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Our Guide to Ebiking in and around Zurich
Zurich Is One of the Most Bike-Friendly Cities in Europe
We’ve all found new passions during lockdown, and many people have rediscovered the simple pleasure of riding a bike. Eco-friendly, fitness-boosting and socially distanced, cycling is ideal for commuting or just having fun, and Zurich was recently rated one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe.
Ebikes are Booming
The biggest news in cycling currently is ebikes: battery assisted city or mountain bikes that make even Zurich’s steepest hills effortless and a lot more enjoyable! Bike shops have reported a 35-50% increase in the already booming sales of ebikes during lockdown, but at an average price of around CHF 3,500, it’s not a cheap investment, so we’ve listed a few pointers if you’re thinking about buying.
What Kind of Ebike Should I Choose?
There are generally 2 classifications of ebike: ‘slow’ bikes that are powered up to 25kph, and ‘fast’ bikes whizz up to 45kph. There are different rules for who can ride each type, but basically if you’re 16 or older, you can ride a slow bike without any kind of licence, and if you want a fast bike you need a driver’s licence and number plate.
City Ebike or Mountain Ebike?
You can also choose between city or touring/trekking models and mountain bikes. City ebikes have smooth tyres for speed and baskets for carrying your shopping or laptop, while emountain bikes come with front or full suspension and heavy tread tires to cope with much rougher terrain. Full suspension models – or “fullys” as they’re called here – are generally much more expensive, and only really necessary if you are serious about downhill and freeride trails.
What Else Do I Need to Think About?
The ideal way to find the right bike for you is to go to a good retailer, but as this wasn’t possible during lockdown, we ordered from bikester.ch. Their website gives lots of helpful info about frame size for your height and leg length, and the bike was delivered fully assembled within a week; the tyres were pumped up and even the battery was fully charged!
And talking of batteries, this is something else to consider. Cheaper bikes tend to have less powerful batteries, but the standard now seems to be either 400Wh or 500Wh. Depending on the model and what setting you ride on, a full charge on a 500Wh battery should take you at least 50km and up to 100km. All this battery power does mean an ebike is much heavier than a normal bike however – up to 25kg is normal, so bear this in mind if you have to store your bike upstairs! It also makes the bike a bit trickier to handle at first, but give it a few hours and you’ll be cruising along like a pro.
Best Ebiking Routes Near Zurich
Of course, you can take your new ebike on any of Switzerland’s fantastic bike routes and trails, and you can also use the slow ones on many walking paths. It’s an easy way to get up the Uetliberg, along the Pfannenstiel or into the woods around the Dolder; just make sure to always give way to pedestrians. Many of the mountain resorts close to Zurich, including Flims-Laax and Davos, have recommended ebike trails for different levels, or you could tackle some of the new Herz Route 99, 700km of quiet trails between Lausanne and Rorschach specially recommended for ebiking, with plenty of charging points along the way. Still not convinced? Hire an ebike for an afternoon (or ask your bike shop for a test ride) and we’re pretty sure you’ll soon be hooked!
Article written by Heather Moore
Heather is an English-language copy and content writer based in Zurich.
She can can create copy for websites, blogs, e-shots, brochures, reports, newsletters, social media posts and lots more
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