Wednesday, August 26, 2009

25 kilometers? A Swiss 4-year-old could do it!

On Sunday, my Facebook status said, "Biked 25 k". One of my friends in the U.S. commented, "wow, what are you training for?"

The answer? Nothing. A 25-50k bike ride is just what thousands of normal Swiss citizens (and even some Swiss dogs) do almost every summer weekend thanks to a program called Slow Up. And they don't just ride on any road--they ride along sparkling blue lakes, through the Alps, and sometimes through multiple countries (there's a Liechtenstein/Switzerland ride every May). Plus, during the ride you get free (yes, I said FREE) apple juice, cheese (wouldn't be Switzerland without it), and granola bars. And participation is free. You won't get any more fun for free in this country.

Despite the fact that Switzerland has about 20 gazillion biking, in-line skating, and hiking trails, they want more. And so almost every Sunday during the summer, the Swiss authorities close off 25-50k of roads from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and this makes just about everyone happy--with the exception of drivers, that is.

It's amazing to see the level of fitness a normal Swiss citizen has. Biking and in-line skating in last Sunday's Slow Up were people everywhere from 4 years old to 80. A 25k bike/roller blade outing is nothing for most Swiss, evidenced by people doing it pushing/pulling everything from wheelchairs to baby carriages, to dogs in baby carriages. It is quite amazing.

I highly recommend joining one of these events in you're living in or visiting Switzerland. Bikes are available to rent at each event if you don't have one or don't want to bring yours on the train (each Slow Up is coordinated with Swiss public transportation). But don't forget to buy a ticket for your bike if you take it on the train. Bikes don't ride free and the conductor will check.

Next Sunday's Slow Up is along the Bodensee (Lake Constance). Check it out here.


Unknown said...

That is seriously awesome! Closed roads, rides that go through multiple countries, granola AND cheese. That's it, I'm looking for a job in Switzerland now. The best I have done was ride my bike from Illinois to Wisconsin and back. The only cheese I got was on my Jimmy John's sub.

mrsmac said...

awesome! is there a schedule some where for these?

Amanda said...

I am so glad you posted this. I've been wanting to do one of those rides since I heard about them last year. I can't believe I haven't done one yet!!

Chantal said...

Hi John, yeah, it is pretty awesome. I've been doing the rides for three years now and I love each one for the different landscapes I discover.

Mrsmac, click on the Slow Up link within my blog post and choose your preferred language when you get to the Slow Up home page (only German, French, and Italian) but you'll be able to read the schedule. Rides go until the end of September.

Hi Amanda, glad it helped. You should definitely do a ride. They're great. And free!

Bart said...

That would be great if that happened more here in the states. I'm actually starting the conversation about getting bike lanes put onto my street here...wonder how long that will take, lol!?

Jenni said...

If the MS 150 was in Switzerland it would be the MS I think it would be great fun and so very scenic!

Chantal said...

Hi Bart, that's great about campaigning for bike lanes! Us Americans have to start somewhere! Jenni, you would love biking here. With all your experience you could probably pass up some Swiss--unlike me!


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