano, and beyond

St. Moritz to Lugano, and beyond (photos) The second trip started in St. Moritz in an icy fog, and was to end in Lugano, crossing Italy and riding along Lake Como. I stopped for the night at the top of the Maloja Pass, and much to my surprise, and consternation, woke up to about 10cm (4") of new snow. The road was essentially clear, except for some slush patches on the switchbacks. On the way down I stopped at Soglio, which in nice weather has magnificent views of all the surrounding mountain ranges. However, after a 300m climb, all you could see was the inside of the cloud. Soglio gets ** from Michelin, with one of its features being old villas of the Salas family. One, which is mentioned in the Michelin Guide, has been turned into the Hotel Palazzo Salas. Each room in the hotel is very different.
Chiavenna, was another required stop, a delightful, and very shut down town, about 10km inside Italy. The day continued overcast, grey, and low clouds all the way along the north shore of Lake Como to Menaggio. The hostel in Menaggio has a magnificent view of Lake Como, that would have been even prettier in nicer weather.
The next day I climbed 200m up the side of the cliff that seems to continuously surround the lake, and rode the 35km, downhill mostly, until the ridge that protects Lugano. I arrived there in the early afternoon, where I discovered that I had lost my new Yosemite Logo, "Swiss Champ" Swiss Army knife that Virginia had given me for Christmas. I was more than a trifle upset so I started to ride back halfway to Menaggio where I had last seen it. Of course, it was not there, so it was back again to Lugano. It was still overcast and dreary when I returned at about 4:30pm so I decided to take the 5:45pm train to Lucerne,

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On 08 Jul 2014, 05:46.