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Bike – Aarau to Solothurn via the hilly route

    Bike Aarau Solothurn

    Photo: Looking towards the Jura from Bellevue.

    I wanted to dive into a few areas I hadn’t seen before, and revisit some others that I had only seen before on a grey slightly wet day in October.

    A seemingly endless land of little villages/towns, old farmhouses, and rolling meadows/forest. The highest point was only just over 700m, but the constant up and down through the Emmental/Oberaargau region added up to a fair few meters of height.

    Key Information

    Route: Aarau – Schöftland – Winikon – Reiden – St Urban – Bellevue – Madiswil – Langenthal – Solothurn.

    Length: 101 km, +1369 m, -1323 m.

    Date: 2021-April-24.


    Practical Information

    Season: Outside of heavy snow this would be doable year round.

    Arrival/Departure: Train to Aarau / Train from Solothurn.

    Supplies: There are a constant series of villages and towns along the route.

    Alternate routes/shortcuts: Following the Aare would be much quicker and easier. There are also various options to take a shortcut by train.

    Exposure/Hazards: Moderate traffic in some places.

    I mostly followed the official bike routes (except my own modifications crashing across a series of ridges). It keeps things easy and generally works well enough. As ever this meant a certain amount of faff winding your way through suburbs rather than just following the main road, but for less traffic and the occasional beautiful corner that you find I think it is worth it.

    This was a Friday in April going through some fairly overlooked places so it was all rather quiet. As ever the bike routes keep you away from main roads (or any roads if they can help it).

    This was a good time of year for this ride with the countryside coming to life. If it wasn’t for the seemingly endless winter it would have been greener and the meadows would have been more vibrant.


    Notes along the route

    I made a quick diversion into Aarau old town. I have passed through this on the bus, but never set foot in it before. It isn’t the most striking or memorable old town in Switzerland, but it is worth a look.

    Aarau old town.
    Suhr on the outskirts of Aarau.

    Leaving Aarau the route was quite nice as it follows a quiet road alongside a stream through some well to do looking neighbourhoods. Very pleasant really.

    “Pleasant” was a word that kept coming to mind for most of the time in Aargau. Well to do, if a little bland, towns and villages surrounded by fields and forested hills. Enough pretty things to keep it interesting, enough bland bits of industry and modern housing to stop it standing out. Not somewhere to go out of your way to see, but not the worst place to find yourself.

    Aargau trying to keep things exciting.

    The route got more interesting after leaving the bigger valleys and heading into the hillier Emmental/Oberaargau region.

    Typical view of the Suhrental.
    View from the first pass at Letten.

    The church in the former cloister at St Urban was well worth a look in. I didn’t have a lock last time I passed by (though you would hope a bike would be as safe there as it could be).

    Pfaffnau.
    View of Hasli on the way to St Urban.

    I kind of ran out of things to say. After 100km of pretty little meadows, farmhouses, and villages it tends to all run together.

    Langenthal does actually have a nice little centre. It is easy to just see the outskirts or the views from the train and think it is nothing but industry. Not that I would recommend anyone go out of their way to see it.

    Stopped for an ice cream at the Gasthaus Löwen in Thunstetten now that terraces are open in Switzerland. I was the only guest then so it was safe as it can get really.

    Madiswil.
    Gasthaus Löwen in Thunstetten.

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