Over the past few years, my daughter and I have explored the beautiful nature of Switzerland mainly on foot. Biking was hardly a part of our adventures. About four years ago, I bought an e-bike so that I could ride around town with her in a bike trailer, taking her to kindergarten or the supermarket. I loved the combination of a motor under the saddle and my daughter in the trailer, enjoying the ride.
Now that she's gotten older, it's time for her to ride her own bike. She's had a little 12-inch bike since her 3rd birthday, which she liked riding, but with those little wheels and no gears I wouldn't have dared to try a longer bike ride. Now, with her new 20-inch bike, I can't wait to take her on our first real cycling tour together.
To get started, I began researching beautiful, kid-friendly bike tours in Switzerland. In this blog post, I've summarized what I found and provided some guidance on how you can also prepare for a successful and fun bike trip for the whole family.
1. Bring a helmet
Check the helmet to make sure it fits because kids' heads grow so much, especially in the first few years. If you're in the market for a new bike helmet, namuk has partnered with Giro. Check out our small selection of helmets here.
2. Avoid the main roads
Aside from the fact that I don't like to ride on busy roads myself, they are also too dangerous for little beginners and add an unnecessary layer of stress to your biking adventure.
3. Be aware of the distance
When I was a kid, I remember my dad regularly having to push me up a hill while I sat on my bike and cried. Kids' bikes usually have fewer gears and their legs aren't as strong. Imagine how fast they have to pedal their little feet to go the same distance as their parents. It's best to start with flatter routes.
4. Have a Plan B
We know that "planning" takes on a different meaning when you have kids. You have to be ready for anything. That's why it's good to have a Plan B, C, and maybe even D before you leave. One idea is to always have the option of transferring to a bus or train nearby in case of an emergency. And to plan plenty of breaks (with snacks!) to keep everyone focused and motivated.
7 great bike rides for kids
1. Along the lake to the owls - 9km
This tour starts in the small town of Schwyz. The 9 km route is part of the Veloland Route 51. You can follow the signs. It goes along the shore of the beautiful Lauerzersee and the highlight is at the end with the wildlife park in Goldau, where children can meet real owls. I found this beautiful bike tour on famigros.ch, which describes it as a "short, easy and varied family tour" with many beautiful barbecue and picnic spots. Here you find the route.
2. Around Pfäffikersee - 12km
This is also a nice beginner's tour, with only 12km distance and 100m elevation gain. I've only been around the Pfäffikersee on foot, but I'm looking forward to getting to know it better on a bike with my daughter. Two great places to stop are at the Roman fort at Irgenhausen and the Juckerhof at Seegräben. In the Robenhauser Ried, you can meet and observe many feathered friends. SwitzerlandMobility describes this route as follows: "The lake with its reed belt is one of the landscapes of national importance.”
3. Biking, swimming and picnicking - 14km
These beautiful 14 kilometres also take you along a lake. You start in Unterägeri. It goes along the Ägerisee to Morgarten and from there back to the starting point. According to kinderregion.ch, there are plenty of places to swim and have a picnic. This helps to keep the little ones motivated. You can follow Veloland routes 9 and 99.
4. Around the beautiful Lake Neuchâtel - 20km
I remember that as a child I was very proud when I completed my first 20 km bike ride. It made me feel like a real cyclist. Veloland Route 476 runs from Grandson through Concise and back to Grandson. Along the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, there are several places where you can take a dip in the water. On the way back, you will pass through small wine-growing villages before returning to your starting point. Before or after the tour, you can visit the castle of Grandson, which also has a historical museum.
5. Around Greifensee with a break at a playground - 20km
I have rounded the Greifensee a few times on inline skates and once took part in the famous Greifensee run. It is a beautiful route with a lot of nice places to rest and swim. The kinderregion.ch team notes that there are more than "400 plant and 120 migratory bird species" in this protected area. On the map, you will find a reference to the nature station Silberweide. There is an adventure playground and an adventure trail for young cyclists. Kids will enjoy observing many feathered friends.
6. On Lake Maggiore through the nature reserve - 22km
Also on Lake Maggiore there is a beautiful 22km cycle route for beginners. Famigros.ch describes it as a tour "with a Mediterranean climate and southern charm". The route starts in Bellinzona and crosses the Magadino plain. Along the way, you will cross a nature reserve and have the chance to see a wide variety of birds, butterflies and other animals. The tour ends in Locarno, with plenty of opportunities to reward yourselves with Italian delicacies.
7. Round trip between Lakes Brienz and Thun - 23km
As you will see on the map, this is a bike tour that could theoretically be shortened. The view of the turquoise Lake of Brienz is magnificent. There is also plenty to explore culturally. In the Weissenau nature reserve, there is plenty of wildlife just around the corner. Here you find the route on SwitzerlandMobility.
Did I leave anything out? Please add your own experiences in the comment section below! I would love to hear your feedback. And I have also already collected a few ideas, around multi-day bike tours with children. In any case, there will be an article about this later.