Tricycling in Switzerland (1883)

Tricycling in Switzerland

The advantages and disadvantages of tricycling in Switzerland have been tested somewhat boldly by a well-known barrister, who, accompanied by his son on a bicycle, left England on the 12th of August, arriving at Basle on Monday the 13th. The intention was to ride across Switzerland, but this was not adhered to, the train being taken between Liestal Lucerne. With this exception the tourists rode from Basle to Vieach by Lucerne and the Brunig and Gemmi passes, arriving on Wednesday in the following week. The last part of the journey from Leukerbad proved to be laborious, the road in the Rhone Valley being loose and very dusty and the heat intense. The distance run from the start from Basle was about 200 miles. A wrong direction was taken on quitting Basle, the travellers finding themselves at Altschwyl. The country, however, proved very pretty and interesting. An attempt was made to push the machines across the hills between Arlesheim and Liestal, but the footpath at the summit proved to be impracticable and the night was spent at Arlesheim. The next day a run was made through Reinach and Dovnach to Holstetten and in these rural and out-of-the-way districts much amusement is said to have been excited among the peasantry, who probably had never seen a bicycle before. In the afternoon the tourists struck the picturesque road skirting the hills towards Basle, which leads round to Liestal. The heat was great and the roads heavy by reason of the dust and most grateful were the baths at Liestal, which was reached in the afternoon. Time having been lost by the false start the machines were put on the train for Lucerne, from which place the travellers started on Wednesday morning and while proceeding round the lake they were caught in a thunderstorm, but reached Sarnen by midday. The afternoon was wet and the roads heavy, but they proceeded to ascend the Brunig pass, a climb of five miles, reaching the summit at dusk. The descent was made with difficulty and severe  application of the brake and the Balmhof Hotel reached between 8 and 9. The following morning rain again fell, but the journey was prosecuted, Brienz passed and Interlaken reached at 1 o’clock. On Friday the tourists proceeded round the margin of lake Thun and ascended to Aeschi, whence they descended to Frutigen, which they passed through at great speed and were well on the uncompleted road to Alshoden before they discovered that they had missed the road toKandersteg. They returned to Frutigen and on Saturday ascended the Niesen in most splendid weather. On Sunday they continued the journey to Kandersteg and the problem of getting over the Gemmi presented itself. The tricycle ridden was a Humber, with movable backbone and capable of being turned in a very small space. Two porters undertook

 The task of conveying the bicycle and tricycle over the pass and this was successfully accomplished on Monday morning. Those who are familiar with the descent to Leukerbad will appreciate the difficulty of this undertaking and the tracks left by the machines proved that it required skill, patience and muscular power to lower the tricycle without accident. Monday night was spent at Leukerbad and on Tuesday the tourists proceeded, riding the descent nearly the whole distance. At some points the gradients and surroundings would have made riding in reliance upon the brake perilous. A rest was made at Visp, Brieg was passed at 7 pm and the laborious ascent was continued to Viesch, the powers of the riders being taxed to the utmost. Viesch was reached some time after dark, about 9.30 pm. It was felt by the travellers that’s further prosecution of the tour in the condition of the roads and the great heat would be inexpedient and after a day spent on the Stockalp the machines were taken back tp Lausanne. The opinion expressed by both riders is that unless riding in Switzerland is to be almost a question of descents and the selection of valleys and lake margins, the country is not one which invites this method of touring. Climbing the Bronig with machines or even riding from Frutigen to Kandersteg involves an amount of labour which meets with no compensation.. This tour was not, we are informed, made for the purpose of securing a record of long distances run each day, but to enjoy the country while testing by a reasonable amount of work the capabilities of the machine for touring Switzerland.

The Times, Sep 08, 1883; pg. 8

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