Frequently Asked Questions 


Independent Tour Questions

That depends on your personality and your motivations. If you don’t like groups, or if you are planning an adventurous honeymoon, or if a small group of buddies are looking to re-connect, then the Independent Tour option is a good choice. Those doing an independent tour should be comfortable with navigating and changing a flat, otherwise no special skills are required.

The group dynamics: you meet new people, ride with others, share drinks, stories and insights at the end of the day.

The services are also different: the guided tours include all but two meals, special events, certain train rides, mechanical support, luggage van and expert guides.

Otherwise the bikes, route and hotels are the same, with a few exceptions: The independent Challenge Tour does not go through Wengen, but stays on Lake Brienz.

This is because independent tours do not usually have an “off day”, However, independent riders can chose to have an “off day” and the same itinerary for a supplement.

On our Lite Tour, we put our independent guests in a very nice hotel in the center of Murten to give them time to explore the medieval city.

Our guided tour stays in a chateau outside of town, which can be a little isolated if you are not in a group. However, we can put you here if you request it. You will find pictures of hotels with descriptions for each day of the tour on the website.

If arriving in Geneva by air, you’ll get a free transport ticket inside the luggage terminal and take the train from the airport to Geneva main station. This main station is just one stop from the airport.

Your hotel is a 30-second walk from the train station and our shop is just a 4-minute walk from the hotel !

An information packet will be waiting for you at the hotel reception, and we’ll have made plans to meet at a pre-determined time to do your bicycle fitting and go over the materials.

We work with a transport company which will move your luggage from stage to stage. The company requires you to have your luggage at the reception at 9 a.m. and delivers the luggage to your hotel by 5:30 p.m., and often before.

Yes. Each rider is allowed one piece of baggage. If it is a family tour and a discount is applied, then two children must share a suitcase. The baggage must be standard size luggage (all dimensions not to exceed 62 inches) and the bag should not weigh over 50 pounds (23kg).

No problem. The hotel in Geneva will keep it in storage for you, or we will store it at our facility in Geneva for you to pick up on your return.

We can also arrange to transfer your extra luggage by train to your final destination in Switzerland.

Bike Switzerland offers luxury without pretension. Our Standard Tour hotels are all normally 3 or 4 star quality, typically Swiss and located in magnificent settings. We realize that your accommodations are an extremely important part of your experience and we’ve gone out of our way to find some great places to stay. For our independent tours we try to use the same hotels as we do in our guided tours. This is not usually a problem, but when we are unable to do this, we always find you a hotel of the same quality.

If you’re doing the Lite Tour or the Challenge Tour, then you’ll have a choice of our own Bike Switzerland hybrid or touring bike. Both bikes have the gearing and wheels you’ll need for the tough climbs and occasional gravel that you’ll encounter. Both bikes comes with your choice of pedals and all the other accessories found on “Our Bikes” page.

If you’re doing the Alpine Tour or the Jura Tour, then you’ll have the choice of the same bikes mentioned above, or you may also reserve one of our Trek racing bikes for a supplement.

Of course, you can also bring your own bike. If you do this, we’ll assemble your bike and store your bike boxes at no charge.

We also have one tandem bike in our fleet that may be available for these two tours.

Some riders choose to bring their own seat for optional comfort. Otherwise, our bicycles come with a choice of pedals: Flat, SPD, SPD-SL or Look Keo

If you’re doing an independent bicycle tour, then you’re expected to be able to repair a flat and make the kind of minor adjustments which may be needed on a week long ride. That said, all of our bikes are completely cleaned and serviced after each ride, so there shouldn’t be any problems. In the event of something more serious (for example, a bent rim resulting from a fall), give us a call and we will direct you to the nearest bike shop and even call a taxi for you. In this unlikely event, you would assume the costs of repairs, etc..

You’ll certainly take a wrong turn or two, but you’ll be fine. You’ll have a bicycle GPS system, a set of maps and the route is sign-posted at almost every turn. You can also reach us by telephone in case of serious problems.

That’s fine. You may not even use it. However, we’ll be spending 2 or 3 hours with you the day before the briefing to make sure you feel comfortable with the GPS, maps and itinerary.

