Bologna to Zurich by bike_855km_9850m

This year we are visiting beautiful Switzerland. I have always wanted to visit this country after being told over and over that my own country Rwanda was the Switzerland of Africa. I could not imagine missing this opportunity. Below is the description on the whole trip and I will update it post the event.

In case you did not know, every year we have easier and harder roads, and you must choose accordingly. The tracks of the different stages differ in general regarding their length and the climb as well as the surface.
Track 1: Recommended for all kinds of bikes including road bikes. Only paved roads on the track. If short sections of the track are not paved, it will be no problem to cycle there even with thin road bike tires.
Shorter and less challenging than track 2.
Track 2: Recommended in particular for road bikes, as the distance is longer and more climbs than on track 1. If short sections of the track are not paved, it will be no problem to cycle there even with thin road bike tires.

Day 1: Bologna (IT) to Parma (IT)
After the traditional opening ceremony and team photos, the teams head out onto the track. The first day of the tour does not have major effort for the participants. You can even see the foothills of the Appenines in the distance, but for us it’s going completely flat through the beautiful Emilia-Romagna region. About halfway we reach Modena, which is ideal for a longer stopover and well known for its Balsamico vinegar. Later the day we reach Reggio Emilia before we continue to our first stage destination in Parma, the home of Parma ham and Parmesan cheese.
Track 2 detours at the beginning of the stage into the Apennines hills. With maximum 400 m height this is an ideal warm up for all track 2 cyclists.
Route character: flat (track 1), wavy (track 2)

Day 2: Parma (IT) to Montichiari (IT)
Today it’s again completely flat all day on our way through the Po valley. The slightly rising landscape towards the stage location in Montichari is almost unnoticeable. We cross the mighty river Po, which shapes this landscape significantely. We will spend the night in Montichiari, which was already a stage location for the GBI Europe tour back in 2019. Next to our camp there is the Velodromo Fassa Bortolo, a famous indoor cycling track with a long history.
On track 2 we are discovering the region with a longer distance, but not much hillier.
Route character: flat (track 1 & 2)

Day 3: Montichiari (IT) to Gorgonzola (IT)
Shortly after setting off in the morning we reach Breschia, a town also worth seeing and a good opportunity for a coffee stop. At the latest here the mountains in the north come into sight. Fortunately, we are pedalling in parallel to the mountain range, so that there are still no challenges expected for today. But it is getting significantly wavy today. After we discovered italian delicacies in Modena and Parma, we will spend this night at the home of the famous Gorgonzola cheese. 
Track 2 get for the first time some taste of the mountains in the Brescia hills. A coffee stop at a bar or café in Brescia is a great reward, for the short, but challenging detour into the hills in the morning.
Route character: flat (track 1), hilly (track 2)

Day 4: Gorgonzola (IT) to Lecco (IT)
This stage is a rather short one so that we can take on the challenges of the Swiss mountains in the next days well rested. We reach Monza soon after the start and pedal for a while along the F1 circuit of Monza. Later we reach the south shore of Lake Como at Lecco and set up our camp there.
For Track 2 today will be the most challenging day, as we will conquer some epic cyclists monumnets at the late. First we will climb the Muro del Sormano, an extremely steep ramp with an average gradient of 17% and a maximum of 25%, but which can also be avoided easily by cycling the neighboured regular street. After a long loop along the costal road at Lake Como, we reach Bellagio, which is great for a coffee stop. Then we again start climbing up to the world famous cyclist capel of Madonna del Ghisallo. Where the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Lombardia passes by, the Global Biking Initative should not stay away!
Route character: hilly (track 1), mountainous (track 2)

Day 5: Lecco (IT) to Biasca (CH)
We cycle through the hilly backcountry of Lake Como to the city of Como and can have a great view over the lake before we head to Lake Lugano. We cross the Swiss border soon and pedal along the lake before we start climbing immediately after leaving Lugano behind us. We are now on our way up to the first real mountain, Monte Ceneri. A rapid descent takes us down into the wide valley of Bellinzona. We follow the river Ticino, which gives the region its name, and which will take us up the Gotthard the next day to our accommodation in Biasca.
More of enjoyable Lake Como is reserved for Track 2 but then we have to climb a challenging mountain range before we reach Lake Lugano to join track 1 again.
Route character: very hilly (track 1 & 2)

Day 6: Biasca (CH) to Schattdorf (CH)
Today the queen stage is on the agenda. We will cycle almost half of the stage continuously uphill! From Biasca we follow the Ticino further upstream and it becomes much more strenuous than the day before. At the latest in Airolo you should take a break and recharge your energies, before heading to the last 12 kilometers on the famous Tremola pass road. With its countless hairpin bends and (quite easy to ride) cobblestone passages, it is an epic finale on the way to the Gotthard Pass. As a reward you can take a great summit team picture at the top of the pass, perhaps still covered in snow, and take a break before rapidly descending to Andermatt. We continue down the pass road and through the canton of Uri. Today’s destination is located just before Lake Lucerne.
Route character: mountainous/alpine (track 1 & 2)

Day 7: Schattdorf (CH) to Zurich (CH)
We quickly reach the southern shore of Lake Lucerne in the morning and cycle along the shore for a while. A few hills and lakes later we reach Lake Zurich and now we are not far from our tour destination in Zurich.
Track 2 detours a last time into the swiss hills at Schwyz. The climb up to the Raten mountain pass, a rather unknown, but nevertheless tough climb, is the last highlight before we head towards Zurich.
Route character: hilly (track 1), very hilly (track 2)

In case you have not yet registered for GBI Europe 2024 Tour- Click here to register.
If you do not have an account with GBI, click here to create one for free.
Do not forget to follow my Facebook page for quick updates about GBI Events

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *