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Bike – Lausanne to Solothurn

    Photo: Lunch in the Avenches Amphitheatre.

    The area of the plateau from Lausanne to Avenches is another big hole in my map that I had been looking to fill in. Essentially an extensive of my three lakes tour.

    Key Information

    Route: Lausanne – Moudon – Payern – Avenches – Murten – Lyss -Solothurn.

    Length: 134km, +1526m, -1540m.

    Date: 2021-May-22.


    Practical Information

    Season: Year round.

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

    Supplies: Plenty of villages, towns, and lonely restaurants along the route.

    Alternate routes/shortcuts: Various options to shortcut by train.

    Exposure/Hazards: Moderate traffic, but otherwise nothing to worry about.

    This was the perfect time of year, perfect weather, and importantly a strong wind coming from behind to push me home.

    I basically just followed Route 44 from Lausanne to Solothurn, other than Route 99 from Avenches to Murten, and detour to 94/8 from Kerzers to Aarberg to follow the Aare river rather than ride through yet more fields.


    Notes along the route

    I had not actually been into Lausanne beyond the station in over 5 years. I once spent a few hours walking around it and it is a nice place, certainly as lively as you are going to get in Switzerland. I don’t spend much time in any Swiss city unless seeing a friend in fairness.

    The initial busy urban area wasn’t too bad and it gets you off the main streets quite fast. Though the official route could have been better marked and more consistent (it has you jumping on and off the pavement).

    The climb out of Lausanne was at times quite steep, and always boring. I had hoped that the route going up the hill would mean there was a road with sweeping views of the lake and Alps. Nope. Just 500m of height gain for boring modern suburbs and only a few brief glimpses of anything interesting behind them. Would not recommend. Taking the train to Moudon to skip this part wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    Leaving the urban area the route goes through what I think is the Jorat region of forested hills. This was nice riding with a steady descent down through little villages and cow filled meadows. It probably comes up nice Alpine views on a clear day (not today).

    The first nice surprises were the castles/old towns of Moudon and Lucens. I hadn’t expected anything other than little villages so I was surprised to see some more substantial and clearly historically important places. You could do worse than spend a day old town hopping along the Kerzers-Lausanne line.

    The Jorat area.
    The old town/river area in Moudon.

    Leaving the higher hills of the Jorat and entering a mix of farmland, villages, and gentle hills for the rest of the ride home (plus the odd bit of industry).

    Payern is probably best known (when it is known at all) for the airforce base. I took a little detour into the old town but it wasn’t that special. The churches are impressive, but otherwise the old town area didn’t seem to have much charm and felt like a car dominated thoroughfare.

    Next stop soon after was Avanches. This was one of the most important Roman settlements in Switzerland and much of what remains is free to enter or see. Being on a hill and not presenting a useful through road the old town is much nicer than Payerne. I grabbed a sandwich from a bakery and ate lunch on the steps of the amphitheatre (absolute highlight of the day) before walking around some more. Enough people were around to give a feeling of life, but nowhere near enough to make it feel busy.

    Avenches.
    Avenches.
    Avenches.
    Roman column outside of Avenches.

    Outside of the old town there are some columns, a big ruin which the route takes you past, before heading up to the old Roman wall and passing through the remains of the gate (which if you had good light and a good camera would make a great framing device for the town).

    Avenches city wall.
    Looking back to Avenches from the wall.

    Another short 10km hop to Murten. And just about crossing the language border back into the German speaking area. Murten is a beautiful walled village sat next to a lake. It is well worth taking the time to explore it properly (which can be easily combined with Avenches and Fribourg, or a boat ride to Neuchatel). It was very busy today with the old town feeling packed and plenty of people by the lake.

    Murten.
    Murten.

    Joining the Aare it was nice to see a familiar river in an unfamiliar place.

    Aarberg was a surprise. Most because of how busy it was. For somewhere I had never heard mentioned before the old town was full of people at the restaurants and a constant series of drivers out for a tour in the car or motorbike were passing through. There are a number of towns in this region where a single lane bridge or traffic system creates a massive problem for traffic, this is one of the best examples of that.

    Joining the Aare.
    Very busy Aarberg.

    Lyss always seemed to me like it must just be a commuter town for Bern/Biel, and having now passed through that seems to be even more true. You could tell me it was all built 20 years ago and I would believe you. What it does have is a Kambly factory shop allowing you to stock up on kg sacks of biscuits (quite why they chose there of every possible place in Switzerland…). Sadly the endless free samples are not on in Corona times, but 1kg of Brezels for 10 CHF (as opposed to 27 CHF for what the same mass of standard packets in a shop would cost) is well worth a short detour from the bike route.

    Through the Alte Aare area. The river was diverted into a controllable canal so the old route isn’t much more than a stream now. A nice mix of woodland, ponds, and fairly wild feeling bits of river. This section was very rough/gravely and the heavy rain in recent days left a number of big puddles covering most of the path.

    Back on familiar ground at Büren aA. Following the north side of the Aare would have been a bit longer, but flatter. I chose the hilly southern side to make a point of doing it after a metal wire ruined my last ride there. Apparently there is a curse on that area as this time a thorn required a change of tube just 5km from home.

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