We’ll send you a complete packing list 4-5 weeks before your ride. As for your bike gear, we supply handlebar bags, seat-post bags, lock, repair kit, pump, helmet and bike tools.

Breakfasts are included, but no other meals.

An inexpensive dish in a restaurant will cost around 25 francs. Most of our hotels have a restaurant which offer a 1/2 board option and this is usually around 35 Chf.

If you like, we can tell the hotels that you will take the 1/2 board. In this case,  you would pay the hotel directly before checking out. A more lavish meal outside the hotel with several courses and a bit of wine or beer will cost around 50 francs.

Yes. If you’re doing the Challenge Tour, we can store your bicycle in Interlaken and reserve your hotel in Wengen which is right on the hiking paths of the Jungfrau region. The cost of this is 300 Chf per person and includes the train tickets to Wengen, bike storage, bike rental and hotel.

It’s also possible to add a hiking day to the Jura, Lite or Alpine tour for 170 Chf per person.

Yes, you can add days in the middle of your tour for 170 chf per person. This price includes hotel, breakfast and extra day of bike rental and services.

You’ll drop it off at the train station and it will be shipped back to Geneva. No worries.

The following conditions apply:
• Children must share a room with their parents.
• There must be at least one adult for each child on the trip.
• Children must share suitcase with their parents, or two children must share one suitcase for luggage transfers.

General Questions

We’re small group of enthusiastic cyclists living in Geneva, Switzerland. Our goal is to help cyclists discover Switzerland. We work in close collaboration with local Swiss authorities and establishments to provide our guests with an authentic Swiss biking experience. More information here.

We did our first tour in 2004. The summer of 2017 will mark our 13-year anniversary !
We plan to announce our 2018 tours schedule the end of September.
The Lite Tour has eight days of riding with a day off for hiking. The itinerary will take you across the entire country and covers around 450 kilometers with no real climbing, (we stick to the meadows and valleys with the mountains always nearby.)

We begin in Geneva and end in Rorschach. The itinerary crosses Switzerland from west to east on national bikes routes.

We’ll cycle along rivers, lakes and through many small villages. The itinerary was designed for cyclists with some bicycle touring experience, but who would prefer to have time left at the end of the day for relaxation and some sightseeing. All overnights are spent in interesting villages.

The Challenge Tour has 7 days of cycling with a day off for hiking in Wengen. The itinerary will take you across the entire country and covers around 600 kilometers.

There is approximately 5,000 meters of climbing on this tour, which means that cyclists should expect some good climbs on most days.
We’ll encounter many lakes and forests on this route and when you do climb, you’ll always be rewarded with stunning views and deep vistas.

The itinerary was designed for experienced cyclists who would like to push themselves with a bit of climbing. Although the distances do not seem long on paper, cyclists should keep in mind that the climbs, paths and changing scenery and terrain will make a 85 km day seem more like a 120 km day.

Of course, our support vehicle and train system will be nearby in case you encounter difficulties. We overnight in villages, cities and the countryside on this tour.

The Jura Tour goes through the Swiss and French Jura mountains. This tour has 9 days of cycling with one day off in Basel for rest and sightseeing.

The Jura Tour’s itinerary is a loop. We begin in Geneva and go north to Basel on the Swiss side, and then return south to Geneva on the French side.

The route is approximately 700 kilometers (435 miles) with almost 7,000 meters of climbing.
It’s a difficult itinerary with lots of elevation. Only experienced cyclists who enjoy long days of cycling should register for the tour.

For western Europe, the jura is an isolated region and sparsely populated, so all of our overnights are in small hotels and auberges in villages or the middle of the countryside, with the exception of our day off in Basel.

The Alpine Tour goes across the country through some of the most famous mountain passes of Switzerland.

The tour has 8 days of cycling with one day off in the middle. After your orientation in Geneva, you’ll take a boat across the lake to France and begin climbing.

The route is approximately 580 kilometers (360 miles) with almost 8,400 meters of climbing.
It’s a difficult itinerary with lots of elevation. Only experienced cyclists who enjoy long climbs should register.

The itinerary is quite diverse, but apart from your overnight in the small city of Thun, you’ll be traveling through sparsely populated regions and most of your overnights will be in small hotels and auberges in villages or in the middle of the countryside.

