2023 on my wheels...

An stunning comparison between the distance covered on my office chair and on my bicycles…

2023, the first non-running year in 15 years… But an amazing year of cycling on my mountain bike and gravel bike.

And that’s no reason to abandon old traditions, so, like every year, here’s a review that’s guaranteed to be uninteresting (which is surprisingly interesting given the number of reads), with lots of useless and stupid figures, and links, and pictures (on which you can click to see where it was, exactly or more or less) 

*already checked my instabike ? @urbirunbike 

And if you like it here, you can buy me a coffee 


So in 2023 I have been seating on things with wheels for 10'139km (6'300.08 miles)... 

The top 3 of seats on which my butt spent time is as follows: 

  • 1st: office chair, despite a distance covered of 0km, it’s having a good season, but the time spent on it can be summed up as : way to much
  • 2nd: Merida Silex700 gravel saddle, distance covered: 5,480km, well done for a first gravel/road season.

 clic to see where it was

  • 3rd: Merida BigNineXT mountain bike saddle, distance covered: 4'659km, its best season ever, just beating its score from 2022, when I still ran 1'834km…

Have you been high?

In terms of elevation? the office floor is flat (and fake wood). On the other hand, on the bikes, I’ve climbed Everest 21 times (well, the equivalent, as I couldn’t find a porter for the bike), for a total elevation of +186,268m (+611'115 ft) of various climbs.…

 clic to see where it was

And then there were some great discoveries and bikepacking trips (I’ll tell you about them briefly below, and perhaps in detail in other articles)…

This year finally adds up to

  • 845 km/month (525 milles/mo)
  • 218 rides
  • 46.5km average per ride
  • 23.6 full days, day and night, on a bike, i.e. just over 3 full weeks, without getting off the bike, not even to pee, sleep or re-inflate the tires…
  • 18km/h average speed, but given the number of km of mountain biking, on trails and/or uphill… in the end, this figure doesn’t really mean anything.
  • Elevation total +186'268m (620 Eiffel Towers stacked up), of which 99'922m mountain bike and 86'345m gravel. More than 186km of ascent, higher than the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, in short, all the way to the thermosphere (and I can tell you that it’s sometimes cool up there).
  • Longest ride : a solo tour of Lac Lémann(Geneva Lake), 185km (115miles) and +1'591m elevation in just over 8 hours, from Le Bouveret to Le Bouveret, clockwise so that I could take in the sublime scenery of Lavaux (a UNESCO World Heritage site) on the north shore of the lake.

Had you time to eat?

And the advantage of sitting so far away for so long, is that it allows you to burn quite a lot of calories : 356,135, according to Garmin (a calculation I don’t trust at all, but which is fun), which represents : 

  • 712 chocolate bars (500cal/100g), or around 71 kg (almost 2 bars/day), or 
  • 890 liters of beer (40cal per dl), or 1'780 cans (0.5L) of lager (I promise I didn’t drink that much, that would be almost 5 a day every single say), or 
  • 3’957 bananas (90cal per fruit), representing a 475m long banana, or
  • 395 pizzas (if 900 calories/pizza), or
  • 162 meters long of energy bars 
  • 445kg of pasta, in just over 2,225 plates of spaghetti tomato, without cheese (160cal per plate of 200g of cooked pasta) and this is 6.1 plates of pasta per day, one every 2 hours awake (if I sleep 12h/day)… 
    (pfff… only writing all this, I’m not hungry at all…)

 clic to see where it was

But all that energy spent would be equivalent to pedaling this kind of fictitious trip (I haven’t done them, it’s the total km that would give that, ok?) : 

  • From the far west of Europe, i.e. from Lisbon to Irkutsk, Siberia, on the shores of Lake Baikal.
  • A great tour of Europe, starting from home in Switzerland, via Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Lisbon, Porto, Bordeaux, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Vilnius, Warsaw, Krakow, Vienna, Budapest, Ljubljana, Rome, Florence, before returning via the Aosta Valley and the Great St Bernard Pass.
  • three-quarters of the way around the USA, leaving from Miami, drive up the East Coast via Washington, New York, Boston to Quebec City, then cross the whole country from the North, via Toronto, Chicago, Minneapolis, to reach the Pacific at Seattle (on the Canadian border), before driving down the whole West Coast to San Diego on the Mexican border, via San Francisco and Los Angeles…

NB: if you don’t have your bike with you when you travel and you also like to run, you’ll find urbirun sightseeiing running routes, guided and commented, to download for all these cities, and many others too… Check-it out here, and tell your running friends about it.


One thing I didn’t count, but I should have, was punctures. Seriously, I’ve had a lot more than when I was running, it’s crazy. I’ve had lots of them, immediate ones, with the screw firmly planted in the tire, slow ones that you don’t know where they’re coming from, vicious, discreet ones, right next to one you’ve just repaired, in short, all kinds… As a result, I’ve made good progress, I’m almost able to repair in less than 23 minutes… and the most original place I’ve had one was on an airport runway. Yes, seriously, the big runway and all… Right in the middle of Berlin, at the Tempelhof disused airport turned into a park, on the last day of my Bern-Berlin gravel trip (and only puncture of this 1'040km trip, by the way)…


And what about some routes?

And more concretely, apart from dozens of rides around my home, on mountain bike or gravel, the classic climbs during lunch break, such as the ascent to Villars via Gryon, or Les Giettes, or even the entire Route des Rives when there’s more time, I’ve been showing my bikes new spots all over Switzerland and elsewhere…

And some nice ones, you’re either an “urbirunner” or you’re not: sport scenery matters, and as the famous urbirun moto says: “if your legs hurt, it will be good for your eyes”


Highlights and discoveries include, for example

  • Some discoveries in Ticino (Italian-speaking Switzerland)
  • Lake Como and surroundings
  • Tour od the Canton of Schaffhausen (northern Switzerland, MTB route 50, 2.5 days)
  • Crossing the Chasseral massif (Swiss Jura, MTB route 44, 2 days)
  • Diemtigtal Nature Park (Bernese Oberland, Central Switzerland, including MTB route 916)
  • Pirmasens/Dahnin Felsenland region, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
  • Crossing the UNESCO Entlebuch Biosphere Reserve (Central Switzerland, mountain bike route 77, 2 days)
  • Gasterntal, or the “secret” valley (Bernese Oberland, Central Switzerland)
  • Switzerland crossing on MTB Route 2, north-east to south-west, 7 days, 505km and 15,000m D+)
  • North of Lake Garda, Italy
  • Istria, Croatia
  • Canarias Islands : Fuerteventura and Lanzarote
  • Bern-Berlin, 7 days of gravel in the footsteps of history.

 Gasterntal, clic

So lucky me… If you like, I’ll tell you a bit more about it in this article (coming soon), with photos, and links to click on, download the itineraries, and pedal too…

(and if there are a lot of “SwitzerlandMobility mountain bike routes”, it’s because I’m planning to do them all – to date, there are over 8,000km of SwitzerlandMobility mountain bike routes in the country).

It’s been a wonderful year, full of leg-pulling and eye-rolling… I wish the same energy for the coming year. 

*already checked my instabike ? @urbirunbike 

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