A CYCLE ROUTE THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE FOR NON-ROAD WARRIORS
GENEVA TO HERMANCE AND BACK – less traffic, not too steep.
by Michael Ronkin
Tempted to ride your bike in the beautiful Geneva countryside, but feeling a bit intimidated by the traffic? Unsure which roads take you where, because so many don’t seem to go straight? Thought about joining a bike club, but not sure about the level of fitness required?
Michael Ronkin of the Geneva Bike Club shares the first in our series of short to medium rides for cyclists who are reasonably fit and happy to navigate quiet backroads, with the occasional short stretch on or crossing of a busier road.
NO FLAT CYCLE RIDES IN GENEVA
In Geneva, there are no flat rides, it’s hilly all around, so make sure your bike has a good range of gears, and you know how to use them. Have your bike checked out by a bike shop if you’re not sure it’s in tip-top shape – a breakdown is a surefire way to spoil an outing.
These rides are suitable for city/hybrid bikes, road bikes or e-bikes. Because of the hills we don’t recommend you attempt them on a single-speed bike.
If you have a GPX-compatible phone app or GPS, you can download the route from Strava and follow it. You can also print out the map, and/or follow the distance and turn indications (for this you’ll need a bike computer that measures distance).
Caution: if your computer or GPS is poorly calibrated, or if you make a wrong turn and have to double back, then of course all the distances will be off. You’ll have to take that into account; but the descriptions are good cues too.
HERMANCE with a bit of rive gauche scenery
35 km, 180 m elevation gain
The ride begins in the Jardin Anglais. Take the bike path towards Genève Plage . Cross over to the other side of the busy road at the crosswalk, at a traffic light . Then get onto the road that parallels the highway . This is actually safer and calmer than continuing on the bike path with all the pedestrians and dawdlers.
At km 4.0 , make a right up the hill – this is your first and longest climb! At km 4.4 the road makes a sharp bend to the right, and continues climbing to km 5.7.
This is a good place to stop and rest, and take in a great view of Geneva, the lake and the Jura . You can also spot the Villa Diodati , where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein just over 200 years ago ! Or sit on the rock where Lord Byron sat for inspiration.
FIRST COFFEE BREAK IN SIGHT
Sorry, but still a bit more climbing. At km 6.0 you hit the main road through Cologny, make a left, take it to km 6.2, and make right just before the golf course – note the extravagant faux-chateau! 
Climb up to another T-intersection at km 6.5, make another left, and you’re almost done with the climbing! The road then curves right and down to yet another T-intersection at km 7.4. Another left, and soon after, at the roundabout, go straight through, and continue downhill for quite a while – your reward for that first climb.
At km 8.3 the road veers left, then takes you through Choulex. It gets a bit tricky: at km 9.6, one more T-intersection, and again left, then right through the village – slowly, as there is a series of speed bumps. Your first opportunity for a coffee break is here, le Café des Amis, on your right (there are more to come!).
The next section brings you right by the Marais de Sionnet  a wetlands wildlife refuge. Coast quietly and you’ll hear birds and frogs!
DOWNHILL FROM HERE!
At km 11.3, another T-intersection, but this time make a right turn. At km 11.9 you will cross a busy road to the other side; make a left onto the bike path, and then almost immediately afterwards, a right onto a farm road through fields. This takes you to Meinier, where you will make a right at the church (km 12.6) .
Another tricky set of turns: after about 100 m (12.7), take the 2nd left, onto Route de Covéry, and at km 12.9, another left onto a farm road. At km 13.7, T-intersection, make a left onto Route de Bellebouche. Good news: this is the beginning of a nice long decent to the lake!
At km 14.6, you cross a busy main road; you may need to dismount and push a pedestrian button to turn the light red for traffic, and walk your bike across. Continue on through the village of Corsier – straight through at the one and only intersection by the church. Watch out for horses!  Keep going straight for quite a while; at km 16 you’ll see the Hospice Général on your left – this is where asylum seekers find a temporary home . At km 16.3, another road to cross, continue straight through; the road veers left, and at KM 17 make a right.
ONTO THE BEACH
This quiet road goes past some woods on your right, to hit Route de Chevrens at km 17.5; great view of the lake through the vineyards! . Make a right, and continue straight for quite a while, through Chevrens, all the way to Hermance. Make a right onto the main road, then shortly thereafter a left at the fountain, then onto the beach. The buvette there is the perfect place for a drink, a light bite to eat, and a great view on the lake and the Jura . Hermance is the last village in Switzerland on the south side of the lake. You can buy fresh lake fish directly from those who caught it, though we don’t recommend carrying them back on your luggage rack on a hot summer’s day!
Time to head back to Geneva, but not the quick and straight way along the main road. Do start on the main road for about 4 km; at km 24.6, make a right onto a small road that descends steeply to the lake (right after a green and yellow bus shelter on your right) . You’ll ride along the water through Corsier-Port . Then the road curves to the left, and make a right turn at km 25.9, through the shipyard (note the banana trees on your right!) .
SMALLEST PUBLIC BEACH IN GENEVA
The road makes a few bends here and there; at km 26.9 make a right at a triangular intersection (ignore the Genève sign). After a couple of bends, the road straightens out, but don’t go too fast; at km 27.7, stop at the red fire hydrant and walk down the Chemin du Port-Bleu to the smallest public beach in Geneva ! Or in Switzerland, or even the world? A hidden jewel, so don’t tell anyone else! And take a dip if it’s hot!
Back on your bike, and at km 28, don’t be tempted to make a right and continue along the lake, it’s a dead-end. Instead, make a left, then an immediate right, to begin the last climb (sorry!) At km 29.3 you’ll hit the main road from Hermance; make a right, and few hundred meters later, at 30, make a right at the roundabout, and here’s your reward – a fast descent, and then you will cruise the last few km along the lake, admiring the sailboats, the swimmers, the tanners, the mountains, the cathedral and of course the iconic jet d’eau!  One warning: be very mindful of pedestrians around Genève Plage, be patient and courteous .
Voilà, here you are back at the Jardin Anglais. If you feel like your legs got a workout, remember, it wasn’t all flat!