Lite Tour: You will be ready for this tour if you have ridden at least 700 kilometers in the year of the tour. You should feel comfortable on the saddle for 3 to 4 hours a day and for at least an hour at a time.

We don’t expect you to be a super athlete…if you are an athlete, then it will be an enjoyable walk in the park. However, you should definitely be a proficient cyclist: this means feeling at ease on a bicycle (balance, riding technique, etc)…it may sound silly to say all this, but every year we have people on our rides who are not completely comfortable with a bicycle. If you’re new to riding a bicycle, then a week-long cycling vacation is not a good idea.

Although relatively flat, there are some small, but long grades and so you should also be prepared to do a bit of climbing. Nothing too serious, but you should incorporate hills into your training. If you haven’t done a multi-day bike tour before, then at a minimum do a few 40-60 km rides on consecutive days.

Challenge Tour: You should plan on having at least 1,000 tough kilometers under your belt by the time you begin the tour and feel comfortable on the saddle for 6 hours a day and for at least 90 minutes at a time.

You should be athletic and feel very comfortable on a bicycle. If you’re a serious athlete of any age, then the tour will be enjoyable and not too difficult. If you’re in all-around good shape, then the tour will be a Challenge and that’s fine ! You shouldn’t consider doing this tour, however, if you’re not fit and don’t enjoy pushing yourself.

Riders should be prepared for some short, but steep climbs throughout the day. If you’re not used to climbing, then incorporate some into your training. You should also definitely try to do some multi-day rides into your training so that your legs know what 7 days of biking feels like.

Unless you’re a professional cyclist, you won’t think that the ride is easy.
We designed the Jura Tour for our past riders who wanted something even more intense than the Challenge Tour. So, if this is your first tour with us, maybe consider doing “The Challenge” first ?

That said, anyone who would like to do the tour should be in excellent shape and ready for lots of climbing. Unlike the other two itineraries, there is no convenient train transport to get you up and over the humps.
You’ll need to do the whole day every day and there is no guarantee of perfect weather. Of course, there is the support vehicle in case of an emergency, but it is not meant to be a sag wagon on this tour.

Riders should also keep in mind that we’ll be biking for 9 days, (with one day off in the middle), so all cyclists on this trip should know what a week of hard cycling feels like. We don’t mean to scare you ! Riders who are fit and ready will have an incredible experience cycling through some of the most pristine countryside in all of Europe.

We designed this tour for riders who like to climb. The tour is two days shorter than the Jura Tour, but with 1000 meters more of climbing, so it’s our most intense tour.

Anyone doing the tour should be in excellent shape and ready for lots of climbing. There is no convenient train transport to get you up and over the humps.

You’ll need to do the whole day every day and there is no guarantee of perfect weather. Of course, on our guided tours there is the support vehicle in case of an emergency, but it is not meant to be a sag wagon.

All cyclists on this trip should know what a week of hard cycling without a rest feels like. We don’t mean to scare you ! Riders who are fit and ready will have an incredible experience cycling through some of the most pristine countryside in all of Europe.

Non-riding spouses will have a wonderful trip: riding the train, hiking the hills, shopping in the villages and relaxing at the hotel.

Unfortunately, this is only possible on our Lite and Challenge tours. The Jura tour and Alpine tour are going through more isolated regions and riding the train from overnight to overnight is not practical.

If you’re doing the Lite Tour or the Challenge Tour, then you’ll have a choice of our own Bike Switzerland hybrid or touring bike. Both bikes have the gearing and wheels you’ll need for the tough climbs and occasional gravel that you’ll encounter. Both bikes comes with your choice of pedals and all the other accessories found on “Our Bikes” page.

If you’re doing the Alpine Tour or the Jura Tour, then you’ll have the choice of the same bikes mentioned above, or you may also reserve one of our Trek racing bikes for a supplement.

Of course, you can also bring your own bike. If you do this, we’ll assemble your bike and store your bike boxes at no charge.

If you’re a cyclist with an extra tender tush, you may consider bringing your own saddle (without seat post).

You’ll be given a complete packing list once you’re signed up for the tour.

