Seven reasons why Switzerland is paradise for cyclists

For many newcomers to Switzerland, there’s no better way to feel like a local than to ride a bike. Cycling is not just one of the best ways to get around the city, it’s also an ideal way to explore the unspoilt Swiss scenery on the weekend.

Seven reasons why Switzerland is paradise for cyclists
Photo: Velomaerkte

Here are seven reasons you should own a bike in Switzerland:

1. Experience the country’s stunning landscapes at their best

Switzerland is arguably among the most beautiful countries in the world. It's one of the reasons that many expats choose to live there. Cycling is the best way to experience the country's stunning landscapes and enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside.

2. Get fit faster

For many expats living in Switzerland, embracing the Swiss lifestyle is all about getting fit and this can be easily achieved when cycling becomes part of a daily routine. Whether it’s cycling to and from work or exploring the countryside, cycling has many health benefits as it increases cardiovascular fitness and builds strength.

Find your perfect bike and start discovering cycling routes in Switzerland

Lake Uri. Credit: Velomaerkte

3. It’s great for the environment

Cycling is a pollution-free way to travel and it is better for the environment than driving a car or motorbike.

Swiss locals are increasingly eco-oriented, and given that cycling uses no fossil fuels, it is the perfect mode of transport for those wanting to minimise their carbon footprint.

4. Plenty of safe routes

Cycling in Switzerland is made easy with shared roads, designated bike paths and breathtaking cycling trails. Many minor roads and country lanes are private and closed to cars but accessible to cyclists, which means many mostly car-free routes.

For new and even experienced cyclists, finding the right bike for different routes can make a world of difference — that’s where the team at Velomaerkte stores can help.

Owned by environmentally-conscientious landscape researchers, these specialty bike stores offer cyclists the largest selection of bikes and in-depth advice on the best, and sometimes lesser-known, places to cycle in Switzerland.

5. No parking hassles

With limited car parking spots and a surge in the price of parking in Swiss cities, cyclists are the winners. City infrastructure is increasingly becoming more accommodating for cyclists, and not cars, so cycling is hands down the easiest way to get around in the city. 

Urner Alps from high above Lake Ägeri. Credit: Dominik Wolff

Visit Velomaerkte bike shop to start cycling in Switzerland

6. Make friends and discover new places in Switzerland

Swiss cyclists are among the most open-minded in the native population. Joining them on two wheels will ease making friends and integrating.

But also cycling with other expats is a great way to connect and build a sense of community while discovering new places in Switzerland.

Velomaerkte bike stores are owned and run by expat teams; they can offer a bike discount as well as advice on the best cycling routes to explore with your friends.

Soon they will also offer guided cycling tours specifically for expats in the Zurich, Zug and Basel areas – from easy family tours to advanced ride outs. To find out more, sign up for the newsletter on their website.

Cycling routes with breathtaking views:

  • From Grafenort to Trübsee: For (e-)mountain bikers this route is an amazing way to experience the Swiss mountain landscape and the Alpine lake, Trübsee.

  • From Arth to Flüelen: Discover the historic villages of Arth and Flüelen, cycle by lakes Lauerz and Vierwaldstättersee and then travel back by boat.

  • From Turbenthal to Kyburg: Experience Zurich Oberland culture by cycling in this friendly region, enjoy the architecture and charming scenery.

Thurbental. Credit: Roman Babakin/Alamy Stock Photo

7. An excellent way to destress

Mindfulness and stress reduction are important for mental wellbeing, and cycling is the perfect way to escape the daily grind.

Cycling out of Swiss towns and cities to unwind is as easy as finding a Swiss map and peddling away. Unlike in other world cities, Swiss cities are often so close to the countryside, so many locals even go for an evening ride to the countryside after work.

Cycling offers gorgeous views of the Alps, lakes and rolling countryside – a perfect opportunity to send a picturesque postcard photo back home.

Below are two of the favourite cycling routes of the Velomaerkte team:

  • Accessible from Zug and Zurich City: an easy and impressive ride high above and along lake Ägeri and Zug.

  • From Basel City: There are wonderful views over the Baselland region to be discovered on a ride from Pratteln up to Gempen and back down to Arlesheim.

View from Schauenburgfluh. Credit: wikiloc

If you’re keen on exploring Switzerland the local way, find out more about your best bike options by visiting the Velomaerkte website to see what bike discounts are on offer and locate your closest store to speak to a friendly bike expert in person. To check out details about the cycling routes pictured above, visit their Facebook page.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Velomaerkte.

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Three scenarios: How Switzerland plans to fight a Covid resurgence

Swiss government has devised three contingency plans that could be implemented to fight a new outbreak. What are they?

Three scenarios: How Switzerland plans to fight a Covid resurgence
Authorities want to prevent overcrowded hospitals if new wave comes. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Although Switzerland relaxed a number of coronavirus rules from June 26th and 28th, “the pandemic is not over”, as Health Minister Alain Berset said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Berset said Switzerland should not become complacent, with last summer a warning against feeling that the battle is won. 

He added, however, that the new wave is unlikely to be as large as the previous ones due to the country’s vaccination campaign.

This situation leaves a degree of uncertainty for which the government wants to be prepared as well as possible, Berset noted.

The Federal Council established a “just-in-case” procedure on Wednesday for three possible scenarios that could take place in the autumn and winter. 

These plans focus mainly on the rapid detection of variants and the continuation of vaccination, testing, and tracing.

The best-case scenario: status quo

In this scenario, the number of cases remains at a low level, though small outbreaks are still possible.

The number of infections may increase slightly due to seasonal factors — the virus is known to spread slower in summer and faster in autumn and winter—  but does not place a significant burden on the health system.

If this happens, no measures beyond those already in place would be necessary.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland lifting its Covid-19 restrictions too quickly?

Not so good: more contaminations

In this second scenario, there is an increase in the number of cases in autumn or winter.

There may be several reasons for this, for example the large proportion of unvaccinated people, seasonal effects — people tend to stay indoors together in cold weather, and contaminations are easier — or the appearance of new, more infectious variants.

This situation could overburden the health system and require the reintroduction of certain measures, such as the obligation to wear a mask outdoors.

Booster vaccinations may also be necessary.

The worst: new virus mutations

In scenario three, one or more new variants appear, against which the vaccine or the post-recovery immunity are less effective or no longer effective.

A new wave of pandemic emerges, requiring strong intervention by the public authorities and a new vaccination.

Which of the three scenarios is most likely to happen?

The government hasn’t said, but judging by the comments of health officials, the latter two are the strongest contenders.

Firstly, because the highly contagious Delta mutation, which is spreading quickly through many countries, is expected to be dominant in Switzerland within a few weeks.

It is expected that the virus will spread mostly to those who are not vaccinated and, to a lesser degree, to people who have only had one shot of the vaccine, according to Andreas Cerny, epidemiologist at the University of Bern

READ MORE: How Switzerland plans to contain the Delta variant

Another concern is related to the appearance of the new variants which could be as or possibly even more contagious than Delta and not as responsive to the current vaccines.

The government said the best chance of avoiding the second or third scenarios is to ensure people are vaccinated. 

“Widespread vaccination of the population is crucial to relieve the burden on the healthcare system and to manage the epidemic. A possible increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the autumn will largely depend on the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated,” the government wrote in a press statement.

The government has also indicating it is preparing for booster vaccinations to take place in 2022 and are encouraging cantons to keep their vaccine infrastructures in place.