Like last year the month August was cloudy and rainy, and the prospect for cycling in the Alps was not very promising. September did not seem to get better, until the weather broadcasts predicted some sunny days ahead.

7. Sept. 07 I fastened the panniers onto my bicycle and was ready to start the annual alpine cycle tour.

After 9 days I was back again, without seeing a drop of rain.

Ascent to the Glaubenbielen

Arriving the summit

Lungerensee in the Morningfog

Friday 7.Sept. 07 Bremgarten - Lungern 126.18 km. Daily height: 1619 m.
With some morning fog I leave Bremgarten direction Luzern and the valley "Entlebuch". In Wolhusen I take my first break.

In Schüpfheim I turn left and follow the river "Waldemme". At a leisurely pace I cycle 19 km. to Sörenberg with about 4% ascent. From here the elevation increases, with approximately 10% upward gradient and now it looks more like a pass I'm cycling on. The road gets narrow, but the road surface is good.

The Glaubenbieler pass is at 1611 Meter. Unfortunately, on the other side is fog. The way down is called panorama route, which I can only enjoy partly due to the fog. I can imagine, the view on the Lungerensee must be fantastic. After many curves and approximatly 700 m descending, I get sight of the Sarnersee.

The Sarnersee is at 469 m. i.e. I rushed down 1100 meters. Now I have to cycle up 200 m. to get to the Lungerensee.

I pitch my tent at the Lake in Lungern. In the restaurant of the campground I spend the remaining evening with my tent neighbour Gery from Colorado (USA). He makes a tour through Europe with his motorcycle.

Review of Lungerensee

Brünig summit


Descent of the Brünig pass

Bridge over the river Simme


Kajaking on the Simme

Saturday 8.Sept.07 Lungern - Zweisimmen 89.96 km. = totally 216.14 kilometers.
Daily height 933 m. = totally 2552 height

At the end of Lungern the slope begins with a gradient of 8 to 10% up to the Brünigpass.

It is a good decision to start early in the morning. I have to share the road with the cars without a shoulder. I have to be careful and cycle on the extremely right side of the road. Halfway is a viewpoint which offers a fantastic panorama on the Lake of Lungern.

On the summit I meet a hiker from Basel and find that we have much in common about nature, hobby and spare time. After a short, however interesting conversation we go our own ways.

A short descent to Brienz and the route becomes flat. Via Interlaken and Spiez, I turn left toward the Valley of Niedersimmental. To Zweisimmen (40 km) the elevation is only 300 meters. Sometimes I stop to observe kayakers. It is long ago, but I can still remember places I got down this river with my kayak.

View from the Saanenmöser

Ascent to the Col du Pillon

Canton and language border

Between Aigle und Martiny

Les Diablerets

The first grape vines at Aigle

Sunday 9.Sept. 07 Zweisimmen - Martiny 89.98 km. = totally 306.12 kilometers
Daily height 1080 m = totally 3632 meters

Cycling 7 km. and 300 meters ascend, direction west, and I'm on the Saanenmöser with a beautiful view on the Waadländer mountains. 8 km. downhill and I get view of Gstaad.

I'm Lucky to find a baker's shop on this Sunday morning, to get breakfast with fresh rolls and coffee.
I cycle along the young river Saane with only little upward gradient to Gsteig. From here the ascent to the Col du Pillon begins.

On such a beautiful autumn Sunday I am not surprised to find many people on the Col du Pillon. Many motorbikes, cars and coaches are parked. A funicular goes up to the Sex Rouge at 2971 metre. (I think it must be a name of the mountain peak.) The Col is also the language border to the French part of Switzerland.

1100 metres downhill via Les Diablerets to Aigle is a fantastic ride. In Martiny I pitch my tent for the night.

Left and right grape vines


In close proximity to Leuk

Sunny Wallis

Schlosshotel in Brig

Monday 10. Sept. 07 Martiny - Brig 90.16 km. = totally 396.28 kilometers
Daily height 447 m. = totally 4079 meters

It will be an easy day to ride up the river Rhone to Brig. The mandatory wind that blows up the valley, which will increase in the afternoon, will help.
Getting up late in the morning I first have breakfast in the city before continue on. The blue skies and tailwind add to the fact that it will be a successful day.

