Out and About: Cycling in Autumn

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October 11, 2021

Even though the long summer days are behind us, now is not the time to put your bike in the cave. In fact, autumn is one of the best seasons for riding.

If you plan it right, and yes, it does take a balance of good planning and a dash of luck, you can find yourself spoilt on rides made up of magical moments that exceed your wildest expectations. After all, the foliage is bursting with color, temperatures ideal and your summer fitness should have you pedaling about in search of adventure. Therefore, here are a couple of tips, tricks and routes to make sure that you’re ready for finishing the cycling season on a high.

Routes

The Lavaux

Any cycling trip out of Lausanne should include the Lavaux. Although the gradient tends to go up it is the ideal playground for a tour on an ebike or road bike and the Corniche is the climb of reference for local riders. Here are 2 rides that start and finish with the Lavaux and then explore the countryside around and behind Mt. Pelerin. The shorter loop is perfect for a non cyclist on an ebike who is looking to get out and about.

Pied du Jura

A close to home loop that offers views of the lake and the Jura whilst riding along quiet country roads. This is a route proposed by the SuisseMobile App and follows the red signs marking route number 473 .

A tour through Mont-sur-Rolle

The road from Aubonne to Bougy Villars is just stunning and therefore makes this ride totally worth it.

Valais

Fingers crossed that this year will be an Indian Summer and if it is, then there’s nothing better than a trip to the Valais. With numerous climbs that end in cul de sacs, and therefore have minimal road traffic, the Valais is a cyclist’s dream. Check out Derborence, the Barrage de Tsuezier, the Sanetsch or the Barrage d’Emosson for some spectacular climbs with great views.  Just keep an eye on the weather!

Other route suggestions:

Although you will need to manually transfer or create your route on a route planning app such as Komoot, bike itineraries abound in Switzerland. Just follow the red signs, or check out the SuisseMobile app, and you’ll be sure to find routes that are best suited for cycling with minimal traffic.

Additionally, this cyclist website offers an abundance of local resources and ideas about routes, gear, and events.

Weather (tips for hikers as well):

Clearly, the biggest obstacle to autumnal riding is the weather. While checking the MeteoSuisse App is a good place to start when planning an outing, it doesn’t give you all of the necessary info. Yes, the radar map is essential for seeing where it’s going to rain and the app provides reliable temperatures and winds.

However, the best complementary info (only available in French, German or Italian) can be gleaned from the Bulletin Météo. Here you’ll find information about the formation of the all too depressing stratus clouds that make it grey and miserable in Lausanne whilst it’s sunny and beautiful in Epalinges. Additionally, there is important information about temperatures at different altitudes in the mountains because sometimes, if the foehn is blowing the right way it can be warm verging on outright balmy at higher altitudes. Last year for example, it was chilly in the valley but a summery 20° at 2000 meters on November 2nd!

Bike rental:

For the non cyclist it’s not easy to find a bike rental option for the day, much less for e-bikes. Therefore if you’re looking to get out exploring on an e-bike, you can easily reserve them online for pickup at the train station through the CFF. Full day rental of an e-bike is about 55 CHF with a half day until 13h30 being 37 CHF

Preparation:

As the weather can be finicky, make sure to have the appropriate kit for a day out, including a gilet or windbreaker in case it gets chilly and wet. Also now that the days are getting shorter and the light a little flatter, it never hurts to have a front and rear flashing light to make sure that you are well visible to car traffic in case the ride goes a bit longer than expected.

Bike servicing:

Need to get your bike serviced or pick up some gear?

Head over to TNCE in Lausanne for repairs and accessories. Read our review here.

Or Cycles Dotti in Morges for bikes, repairs and gear.

Disclaimer: TLG doesn’t take any responsibility for the accuracy of route suggestions, maps or actual road conditions. All road laws should be followed. Routes are purely suggestive.

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