Photo of a hotel on an island surrounded by mountains

Circuito Chico is a ~20km road that is ~20km from downtown Bariloche. It is one of the main attractions in the area and offers spectacular scenery and it’s from there that you can access Colonia Suiza. A picturesque Swiss-style village. Cycling the Circuito Chico is often suggested as the best way to experience it as opposed to driving. My wife and I recently visited Bariloche and completed the Circuito Chico on bikes but it ended up being a day of frustration rather than one of relaxing in a gorgeous location.

Don’t cycle from Bariloche to Circuito Chico! It’s a ~40km round trip from downtown Bariloche and is not worth the time and effort. You might think, like I did, what could ruin a 40km ride near the banks of the nearby lake?

  1. The vast majority of bikes available for hire are mountain bikes. The bikes are heavy, the tires are slow MTB tires. A gravel bike would have been ideal. An e-gravel bike would have been better. I didn’t spot either of those along the way.
  2. You can’t see much of the lake along the way, so the ride isn’t very interesting.
  3. Worse. The road is busy. The good news is that the cars give you space. The bad news is that the buses don’t, they expect you to ride in the dirt. One bus passed me so close that I could touch the side of the bus.

It took us almost 2hrs to cycle 20km to Circuito Chic and by then we felt like we’d had enough. The stiff headwind didn’t help either

My advice would be to drive or grab a public bus to Circuit Chico. Then hire an e-bike at the start point. Circuito Chico is not flat! It has numerous short climbs with some tough gradients. Yes, we had a tailwind on the way back but by then we were too spent to enjoy it.

Check my ride on Strava