The Swiss Mittelland offers a wealth of great motorcycle routes. We had the Street-Hawks motorcycle club show us a winding loop.
Dominic's 220-km "TÖFF" day trip takes us roughly around the Passwang, which is probably known far and wide. It's charming, but it's also worth going around it. In the Gäu region of Solothurn, the curves start right away. The first pass is the 991 meter high Chilchzimmersattel, which brings us to Eptingen, where the famous and rich mineral water "Eptinger" springs not far from the village. Immediately afterwards we pass Läufelfingen, from where it would be only a stone's throw to the legendary motorcycle meeting place "Isebähnli" in Trimbach. But we whiz along the winding country road further east to reach the Saalhöhe after Erlinsbach - the village that was divided along the Erzbach in the course of history and today forms both a municipality in the canton of Solothurn and one in the canton of Aargau. Another small pass where we make a short stop at the "Chalet", both FMS motorcycle meeting place and regular pub of the Yamaha GTS/FJR club.
In lively forest solitude, the route continues to Liestal, followed by Schwarzbubenland. The name of the area, which includes the districts of Dorneck and Thierstein, has not been clarified to this day. If you research it, you will find several interesting approaches, ranging from picking black cherries to smuggling them across the nearby French border. "I heard the name came from moonshine," Dominic says, "because the region is known for its kirsch to this day." We'll test that another time. But we don't want to miss the view from the Gempenturm tower or the "Bärgbeiz" of the same name, which is located directly in front of it. Afterwards, we dive further and further into the primeval Jura mountains with their bright, towering rocks. In the many shady, green valleys and gorges, we can always look forward to a few degrees lower temperatures.
There is remarkably little traffic on the entire route. And that on a Sunday with perfect bike weather. Only at Liesberg in Laufental do we turn back onto a large cantonal road that takes us through Delémont, among other places. Here we could branch off towards the west (France), where another motorcycle paradise opens up.
But it should remain with a day tour, and finally another challenge as well as a final highlight with Street Hawks typical coziness factor is waiting for us.
No, our challenge is not the Hauenstein Pass (Oberdorf - Gänsbrunnen), which is one of the steepest passes in Switzerland with a gradient of up to 22 percent (and is closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays). It lies a little further east and is called Balmberg. It even makes some seasoned bikers cringe! Street Hawks club president Röbi stands by it: "I don't like the Balmberg at all!" But what the tour guide is planning has to be accepted. The highlight of this more than 1000 meter high passage from Welschenrohr to Günsberg are its almost "overhanging" hairpin bends on the north side, which have to be taken with caution and tact (on gas and clutch) in case of oncoming traffic. As compensation (not only for Röbi), the final drink awaits in the former cellulose factory Attisholz, which has been given a second life with the six-hectare "Uferpark Attisholz". Eating, drinking, swimming, experiencing events, relaxing ... are the motto here on both sides of the Aare.
FOOD AND TURN
Discover something new
Dominic is one of the three Streethawks tour guides. Having grown up in the Mittelland, he knows practically every motorcycle route here. The sausage and cheese salad is also available with French fries at the Gempenturm restaurant. In the neighboring Fricktal, this combination is also known as "Füürwehrtäller".
Coffee stop on the Saalhöhe pass. Our test-Africa-Twin feels very much at home in the club, which is open to all brands but is currently BMW-heavy.
Industrial history - In 1881, the first Swiss cellulose factory was established in Attisholz on the Aare River. It was closed in 2008 for economic reasons. Today, a "long-term generational project" is envisioned here, ranging from living to education and working to recreational experiences.