Last year, Mike Samuel and I did a tour of the French Alps. (see for all the gory details) We thoroughly enjoyed it, and so are planning a trip in 2007 to see the Italian and Austrian Alps. This will probably be the last installment of my tour of the Alps series since I anticipate exhausting the rest of the Alps that I haven't seen on this trip. (The Pyrenees beckon)

Do not read further if:

  1. You need to know where you're going to sleep every night.
  2. You need SAG support on a tour.
  3. You're unwilling to carry your own lugguage (unless, of course, you talk someone else into carrying your lugguage for you)
  4. Adventure isn't really your thing.
  5. Riding off-pavement scares you

The basic idea is to start around the last week of June (when most of the passes open) in Google's Zurich office, using the July 4th long weekend to provide more riding time. The idea is to ride a circuit of the Swiss Alps in the classic areas near Interlaken, make our way to South-Eastern Switzerland, and then attack the high passes of Italy, including many of the classic climbs in the Giro D'Italia.

As with last year, we'll use the British OCD ( Italy guide. We will start with climbing Grosse Scheidegg to Hotel Rosenlaui. (This is approximately a 14-15% grade, an excellent way to shake off jet-lag) From Rosenlaui, we'll climb over to Grindelwald, then descend the Lauterbrunnen valley into Interlaken and then traverse Grimsel and Furka passes for a grand total of 10000' of climbing on the second day to Hospental. From there, we'll make our way over to Chur via another couple of passes and then make our way into the St. Moritz area. Once there, we're a hop away from Italy and will explore as much of the Italian Alps as possible, with a possible excursion to the Dolomites if it's convenient.

With a week left, we'll ride into Austria, and ride a number of little-known passes, and end up returning to Switzerland through Silvretta pass, which is notable for its 60 miles of descent into Lichtenstein, most of which is on bike paths! I've found that on a 21 day tour, if you plan about 14 days, you'll have room for unexpected events (such as a fantastic B&B that makes you want to stay an extra day) and weather while still having the flexibility to do extra exploring if that moves you.

I'm expecting to ride about 60-80 miles a day with about 5000-10000' of climb. If you can do the Sequioa Century (100 miles, 9000') in 10 hours or less before this should be no problem --- I'm getting slower with age. You should also be comfortable with mild off-pavement riding, such as that found at the top of Montebello Road or Bohlman road or the Los Gatos Creek trail. Costs would be around $75 a day a person for double-occupancy, depending on the level of accomodations you want and how much/where you eat, and whether you take any trains. (Trains were by far the most expensive part of our trip, so I'd really like to avoid that as much as possible --- if we succeed then the costs might be reduced, but the Euro has also gone up since our visit in 2005, so it'll probably be a wash) There'll be no SAG support (those tours cost $200 a day minimum), so expect to fix your own flats. Accomodations wil be found as we go except for the first day's accomodations --- my experience was that we always found some place to stay. I know enough German to get rooms, etc, and will probably be cramming Italian.

If you've read this far and are still interested, e-mail me. You'll have a say in where the trip goes, of course. I have a maximum group size of 4 in mind (including myself) but won't be disappointed if nobody else wants to come along. Plane tickets are cheapest around September/October, so if you wait until the last minute to buy those, you may not be able to get them or you may find them prohibitively expensive (hence I'm planning the trip now). Before you commit to the trip, you should ride a bit with me, and we should do an overnight trip somewhere so we can make sure we can get along. Once you commit, you should be prepared to train, more details of which will be in the information packet I put together for those who want to come along. Don't worry --- Mike will assure you that the training rides are fun!