Annual Bike Tour: Lake Zurich

26 May. 2012

It had been a grueling climb up snow covered peaks high in the alps, followed by a flash hail storm while descending at over 100 kph down trecherous hairpin turns … oh, wait … this is a summary of the weekend bike trip with the MIT Club of Switzerland, not life as a professional cyclist. So let’s take a fresh start, from the gathering of 13 MIT alumni and their friends and family at the Zurich rail station on the morning of Saturday 26 May. Surprisingly the turnout for this trip was relatively low, despite there being so many MIT alumni in the greater-Zurich area.

The original idea of this year’s tour was to cycle around the perimeter of Lake Zurich and the adjacent Obersee, spending the night in the town of Lachen (across the water from Rapperswil). However, one of our club members with significant cycling experience suggested that cycling along the coast on the “left side” of the lake (i.e., through Thalwil, Horgen, and Wädenswil) presents the rider with choices of a traffic-congested flat ride, or a serene but overly hilly route on the hills above the coast. The alternative plan was to forgo the lake perimeter, and instead cycle through the picturesque bike paths and farm roads of the Züri-Oberland.

The weather was ideal for a day on the bike, sunny and cool with no wind, as we got introduced to each other and headed out through the city, towards Dübendorf. We shared the roads with many roller bladers as we cycled on bike paths along the shores of the Greifensee. Leaving the Greifensee as we headed towards Mönchaltdorf and Gossau, we ate lunch at a farm café that was quite popular with many other cyclists. With our bellies full, we cycled towards Bubikon, and then were greated with amazing views of Lake Zurich as we descended (slowly and without any hail storms) into Rapperswil. At this point the group split, with a few taking a more direct route to Lachen across the Seedam, while the rest of us rode clockwise around the Obersee.

The charming Hotel Bären was our home for the evening. We were joined for dinner by a few more MIT folks who unfortunately couldn’t join us for the day’s riding activities, and enjoyed good food and drinks while we shared stories and laughs late into the night.

The next day we fueled up on a generous breakfast, and then headed out on the direct route towards Rapperswil. After a brief photo break at an oversized bench, we cycled in the direction of Zurich along the so-called Gold Coast. This being a Sunday morning, traffic was very light, and some thin clouds kept the temperatures down, making for a very comfortable cycling environment. We passed through the towns of Stäfa, Männedorf, Meilen, and Herrliberg, and then stopped for lunch at a casual restaurant directly on the water at the port of Küsnacht.

After lunch most of the group headed directly to their homes or the train station in Zurich, while a couple who live near Winterthur decided to take a scenic route up and over the hills between Küsnacht and the Greifensee in order to avoid riding through Zurich city.

This was the seventh annual MIT Club of Switzerland bike trip, organized flawlessly once again by Club president Michael Helke, with Michael’s wife Jill graciously following us in her car to carry our clothes as well as two dogs. Plans for next year’s bike trip are underway, so please contact us if you’re interested to learn more.

Jonathan Claman