Stage 5 of the Mittelland Bike Route was 62 km and went from Solothurn to Ins. This stage is the flattest stage of the whole route and that made pedaling along it quite easy and enjoyable. A good portion of this trail is along the Aare river and Aare canal, which was very pretty. It also went the length of Lake Biel, although the lake was rarely visible form the trail. The most interesting point along the way was the Hagneck hydroelectric power plant. It was worth taking a break there to a look around a bit.
|Where:||Solothurn to Ins|
Canton Solothurn and Canton Bern, Switzerland
|Train:||Zürich HB -> Solothurn – 52 min|
Ins -> Zürich HB – 1 hr 44 min
|What:||Mittelland Trail – Stage 5 Solothurn to Ins|
Red cycle path signs with a blue number 5
|Stats:||Length 62 km (41 asphalted, 21 natural surface), Ascent 280 m, Descent 260 m|
This trail starts near the Solothurn train station. When we finished stage 4, we left our bikes locked at the train station, so we didn’t need to bring the bikes on the train when we started stage 5. It was nice to see our bikes were still there even though the light on my son’s bike was stolen. Not surprising, but still annoying.
After leaving the train station, we headed down the main street and then onto the cobble stone streets which led to our trail.
Like stage 4, stage 5 spends a lot of time along side the Aare river. The trail alternated between paved streets and dirt bike paths. This stage is the flattest stage of the seven and we just zipped along.
When we reached Büren an der Aare, we wanted to stop for lunch. There is restaurant on the trail side of the wooden bridge, but we were looking for something other than Swiss cuisine. So, we left the trail briefly and crossed the bridge over to the other side where there were several more restaurant to choose from. We ate at Fu Family China Restaurant. The lunch menu was a bit limited but still included my son’s favorite (sweet and sour chicken). The food was well prepared and tasty and the service was prompt and friendly. We had a nice shaded outside table, and Büren an der Aare is a cute little town. Overall, it was really good choice for our lunch. I’m happy we stopped there.
After lunch, we crossed back over the bridge and continued on our way. The trail here follows alongside the Aare canal. I could tell we were getting close to Lake Biel because the canal was filled with moored boats. Even so, when it looked like we were going to get to the lake shore on the map, the trail veered away from the lake and it took quite awhile before I could get a get view of the shore. Still, it was pretty when I did.
After seeing the shore, the trail takes a turn away from the lake and there is a bit of ascent. We got some nice views of the lake from above before heading back down to the shore.
When we reached the Hagneck hydroelectric power plant (german), we stopped and got off our bikes to walk around a bit to read the information signs and to take a closer look at the propeller/impeller that was on display.
After Hagneck, we had another 20 km or so to go. Despite the flatness of the trail, I was still starting to get worn out. And unfortunately, a couple of the water fountains we passed said “Kein Trinkwasser” (not drinking water), so I wasn’t able to refill my water bottle as often as I wanted. I did, however, remember to take a few pictures along the way.
As we neared the end, we were along a canal again. I really appreciated the flat terrain.
After a brief turn through the fields, we reached the train station at Ins and we parked our bikes.
I was exhausted, but happy we completed the whole stage in a single day. Since our commute is getting longer to get to and from the trail, we are hoping to do the next sections as one day trips as well. But first, I need a bit of rest.