Many times I stop to take photos e.g. Sion with its two hills, one with a castle, and the other with a ruin.

On the left and on the right of the valley the slopes are planted with grapevines.

The way leads partially through the grape vines, which are now ripe. The temptation to try a cluster is great and I have to take a break sometimes.

Between Sierre and Salgesch I arrive in the German part of Switzerland again. The street signs in Salgesch are written in German.

Close to Leuk I meet a like-minded German cyclist. His bike is heavily loaded. In his panniers he carries 30 kilo up and down the mountains. His kitchenware and food make up the 10 kilos difference to mine.

In Brig I set up my tent and go to the city for supper.

View of Wallis from the Simplon valley

Berisal with Ganterbridge

Ganter valley

Reconstuction of the Ganterbridge

The new Hospiz on the Simplon summit

Right at the top of the Simplon.

Simplon pass

The old Hospiz

Tuesday 11 September 07 Brig - Mergozzo (Italy) 96.77 km. = totally 493.05 kilometers
Daily height 1358 m. = totally 5437 meters

At the campground in Brig the Simpon pass road starts with an average from 7 to 10% ascent. After two short tunnels I reach the 700 meters long Ganterbridge. Here I have to use the old road as a by-pass road (1.5 km.). The bridge (built in1980, now being renovated until 2008) is passable only in one direction.

From Berisal I have a magnificent view over the Rhone valley. Via Rothwald I cycle through long galleries to the summit (2009 M). The all-round visibility is really fantastic.

During a break on the pass I admire the new Hospiz and the oversized eagle on top of a hill.

Both the ascent and the descent is one of the most beautiful passes I know. The descent starts rapidly in the beginning. After a few km I stop at the Old Hospiz to take a photo and fill my water bottles at a well.

The next 20 km to Gondo are less steep. In Gondo (The border to Italy) I take a break to find out how beautifully rebuilt the village is, after the natural disaster in the year 2000.

Before Mergozzo I come to an inn, where hot food is served (in northern Italy starting from 18.30). With table neighbours from Germany I have an interesting discussion about Piemont where they spend there holidays each year.

At "Lago delle Fato" I set up the tent for the night.

Stockalphornturm in Gondo

Gondo gorge

Church in Gondo

Simplon village

Bridge at Iselle (Italien)

After the departure or the Simplon

Wednesd. 12 Sept. 07 Mergozzo - Aquarossa (Bleniotal) 119.53 km. = totally 612.58 km.
Daily height 561 m. = totally 5998 m
Along the Lago Maggiore I reach the border to Swizerland again and take a breake in Ascona. The sun accompanies me again like each day of my round trip.

The way from Ascona to Biasca (40 km.), I cycle on cycle paths. I cycle along the lake, then the Magadino plain to Bellinzona and the Riviera valley to Biasca.

In Biasca there are two possibilities to get over the Alps. One via Airolo over the Gotthard pass, (Tremola) and another via Olivone over the Lukmanier. I decide for the second variant because in spring I cycled the Tremola when I came back from Greece.

I cycle another few km. up the Blenio valley to the campground of Aquarossa.

View over Lago Maggiore


40 Km cycle path from Locarno to Biasca

Osogna in the Riviera plain

Quarry at Biasca

Thursday 13.Sept. 07 Aquarossa - Disentis 48.53 km. = totally 661.11 km.
Daily height 1439 m. = totally 7437 M.

It must have been cold last night, because the tent is completely wet on the inside from condensation. As soon as the sun is warm enough I will dry it while having a picnic.

It is 8° C when leaving the campground at 10 am. The valley is narrow and the sun will appear in the afternoon.

I take it easy today. To Disentis it is only about 50 km., apart from the upward gradient to the Lukmanier

In Olivone I take a first coffee break and enjoy the sun on a terrace. I'm warmed up thanks to the first 350 m elevation from Aquarossa and now I'm prepared for the next 1000 m. to the summit, with an upward gradient of maximal 8%.

