GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Want a sub-two-hour calorie burner that’s fun, with nice views and libation options? I shook off my Sunday indecision late today following a Saturday night dinner with friends, finally asking my wife to prescribe an afternoon excursion.
I ended up taking my first real bicycle ride of 2013, heading across Pont Butin – filled with walkers taking in the fine weather – South to Chancy and re-crossing the Rhône on the quaint single lane bridge at the Pugny train station.
The climb from Pugny to Challex burned the haze from my mind without hurting too much.
The views from the top on a sunny day are not too shabby either; in warmer weather you can get a cold drink on the patio at the Auberge de la Treille while you take in the Rhône river snaking through the valley below.
The ride down to La Plaine is a blast, if short-lived – 3 km of switchbacks through front yards and close enough to the hillside dwellings to see what’s on for lunch.
La Poste restaurant at the bottom of the hill, in La Plaine is another potential watering hole.
The vineyard territory emerging just beyond and stretching from Dardagny to Meyrin, is one of my favorite Geneva area attractions with the independent villages strung along the train line, terraced hillsides and iconic wine caves.
The welcome to Dardagny is a steady climb from the river to the town center, where you can take a glass at the café across from the schoolhouse; the café was closed for a private party when I went by, but I laughed seeing that several guests had driven their tractors to the event.
The ride home from Satigny is a straight shot into Geneva with one turn, but a bit more interesting and car free if you follow the bike path through the back of Vernier.
Total time for the loop from the St. Jean neighborhood? One hour and forty-eight minutes, for a distance of 40 km, with two class 5 climbs.
A great spontaneous ride for an indecisive Sunday afternoon (and if your counting them, it’s worth about 1,400kcal at a moderate rate.
See my route in detail.