My neighbour used to call me Le Peleton. Not that he was suggesting I had any special ability. It’s just that I’ve always enjoyed cycling as a great way to get around.
So when I discovered I was on the doorstep to one of Europe’s most popular bicycle routes, it was a must do. The ride goes around the entire edge of Lake Bodensee. I’d only left Bregenz at midday but by the end of the afternoon I had cycled from Austria, through Switzerland and ended up in Germany. And that was just day one. Only in Europe!
The 200km plus path winds through delightful medieval towns, romantic villages, sleepy looking towns and through expanses of vineyards and orchards. Mostly on bike paths, the ride takes in spectacular landscape alongside the lake against a backdrop of the Alps. You could take on the challenge in a day. But let’s be sensible here. While I did it over three days, most people would stretch it over a few extra days.
Despite the very flat nature of the ride, ebikes (electric bikes) are very popular to accommodate all fitness levels. Tour companies provide pre paid packages. But with the well signed path it’s easy to do it as self guided tour. While it would be helpful, you can do it as I did without a map and the occasional use of popular app, maps.me. With many places to stop for the night, the likes of bookings.com helps add to the flexibility of finding accommodation along the way.
Riding through the little villages, I first thought, wow there’s a lot doing this tour. But while the ride is extremely popular, most of these cyclists are locals. Where as in Oz, we’d take the car to go to the likes of the market, here they take their bike.
I saw a recent documentary where they found the most liveable cities are where they minimise the use of cars and encourage more walking and riding. Less incidence of asthma from car pollution, and reduced obesity from more activity. Makes sense.
The majority of riders around the lake were mainly in the more mature age bracket. Riders vary from groups to typically couples or solo riders. I had the pleasure of teaming up with an Austrian whom I met along the way. Thanks Herbert for your enjoyable company and all your local knowledge and translation assistance!
The most challenging part was actually after the lake ride. Cycling the 25 km back home over the mountain to the village of Egg. The bier at the local tavern made it all worthwhile though!
A fantastic way to see and experience a taste of Europe.
And a note to finish up a wonderful stay in Austria. Many thanks to the warm and generous hospitality of the Hiller family. Wunderbar!