Singletrails in den Schweizer Alpen – review

Author: Jürg Buschor
Title: Singletrails in den Schweizer Alpen: Die 100 schönsten Mountainbike-Touren
ISBN: 978-3-03800-467-7
Language: German

Singletrails in the Swiss Alps
Singletrails in the Swiss Alps

I was recommended this book by a friend who has been living and mountain biking in Switzerland for 20 years.  I have been looking to do more mountain bike tours in Switzerland but wasn’t sure about the best places to go.

Now my German language skills are only at a basic level but I have still found this book very useful for finding new places to ride.  It has 100 different singletrail mountain bike tours in the Swiss Alps (all 1 day tours).  The book has an overview map that shows you the location of all the tours.  There is then an introduction section which explains how the routes are graded and how to cycle safely in the mountains (Each route is graded by technical difficulty using a slight variation of the Single Track Scale [the author grades from 1 to 5 instead of 0 to 5] and physical difficulty; basically how fit you need to be to complete the tour comfortably [graded from 1 to 5]). The routes are then grouped into 8 different general Swiss areas – (“Ostschweiz”, “Unter und Oberengadin, Puschlav”, “Mittelbunden un Surselva”, “Tessin”, “Zentralschweiz und Mittelland”, “Berner Oberland”, “Wallis” and “Waadtland und Jura”)

Every route gets its own double page spread consisting of pictures from the route, a simple map, an description of the route and technical details of the route including the grading, time needed, distance, total height difference, the height profile of the whole ride, start point info, rough route notes and recommended maps.  Some routes also have a miscellaneous section containing anything else you need to be aware of.

The book itself is a large A4 size hard back book so not one that you would take on tour with you.  Luckily when you purchase the book you get access to all the GPS tracks for the tours in the book.  I use the book to pick a route at home and then load the GPS track into my GPS which I use during the actual tour.  We have completed two tours so far and this has worked perfectly.  I would recommend adding on extra time to the route estimate.  For the two tours we have done I have added a minimum of 2 hours to the route estimate and this has worked out well (leaves you time to stop for lunch and take a break every now and then).

One thing that would make the book nicer to use when tour planning would be an index page that grouped the rides by the technical difficulty.  We are riding the routes using our mountain bike Tandem so are riding the grade 2 trails first.  The only way to look up the grade 2 trails was to look at every single route to find the grading and then mark them with a post-it note which was a bit tedious.

Overall though it is a great book with stunning photography that I would highly recommend if you are looking to get out on some mountain bike single trails in Switzerland

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