The orange line above is the 666km [who picked that distance!!] Alpine Bike Route in Switzerland.
“Switzerland’s first national mountain-bike route leads from the Engadine valley to the Rhone – 666 devilishly challenging kilometres across the Alps. It’s the world’s longest – and one of the toughest.
Alpine Bike is the name of the thrilling new trail from Scuol to Aigle. National Mountain-Bike Route No. 1 is a big challenge, even for athletic and technically skilled riders. In 16 stages and over 666 demanding kilometres, it traverses the mighty Swiss Alps. In the first few hours, riders soon get a taste of the drama to come: the route snakes through the Swiss National Park into the picturesque Val Mora. A gentle, leisurely path – pictured left – soon gives way to a demanding single-track trail threading through the timeless landscape. The Septimer pass is another highlight, but many more follow. Surselva, the Susten pass, Kleine and Grosse Scheidegg at the foot of the celebrated North Face of the Eiger, the Saanenland, the Col des Mosses: the trail passes through the finest mountain scenery in Switzerland. But even if you’re in great shape, you can always take a break, by hopping on a train or bus to the end of the day’s stage – all can be reached by public transport.”
I’ve got a Swiss passport and haven’t been back to Europe for ages. My last trip was a paragliding adventure over a decade and a half ago. I’ve been itching to go back for a visit and have been looking for the right reason. I’m not much of a sight seeing tourist so a mountain bike tour sounds awesome. With the short distances between services in Switzerland I’d be able to carry a light pack and just ride my butt off while enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
Kurt and I booked two tickets to Geneva for late June/early July 2009. So we’ll report back on what’s shaking in the Swiss Alps…=-) I’m going to get the Alpine Bike route guidebook so we can see what we think. We may tackle it or we may decide to explore some specific areas of the Swiss Alps in more detail. Tough choices, but someone’s got to do it…=-)
BTW – if 666kms is not enough you can also ride the 455km Panorama Bike Route.
My inspiration to do research was this 2004 Bike Magazine article by Mitchell Scott.
Click on the image above for a sweet Swiss MTB video – I love the soundtrack…=-)
For guided MTB tours in the Swiss Alps check out Big Mountain Adventures. If the dates had worked out I’d be signing up for their Cloudraker all mountain trip. I’ve never paid for a guided trip before, but I can see the value in getting to ride high quality trails you’d never find on your own – plus when you look at the cost of traveling in Switzerland their trip fees are very reasonable.