Day 9, 5 6 2014, St Ursanne to La Chaux de Fonds

Breakfast the last couple of mornings has approximated a standard French breakfast of bread, croissant, jam and coffee, but the croissants were stale.  Roz says that actually they weren’t stale, but the local Swiss croissant artisans have adopted a style of croissant that is very like a stale French one.

I only mention this because of the very high price we paid for our accommodation and breakfast.  In contrast, when we checked in this evening the hotel was only a few franks more, but approximated a standard four-style hotel.  We have some work to do here to understand the system.

We purchased a guide to Swiss bicycle route 7, which is the Jura route.  It has a picture of a happy family dressed for church with their bikes and bright white teeth, standing talking to a horse, while the flat bike path disappears into the distance.

It is not like that, and I don’t think it would hurt to be a bit more honest.

Today we climbed over 2000m in total.  This included two big climbs with average slopes of 9%, pitching up to 14% at times.  This is seriously hard work.  Towards the end of the day I started feeling a touch weary, and wondered whether age is catching up, but perhaps the day’s work may have had something to do with it.

After the first big climb out of the Doubs River valley we spent most of the rest of the day riding along ridge tops with outstanding views of little farming hamlets set in gorgeous chocolate-box countryside. There is a lot of recreational activity up here in addition to the ubiquitous brown cows, cross-country skiing, mountain and touring biking, walking and horse riding.

 It was never flat.

We had to stop for an hour for a repair to Roz’s bike.  The rear hub had collapsed.  Fortunately the bike-shop mechanic dropped everything and fixed it in an hour, for which service we are very grateful. It should not have broken.  Roz does not weigh much and it is nearly new.  It was a Shimano Deore LX and should not have broken.

The route we are following is very well marked, and well designed.  We are never in much traffic, and most of the route is on sealed farm lanes or district access roads with virtually no traffic.  Despite the difficulty of the ride we saw perhaps another 6 couples following the same route with touring gear.

64Km for the day, and many of them were not easy.


Roz says: My new hero is the mechanic at Velo Passion at Saignelegier, this gorgeous, selfless man delayed his lunch to restore my bike.  He rebuilt the rear hub which had caused me much bother over the last week. This awesome trail is so beautiful and even more beautiful around the corner, today it featured wild flowers and cows.  Did we complain about church bells?  Tonight it is Octoberfest in La Chaux, outside our hotel, beer by the litre, yodelling and umpa music.  Yes it is June but don’t tell the Swiss they are getting the whole package NOW with a real Austrian band!!  What great marketing by somebody!!


View Day 9, 5 6 2014, St Ursanne to La Chaux de Fonds in a larger map

On to Day 10