With more and more mountain passes closing off to allow for cycling events, Switzerland Tourism has launched a dedicated platform, Ride the Alps, which lists the various events around the country between May and September.
The site provides a full run-down of the selected mountain passes around the country that will be closed off to motorists from May to September, allowing access only to cyclists.
13 set dates have been established over the five-month period, where cyclists can take advantage of the free roads.
Mark Wettstein, Director of Switzerland Tourism AU & NZ, says thanks to increasing concerns over health and fitness, environmental factors and of course, the attraction of the Tour de France, cycling tours and holidays in Switzerland have been steadily on the rise over the last decade or so.
“With the Tour de France taking place in various parts of Switzerland in 2016 and for the 3rd time in the history of the internationally renowned cycling race, the option to explore the country on two wheels have no doubt been positively impacted, he says. “As such, various popular cycling regions have decided to give cyclists the best possible Swiss alpine experience, granting them exclusive access to and through some of the most scenic alpine passes.”
It’s been reported that almost 2 million visitors to Switzerland cycle during their holidays; and of this, about 45% prefer city bikes, almost 30% go for e-bikes and road bicycles, while the reminder amount for mountain-bikers.
As one of the most cycle-friendly countries in the world, Switzerland has had its infrastructure for this niche down pat. Featuring a series of bike hotels, bike-storing facilities on their public transportation system and a comprehensive network of cycling routes, Switzerland’s rising popularity among cyclists is inevitable.
Some of the traditionally popular alpine cycling routes include the Gotthard region, the Valais, and the Vaud Alps. Now, cyclists can fully explore other alpine regions around the country sans motor traffic.
The country’s natural beauty and assets aside, panoramic rail journeys, unique accommodation options and a host of competitions and events often complement the cycling experience.
For this first year, up to 26,000 cyclists are forecasted to ‘ride the alps’ over the five months. The event is set to continue every year after its launch this year.