Gone Bike About...

May 30 – June 1, 2009

Rorschach – Altenrhein (Switzerland) – Bregenz (Austria) – Lindau – Friedrichshafen – Meersburg – Ludwigshafen – Radolfzell – Reichenau – Konstanz (Germany) – Kreuzlingen – Romanshorn – Arbon – Rorschach (Switzerland)

The third largest lake in Western Europe, Lake Constance is situated between Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Being just 12km away from us here in St. Gallen, it’s a great place to cool off in the heat of the summer or experience the first spring blossoms, when St. Gallen is still snowbound. The Lake-Constance loop has become quite popular among cyclists, who do the circuit in 3/4 days taking in picturesque towns, historical monasteries and ancient castles, while sampling from the vineyards and camping on the lakeshore. This year for Whit weekend, we headed off with our tent and sleeping bags on our relaxed 210km route.

The 3 countries bordering Lake Constance: Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Follow the bike with the blue wheel! We cycled in an anti-clockwise direction starting at Rorschach in Switzerland. The cycle path is well-signposted and you rarely have to deal with traffic.
There are numerous attractions en route including the Markthalle in Altenrhein. Designed by the Austrian architect and artist, Hundertwasser, this fantasy-filled market hall is the last thing you expect to find cycling in this quiet area.

Altenrhein Market hall

Hundertwasser’s Market Hall in Altenrhein

We even came across a nifty earth house just down the road. Now, thats what we call cave dwelling in style!!!

Earth house

Near Rohrspitz in Austria

Outside Bregenz

A bike with a difference
Rathaus, Lindau Lindau is, in our opinion, the most picturesque town on the lake. Situated on an island, it impresses with a lot of painted facades, plazas and a superb harbour.

Lindau’s Harbour
Gracing many villages in Germany is a Maypole, depicting the many duties involved in rural life, including milking the cows, the harvest and forestry. Maypole
Talk about articulated bicycles!!! The Lake-Constance circuit is very well suited to family outings, as you very rarely come into contact with normal traffic. Kids were out in force on their own bikes, regular tandems, follow-me tandems, kiddy seats or perched in trailers. Sometimes the whole family was connected into a seriously articulated bike!
Meersburg is another highlight on the northern shore. Uptown there is a castle and a few schools, plus a fine view over the lake…

Kurt in Meersburg …while downtown is the shopping area and from the harbour you can take a ferry to Constance.
Our route led us along the Ɯberlingersee, a side arm of Lake Constance.

Reichenau Reichenau is an island with a long history centred around some of the most important monasteries from the Middle Ages. The abbey here was founded by St. Pirmin from Spain in the 8th century.
Typical house on Reichenau
Constance is a great place for shopping, but we would recommend a stroll through it even if your pockets are empty! Dating back to Roman times, there is history around every corner.

City wall of Constance
Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) has also been the subject of U2’s latest album cover. The No Line on the Horizon black-and-white picture was taken in Uttwil, Switzerland by Hiroshi Sugimoto. The unusual part of the whole deal, is that Bono managed to get the picture without spending a cent! We could have offered him the colour version for the same price!
U2 album cover

Gone bikeabout interpretation
Relaxing in Uttwil
Arbon is a beautiful small town on the Swiss side of the lake, and for us just a hop, skip and jump away.


Views of Arbon

Kurt on his bed bike I (Kurt) did this tour with my recumbent. One of the better sale’s arguments for such a contraption is that it’s perfect for attention seekers like me. Young kids and older male cyclists especially tend to comment on and/or stare at it. However, this time I had a big blow to my ego, overhearing an enthusiastic mother pointing me out to her son, only to receive a non-plussed, monotone reply :”Yeah Mom, I’ve seen them before”. Hmmm… it could be time to sell it…?
Lake Constance is certainly a 3-day trip not to be missed. 300,000 cyclists, doing the loop on an annual basis, can’t be wrong!

Map of Switzerland and surrounds