The round trip is only about 50km but by the time you add in the few double backs or navigation faux pas, plus some cycling in Baden itself we probably did nearer 60. That's not to say the route wasn't well signposted - it was for the most part but you do need to keep vigilant for the small, usually red, signs. Cyclists need to apply their own ingenuity rather than relying on having everything handed on a plate with big 'can't miss' road signs!
Baden is about 25km north west of Zurich and is a return trip although there are several different routes available so we made it a loop as that's usually more interesting. As usual Rob was my bike buddy and his navigational skills were appreciated. However between the route signs and GPS tracking of our route using offline maps, it would have been hard to go too far wrong - and we didn't.
Both Zurich and Baden are on the Limmat river and we chose to ride out a northerly route, bypassing Regensdorf (routes 32 and then 5 if you're checking a map). The path started from the heart of Zurich and it was surprisingly quick to get out of the city - it's actually not that big (metropolitan population about 1.8m). The route itself offered quite a variety, from not-too-busy urban and quiet rural roads to lanes though farmland and even a farmyard or two. Some sections were on packed dirt or unsealed surfaces, but these are easily tackled by most bikes.
The old town (altstadt) of Baden is very pretty with the beautiful Catholic City Church definitely worth a vist - the simple exterior hides a very decorative interior. A café stop in the square under the City Tower (StadtTurm) is great for people watching and soaking up the atmosphere. Riding across the quaint covered wooden bridge is a thrill although the descent is quite steep. The other point of note is the ruins of Stein castle on a hill above the town which offers great 360° views of the Limmat Valley - leave your bike at the bottom as there are a lot of steps.
The name Baden means baths as the town is famous for it's thermal springs - however at the time of our visit the public baths were under renovation although there are several hotels based at various other springs.
Elsewhere 'modern' Baden is quite uninteresting and even ugly with a lot of construction going on - busy heavy traffic roads are not conducive to enjoyable cycling. The area is also quite industrial. But with a distinguished history going back to the Roman era, a casino and the hot springs, Baden has a lot going for it.
For our return to Zurich we took a different path (mostly Route 66) which was absolutely delightful, closely hugging the river and often passing through wooded and shaded areas. The route mostly stayed well away from roads and cars but was unsealed for most of the way. The stoney surface was good but it made the 25kn distance much harder work than it otherwise would have been.
Occasionally we saw people having fun floating down the river on rafts and rubber rings - obviously a popular pastime and this was only a Monday! Closer to the city there were sunbathing and swimming places that were also well frequented by people making the most of the glorious weather.
However as on the way out, it was a relatively easy and short journey through the outer suburbs to the city centre. All in all a great day's outing from Zurich.