Before I reach the summit I have a picnic and spread my tent to dry it in the sun. From my picnic place I have a fantastic view on the Valle Santa Maria. I am glad motorized traffic is nearly absent today. From time to time I see a car or a motorcycle. That is traffic I can live with.

The summit is not at the Hospiz San Marie and restaurant, but in the 2 km. long gallery to Disentis.

Last year I crossed the Lukmanier from Disentis. I get a completely different impression now in reverse direction. Beautifully the villages are embedded on the slopes of the valley e.g. Acla, Medel or Curaglia.

In Disentis I am addressed by a former work colleague, who makes holidays with here daughter and grandchildren. In the restaurant we converse in Dutch, because she originally comes from Antwerp.

I order the Bündner speciality Capuns and a large beer. Unfortunately this wonderful dish is not available anywhere else except of Graubünden.

Ascent to the Lukmanier

Church in Aquila

Clear drinking-water

Review of the Bleniovalley

Luckmanier Pass

Artificial lake

Drying the tent

Valley of Medel (Curaglia)

Picturesque villages

but hard work

Friday 14. Sept.07 Disentis - Goldau 91.51 km. = totally 752.62 km.
Daily height 1247 m. = totally 8684 M
Today I cycle up the young Rhine Valley and come near the source of the Rhine, the lake Toma. To reach the Lake Toma I would have to walk another 2 hours,

The Oberalp pass has always been an important transition to the east of Switzerland. That means more traffic. From Disentis to the summit is 20 km. with an upward gradient of up to 10% and 900m elavation. The distance (4km) from Sedrun to Rueras is flat.

It is a little cloudy today, however the weather forecast promises no rain. On the pass I change my clothes and start with the descent.

I have been here a few times and don't rank the Oberalp pass with the most beautiful. I cycle along a 2 km mountain lake and enter into a long gallery for train, cars and bicycles. To Andermatt it is eleven km. with 10% ascent and many hairpin curves.

I cycle down the Schöllenen ravine, take a break at the devil bridge and go via Göschenen to Wassen. Here I meet a group of Dutch racing cyclists who come to Switzerland every year to cycle in the Swiss mountains. They leave Wassen going west over the Sustenpass and at Innertkirchen left to the Grimselpass.

I continue my way via the Axenstrasse to Brunnen. Fortunately, the Axenstrasse now, is better expanded for cyclist i.e. the Part of Uri. The Schwyzer distance is still dangerous. At Lake Lauerz I have supper and cycle to the campground on the Bernese mountain in Buosingen, between Lauerz and Goldau.

With the landslide 200 years ago a Bernese wedding couple died, the campground owner told me. Therefore the name "Bernese mountain". I checked on the computer and read that at 2. September 1806 the villages Goldau, Röhten and a part of Buosingen got destroyed by 40 million m³ rocks and soil. Here 457 humans found their death. It has been the largest natural catastrophe of modern times in Switzerland. Regarding the Bernese wedding couple I found nothing. This story was probably invented in a pub over a glass of beer.

Ascent to the Oberalp pass

Tschamut last village before summit

On top of the Oberalp

Blick auf das Urserental mit Andermatt

The devil bridge with river Reuss

The famous church of Wassen

Newly built bridge and trail in honour of "125 year Gotthard railway"

View of the Axenstrasse on the Urnersee and railwaytracks at Sisikon

Saturday 15.Sept. 07 Goldau - Bremgarten 47.42 km. = totally 800.04 km.
Daily height 175 m. = totally 8859 M.

I leave Goldau early in the morning. I want to be home at noon. I enjoy the silence along the Zugersee on this early Saturday morning.
In Zug I have breakfast and take the cycle tracks along the Reuss. I open the front door and the church-bells of Bremgarten ring "high noon ".

The ammed Reuss is a bird reservation

Morning fog on Zugersee

Still peace at Zugersee

Home again in Bremgarten