Aug 5, 2023 - 12.5 miles
Biking Day 1 - Probably the most epic bike ride I've done!
Took 4 trains from Frankfurt to Oberalppass, Switzerland. Getting our bikes on the trains was relatively easy, the final train was a cog rail that took us up the steep mountain side, and it had amazing views. We arrived in Oberalppass around 4pm. There's a light house at the start of the Rhine, to match the light house at the end of the Rhine where it meets the sea. We took a few quick pictures and started our descent, dropping about 2,500' in 13 miles. It was a bit chilly at the top (6,580') and the following day was supposed to get colder, so we decided to go as far as we could tonight. The road was just perfectly paved switchbacks with amazing views filling your entire field of view the entire time. Around 6pm, we saw a Zimmer Frei (room free) sign and a "biker friendly flag" from the road, and decided it was a good time to wrap up our ride for the night. We stayed at Catrina Lodge, only $120 with breakfast included!
A quick note about buying our train tickets from Frankfurt Airport to Oberalppass:
I booked train tickets though DeutcheBahn, this is the best phone number I found for english speakers: +49 30 311682904. I spent a solid hour on hold until someone answered after being transferred to an English speaker. I even called at 4am (Pacific) when they said the English speaker started work. Their phone service is terrible.
Ask for an "international ticket with bicycle", it can't be bought online, you have to call. They initally said the ticket I wanted could not be bought, but when broken into shorter journeys, it was possible.
First we needed a ticket for Frankfurt to Basel SBB (the last German stop in Basel). For this Frankfurt to Basel train ticket we had a seat reservation adjacent to the bike space that was reserved. This ticket has to be printed from a DB Kiosk in Germany, they emailed me an Auftrag (NVS) number with instructions on how to enter it in the kiosk.
Next, Basel SBB to Göschenen as a second trip (with bicycle). Then Göschenen to Andermatt (with bicycle). If you book Basel to Andermatt as one ticket, the price was outrageous, like 3x the price, so break it up and save about $100. These two tickets include a bike, but not a reservation for a bike space. On these trains, bikes are just crammed anywhere they can fit, as long as they don't block the aisle.
I booked Andermatt to Oberalppass on the Swiss train website, SBB. This is a cog rail, and has amazing views. I forgot to add the bike to this ticket, but the conductor checking tickets said not to worry about it.
You can search online for the train ticket with bicycle option on DB website. The train car for bikes is usually the first car. The Swiss trains have seatbelts to strap your bike so they don't fall over. Our bikes fell over, and it was a pain to get to them because the train was crowded. Definitely have a strap with you, having a bike fall over on the train was not fun!