Around Lake Lucerne

We are lucky, because today is Sunday and as it should be for a Sunday, the sun is shining! “We” means that I am not alone on the road today, but accompanied by three friends: Tina, Gunnar, and Daniel. At the beginning of the bike season, we meet almost traditionally for a rather leisurely, but quite challenging round around Lake Lucerne. Unfortunately not around the whole lake, because from Bauen up to Seelisberg there is no road, but only a steep hiking trail with 850 stone steps! No cyclist wants to shoulder his bike there. So we always have the “small” round trip, where we take the car ferry from Gersau to Beckenried. That’s still about 60 kilometers, so even with the shortcut, it’s no longer a short ride.

Lake Lucerne with alpine panorama

As so often, we meet in Lucerne at the old station gate. A popular meeting place directly by the lake in front of the train station. I don’t particularly like this hustle and bustle here and am glad when everyone is there and we set off shortly after 10 am. On this tour, the most unpleasant part comes right at the beginning: On the road with the most traffic in Lucerne, we go over the Seebrücke and Haldenstrasse until we reach the Museum of Transport. That’s a good three kilometers that I as a cyclist classify as “dangerous” and for which Lucerne has not yet found a solution. Fortunately we passed this part quickly and the traffic museum we change to quieter neighborhood streets.

However, we have to fight hard for this way: Compared to the busy main road, the road here in the neighborhood is much steeper and we also have to overcome more meters of altitude. Fortunately, we have the worst behind us after one and a half kilometers. The next few minutes it still has a few smaller climbs. But we had to make more altitude meters than expected, because we got lost at least twice. That’s the disadvantage of being in a group: You talk too much, don’t pay attention one time, and poof, you’re wrong. That didn’t make for joy, because the sun was doing its job very well and it was getting quite warm. After ten kilometers we reached the highest point for today and were offered a fantastic view of Lake Lucerne and the Rigi, a 1'798 m high mountain massif. Also the 2'128 m high Pilatus showed up in front of a bright blue sky and in between a wonderful alpine panorama.

Cycling path with great view with Pilatus in the background

Then we quickly went downhill to Küssnacht, however, contrary to the plan via the road, because the actual path was unfortunately temporarily closed. But we arrived without any problems down at the lake again, despite the detour, without getting lost again. In Küssnacht there is a metallic heart directly at the lake, a wonderful photo motif. But not for us today, we have been here several times before and have many photos of it already. Besides, we rather wanted to continue quickly, because we had the feeling by our detours at the first mountain to have lost a lot of time.

View over a branch of Lake Lucerne to the Rigi

There was namely a second mountain to climb. Between Greppen and Weggis there is a flank of the Rigi, whose foothills reach into the lake. It has here clearly less altitude meters than the first mountain and it is also less steep, but the climb drags a bit and has here quite intense traffic. Therefore, almost everyone rides on the sidewalk. About halfway I have to stop briefly, take a breath and drink a lot of water. At kilometer 20 we have made it, the second and last mountain is climbed. From here on it’s mostly flat until back to Lucerne.

After the two mountains, so far only 20 kilometers but many meters of altitude and a good two hours of driving, it is lunch time. We decide to stop in Weggis and recharge our batteries here before taking on the rest of the tour. No sooner said than done, a few delicacies and many cool drinks later, we overcome ourselves after more than an hour to get back on the bike. On a road that is closed to vehicle traffic but open to pedestrians and bicycles, we cross Weggis and now follow the lake shore directly to the car ferry at Gersau.

With great panorama along the lake

That’s a little more than ten kilometers directly on or on the main road. Unfortunately with a lot of traffic, but between the lake and the mountain is just enough space for the road and a narrow sidewalk. We often use this to avoid having to drive on the road. It goes up and down a little bit, mostly hardly noticeable. The view of the lake and mountains is once again fantastic. We are so lucky with the weather that we can enjoy the great panorama undisturbed.

The car ferry always leaves Gersau for Beckenried on the hour. On the way, we are worried about reaching the next ferry in time. Since we don’t want to miss it and wait a full hour at the pier, we increase our speed. In no time we are at the ferry and realize that we didn’t had to rush the last kilometers. We were apparently closer to the ferry than we thought and even had to wait a few minutes for its arrival.

On the ferry, we made ourselves comfortable on the upper deck. The approximately twenty-minute crossing costs exactly CHF 10 for an adult person including the bicycle. Since this year you can also pay with Twint. Of course, we try it out and unsurprisingly it works perfectly. In the past, we always had to pay in cash, which meant that we had to search for small change. But that’s history now and instead we enjoy the ride on the ferry and the view of the mountains from the lake. This is always an unusual, but very beautiful perspective.

Crossing the lake by ferry

Much too quickly we arrive in Beckenried and our break is over. But we know that it’s only an easy roll home from here. Unless between Stansstad and Stans the wind channels itself between the mountains - that’s exactly what it does today and there’s a nice headwind. But I know a good way through the two villages, so the wind breaks on the houses and faces us less strongly. But before we ride this section, we have to make up for something we skipped at lunch today: Dessert! At Allmendhuisli we make a last stop and at around 30 °C we treat ourselves with an ice cream.

Then we take on the last few kilometers: First through Stans, then to the Lake Alpnach and through Stansstad back to Lake Lucerne. The freshly refueled calories make themselves positively felt and drive us through Hergiswil, Horw and Kriens back to the starting point at the station in Lucerne.

A great round as a start to the bike season, which we look forward to every year. The weather was great, at least until our return: because soon after the sky darkened and a rather violent thunderstorm broke loose. But we were home again! After almost 60 kilometers with more than 500 meters of altitude and in the end, only a little bit more than three hours of movement time, we made a really good average of a little bit more than 17 km/h. Okay, we also had many small and some bigger breaks. All in all we were on the road for just under seven hours. I better not calculate our cumulative break time now. After all, it was a pleasure ride! In any case, I am tired and above all very satisfied. A great Sunday, of which there may be many more!

Overview of the route

More details about the route and some photos can be found as always at Komoot and at Strava.