The Swiss are amazing. Their country is not a natural place to build railways, so they build them up to the top of mountains. They live in a country that does not naturally spring to mind when one thinks of cycle touring. The country is full of mountains and lakes, so common sense would suggest that it is a great place to go mountaineering, hill walking, sailing, or sailboarding or board sailing but cycling? The gut wrenching pictures of the top of the Tour de France climbs come to mind, but can we expect grannie to make it? Yes, we can! You too can, actually. We did, too. The Swiss have done the impossible and turned their country into a cyclist’s paradise with 4500 hire bikes.
If you arrive in the country without a
bike and want to hire a bike for a day or two, the good news is there
are bicycle rental stations all over the country at railway stations,
hotels, youth hostels and camp sites. The bad news is the bikes are not cheap. In 2012 the basic bikes: touring bike, MTB and children's bicycles cost CHF 33 a
day for one day if you return the bike to the same rental station and
CHF 40 if you drop it off at another station. The rate drops to about CHF 22 a day if you hire for a week, about CHF 17 if you hire for two weeks. (At the time of writing one Euro was worth: CHF 1.20, $US 1 about CHF 0.93 and £1: CHF 1.50.) The bike rental company is called Rentabike. Its website: www.rentabike.ch. The website unfortunately is only in French and German. If you cannot speak either language use Google Translator. We have never hired from Rentabike. We don't live that far away from Helvetia, so always take our own bikes. Helmets are supplied. What we have noticed is that it is a good idea to take a few tools and a puncture repair outfit. They are not supplied. However it is probably not a advisable to wave your repair kit under the noses of the hire station personnel. They might not appreciate you taking their bike to bits.
Although the major Swiss bike rental company is Rentabike, there are others. We picked up a leaflet about a bike shop in Basel (Basle) called Obst&Gemüse GmbH, Kasernenstrasse 32, CH-4058 Basel, T: +41 (0)61 683 07 80, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.obstundgemuese.org. The shop will rent you a Bakfiets, a Bullitt or a Christiana cargo bike for a weekend. If you have ever fancied buyuing one of these, but thought you would like to give it an extended try, here's your chance.
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