Yes. In Europe, you will seldom see a cyclist on the road without one. We can supply you with a helmet for the tour at no charge, so there is no need to bring your own.

The Lite and Challenge Tours go by various train stations 2-4 times each day. Riders would therefore be able to take the train should they want to shorten the day’s mileage. During the orientation, guests will be shown how to put their bikes on the train and how to purchase tickets. Using the trains in this way is also possible for the Jura Tour and Alpine Tour, but less. The Jura Tour and Alpine Tour go through regions where the train network is less dense.

Guests are responsible for paying for their own train tickets. If travelling in a group, your guide may pay for everyone’s tickets. In this case, (s)he will keep the tickets and you will be expected to reimburse him/her at the end of the trip. Guests taking the train to make a “half-day” should expect to pay 20 to 35 Chf per ticket.

Although most participants come with a friend or in small groups, we do encourage solo-travelers to join us since the camaraderie will allow you to make friends fast.

If you come alone, you will need to pay a 700 Chf supplement for a single room. Upon request, we will try to find you a same-sex roommate, but we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.

We also have a “Deluxe Single Supplement”. This simply means that riders will receive a standard double room for the surcharge, rather than a smaller room with single bed. The cost of this supplement is 1000 Chf.

Again, Bike Switzerland believes in being very clear about policy so that there are no eventual misunderstandings. For this reason, please note the following:

  • Participants arriving late or leaving early receive no refunds or rebates unless agreed upon beforehand.
  • Single supplements are considered as part of the trip price and are therefore subject to cancellation fees.
  • Bike Switzerland reserves the right to make route and hotel changes if necessary.
  • In the very exceptional case of Bike Switzerland cancelling a trip due to low enrolment, participants will receive a full refund of all payments received to date.

Participants must sign the Release of Liability form and the Assumption of All risks and Arbitration Agreement.

Go to the “Book a tour” page to begin the process. You will pay a 600 Swiss Franc deposit per person to reserve a space on our ride.

Credit cards are accepted through our site. If you are from the USA, we can arrange for you to pay by check to an account in the USA.

You will be notified by email when your payment is received and you’ll receive shortly thereafter an application and welcome materials.

The balance for your trip is due three months before Day One of your trip. Again, the balance can be paid by check, credit card or bank transfer. Your balance should include any extras that you’ll be needing (Extra night in Geneva, etc.)

Should you decide to cancel, and if there is a waiting list, Bike Switzerland will simply transfer your tour to a different person(s) of our choice and there will be an administrative charge of 100 Swiss Francs. If there is not a waiting list for your ride, we will apply the following refunds.

  1. Each person cancelling more than 90 days before Day One of the tour will forfeit 300 Swiss Francs of their deposit.
  2. Each person cancelling 61-90 days before Day One of the tour will forfeit their deposit.
  3. Persons cancelling 31-60 days before Day One of the tour will receive a refund minus 50% of the trip price.
  4. Persons cancelling 30 days or less before Day One will receive no refund.
  5. In order to avoid loss of funds, riders may choose to transfer their ride to another person of their choice for an administrative fee of 200 Chf. Such a transfer must be made at least 30 days before the tour unless special permission is granted. Bike Switzerland reserves the right to refuse any such transfer if the participant substituted is deemed unacceptable for any reason.
  6. Note: All prices include 8% Swiss VAT

Yes. Bike Switzerland is not liable for bodily injury or property damage as a result of (but not limited to) participants’ physical exertion. Bike Switzerland is also not liable for property damage or bodily damage as a result of forces of nature; travel by plane, train, auto, bike, boat or other transportation. Bike Switzerland is not liable for accidents caused by consumption of alcoholic beverages; civil unrest; terrorism; breakdown of equipment; high altitude; lack of or limited access to medical attention in remote locations; and the adequacy of medical attention once provided. Bike Switzerland is also not liable for expenses not specified as included in the trip, but which may be required to get to or from a trip start or end. Bike Switzerland reserves the right to make route and hotel modifications as necessary for the comfort and safety of participants. Bike Switzerland may take photographs or make film records of its trips for promotional and commercial use, as well as approving such use by third parties without financial remuneration.

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