Tag Archives: Cycling Basel to Geneva

Sometimes it’s Difficult to Navigate

It took me awhile to realize that some of these are mountain bike routes and others are road routes.
It took me awhile to realize that some of these are mountain bike routes and others are road routes.

This morning I could not get my bearings.

I had a Google route on my phone. I had my Garmin turned on. I’d made copies of a Swiss cycling map and placed it in the map holder of my handlebar bag. I’d written down the names of towns I would be heading towards.

I’d thought I was ready to tackle the day.

But things were “off” from the start.

I’d left my cycling gloves packed deep in my large pannier and couldn’t be bothered to dig them out. The weather couldn’t make up it’s mind whether to rain or shine so I kept stopping to change clothes. And….only about half a mile from my hotel the Swiss cycle route signs contradicted my carefully planned way.

I had to make a quick decision – Switzerland or Garmin?

I could trust that the Switzerland route signs were in the correct place and hadn’t been “turned” by mischievous adolescent types or the wind, or I could trust Google which, to be honest, hadn’t been finding the “roads less traveled” like farm roads, hiking tracks and dirt lanes.

I chose  Switzerland.

But in my mind I didn’t really trust Switzerland.

I tried to trust the burgundy colored Swiss Cycle Route  signs. But, within a mile of the first turn, I doubted the direction and the signs. I checked my phone. Everything was good but still felt wrong..

One of my decisions was to chose the hilly road route instead of the hillier mountain bike route.
One of my decisions, after I recognized the different pictures on the signs, was to chose the hilly road bike route instead of the hillier mountain bike route.

I cycled a few more miles and came to a detour sign. Detours often mean trouble. Just imagine a highway worker at a five-point intersection moving the detour sign just a few feet. This can mean miles of extra riding. I checked the map on Garmin. I could see where the detour and the main road would intersect. I followed the detour until I lost the signs. Then I checked my phone…again….

One of my random choices took me by the BMC factory which was exciting.
One of my random choices took me by the BMC factory which was exciting.

After few more miles the direction again felt wrong. I checked my phone AND the compass on the Garmin. My instincts were correct. I WAS heading in the wrong direction. I backtracked, found a tiny, burgundy arrow hidden under a vine. I got back on the “route.”

The day continued: lose road signs, check Garmin, open phone, check paper maps, repeat.

To make things even more difficult, my navigation aids were missing. It was cloudy so there was no sun or shadows. I was on hills rather than beside a river.

I was so “off” I couldn’t even daydream for a minute for fear of missing a “sign”.

I was ready to call it a day 15 miles short of my original plan.

This beautiful fountain was my view while enjoying an ice cream cone.
This beautiful fountain was my view while enjoying an ice cream cone.

Until……

I found ice cream!

And a river!

And the sun!

Those three “finds” made breezing through the final 15 miles easy and gave me time to think about how life’s like cycling.

Some days it’s easy to navigate and others it’s not .

The Hotel Artus in Biel/Bienne was a real "find." Friendly owners, good food and a great bed!
The Hotel Artus in Biel/Bienne was a real “find.” Friendly owners, good food and a great bed!