First Travel by Bike

Words and photos by Kona Ambassador Sebastian De Meris.

Every year the holidays are a topic of discussion to know where to go but this time we decided to go by bike. The goal was to leave about a week where the weather is favourable and ride a reasonable number of kilometres.

Although Kona has a beautiful range of bicycles for travelling, two Jake the Snakes have been chosen, one of which is mounted with a luggage rack so that camping equipment can be easily transported with rear panniers. In the end, we were surprised to see that with our seven bike bags we still had plenty of room, which will prove practical for shopping food and cook good meals.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

The D-day is coming and the weather is less beautiful than expected in northern Switzerland and Germany and the heat in the south motivates us, so it’s in Switzerland that we will ride and camp.

The first day we leave for the Jura, which with the Alps is the other mountain range in Switzerland. The goal is to see the “Creux du Van“, a natural rocky circus of about 1,400 meters wide. The bikes are fine. Us? Not so much with a heat that exceeds 30°C (86°F) and we reach the end of 56km ride a little dry. The sky starts being dark and a big storm forms as we arrive at the campsite in the Val de Travers. It’s then a real deluge that falls 20 minutes later and lasts many hours and part of the night, but the tent resists the rain. We will have to come back too see the Creux du Van as it is hidden in the clouds. The next day the sun shines timidly but the conditions are pleasant to ride towards Sainte-Croix and its pass.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

A long descent allows us to return to the plain and the Lake of Neuchatel. A large part of the route now passes through the natural reserve of the “Grande Cariçaie,” which is home to nearly a quarter of the fauna and flora species found in Switzerland. Like the day before, the timing is perfect and we arrive at the starting point just before an impressive storm.

This passage to the zero point of the trip allowed us to avoid a very rainy Sunday and also to adjust the contents of the bags by removing unnecessary things off from the two bikes. It isn’t the lightest setup but for a first bike travelling trip, we’re really happy with the results.

On Monday we head towards the Alps and while riding the at least 50km distance for the day, the hills become more and more prominent, especially when crossing the Gantrisch Natural Park. Finally, we rode down again towards Thun where we saw the lakes that we’d follow the next day.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

In the morning we leave with a beautiful view of the peaks of the Eiger, Mönsch and Jungfrau and reach the shores of Lake Thun where the bicycle route offers an incredible view. At noon we do like the hordes of tourists and stop in Interlaken to eat a pizza before starting the second part of the route where the beauty and the shades of blue of the lake will surprise us as well as the climbs with slopes of over 20%…

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

At the end of this day, we arrive by the small lake of Lungern. The camping site is perfect and from the tent, there is a beautiful view to eat our Thai soup, which changes from the “one-pot pasta” that we have cooked until now.  

In the morning the weather is quite wet and cool as we start the descent towards the Lake of Sarnen which will then lead us to the edge of the Lake of the four cantons and then to the pretty city of Lucerne and its famous wooden bridge.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

We should have stopped there but we decided to continue riding towards the heart of Switzerland where a campsite is once again located on the side of a lake. It should be noted that in Switzerland wild camping is not really tolerated except in the mountains above the forest limit but the good point that we were able to enjoy the comfort of the campsites.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

For the last day, we decide to go back to the shores of the lake of the four cantons and take the roads that follow the shores and luckily we arrived at a place where the ferry is about to dock, which allows us to enjoy the view without having to pedal. After that, we go back to Lucerne and head towards the Swiss plateau as the heat gets hotter and hotter. After 70 km of riding and 1000m of altitude difference, we finally arrive in the pretty town of Sursee where a train brings us back to the starting point.

These 6 days of cycling were a really good experience and allowed us to discover places where we would never have gone by car and there is still a certain satisfaction to see the landscape pass by at a human pace. It’s also a good feeling to arrive at a place in the evening after a nice§ day of pedaling, it was just missing some camping chairs to drink the beers.

Anyway, one thing is certain, we’re going to do it again!

A few statistics about this bike trip:

2 Kona Jake the Snake

7 bike bags

6 days

9 lakes

401 km of riding  (249 miles)

5889 d+/-              (19320  ft)