For those who like the idea of exploring Switzerland on two wheels but find the prospect of pedaling through the country’s mountainous landscape a bit daunting, the ever-ingenious Swiss have a solution: an electric bike network that connects most of the country with 400 rental locations and 600 stations where you can exchange dying batteries for fresh ones. The company Swiss Trails offers luggage transfer service from hotel to hotel if you don’t want to worry about your belongings while you ride; they also have packages that include bike rental, luggage transfer, maps, and accommodations.
I tried out an e-bike on a stretch of the popular Heart Route that winds through the Emmental east of Bern. The scenery was quintessentially Swiss: green hills, flower-draped farmhouses, tiny villages, and every now and then a glimpse of snowcapped Alps. I had thought e-biking might feel like cheating, but my Swiss Flyer had various settings, allowing me to choose the amount of assistance I needed. It didn’t do all the work for me; it just gave me the necessary boost to be able to cover more ground and ride up hills I never would have managed otherwise.