Tom DeWilde lives in Switzerland, and gets to ride in some of the prettiest parts of the world. He also works for Ciclissimo, one of our European dealers. During the warmer, sunny season, Tom guides regular shop rides for gravel enthusiasts looking to explore the Chablais Alps. It is a tour connecting many gravel roads and single track through countless valleys, offering endless scenic views. Read on for Tom’s write-up on his local loop.
‘The Swiss Chablais is a small region near Lake Leman's end, where the Rhone Valley opens a large gate into the Alps. Between the endless plains and towering peaks, the riding is black or white, flat or steep but always rewarded with a whole lot of super sexy views in every direction, all year long.
The ride kicks off at Ciclissimo Chablais, an ideal spot to stock up on energy bars and grab that spare tube. Once out of town and into the woods, riders are treated to the first unpaved part of the route. Choose to follow the canal or pedal through the fantastic single-track network. Next, head through the vineyards of Aigle and its old castle to reach the hamlet of Verchiez, where the gravel climbing starts, heading into the forest and the small Village of Panex. This is the perfect place to refill water bottles at the fountain and enjoy the view from above the valley.
The descent to follow is a non-technical single track to the Hamlet of Glutiere, soon followed by steep forest roads and more vineyards through the valleys. Another descent and then riders follow along the Gryonne River, then cross the Rhone River over a bridge arriving at Monthey town centre. This is Chablais’s largest town with many buzzing terraces, perfect for some refreshments before the next climb of the day.
Time to warm up the legs again on the pavement with Swiss traditional 10% gradients, and then we switch to five-star gravel connecting to La Porte du Culet road.
You have two options here, depending on your energy, motivation and the weather (snow can be heavy at the summit). Either follow the regular route that heads down towards the valley, and beautiful gravel roads cut through the fields. Or keep climbing for another 700m on a small paved road forbidden to cars that leads you to a panoramic forestry road with rewarding views of the Rhone Valley and Lake Leman. The climb is always strongly recommended for its beauty. Afterwards, you pass through the alpine village of Torgon, where you will descend fast down the main road onto single-track before connecting back with the alternate route.
The final 35 km are flat and a perfect combination of paved and gravel farm roads, cycleways and easy single track winding through the fields towards the natural reserves of the Grangettes and the Rhone delta. It offers wide-open panoramic views and bucolic atmospheres in the woods. Note that this is the perfect place to ride into the sunset that tends to be epic and super picturesque.'
You can ride this course by downloading the files below -
With high route detour: