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- Switzerland, Pontresina

Explore New Ground

Our exploration of Europe by e-MTB continues. We set ten riders the task of designing an e-MTB route to challenge and inspire riders to explore new ground. In Switzerland international cycling guide Dave Spielmann showed us around his favourite ride.

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With over 400 kilometres of singletrack to explore in the Engadin Valley you are spoilt for choice, but local guide and e-MTB rider Dave Spielmann managed to design a route for us that show cases the huge variety on offer.  It starts with some traditional Swiss high alpine mountain villages, followed by beautiful woodlands and culminating with views to glaciers and the highest peaks in the region. 

High mountains have a magical effect on the human psyche, they somehow manage to both calm and inspire. A day in the mountains is worth a week of holiday anywhere else. In one ride from Pontresina you are able to experience a hugely diverse amount of riding and scenery and this route is absolutely unbelievable, it is so picturesque. Everywhere you look there is a beautiful mountain or a lake.

The first part of Spielmann’s route, until you begin to climb the Bernina Pass, is moderately easy. It is a superb mix of terrain; single track, man-made trails, rocky hiking paths and sweet flow trails.  But if you decide to follow the longer loop around Lagalp it becomes much more challenging with every variation of high alpine terrain; hard climbs, open meadows, small lakes and stream crossings!

Train versus e-MTB

Many riders opt for the train to the summit of the Bernina Pass but for this e-MTB route Spielmann takes advantage of the SHIMANO STEPS assistance to ride the full route to the top. Toby Martin, from the HUMAN film crew, wanted to capture Spielmann cycling alongside the train tracks but even with the world renowned punctuality and timing of Swiss trains it was still a tricky shot to get.

The route is absolutely unbelievable; it is so picturesque. So much colour, variation in the terrain. Everywhere you look there is a beautiful mountain or a lake.

“We really wanted to get a train shot so we headed to a spot where we knew we could get Dave and the train alongside each other. The second we arrived the train came. We were shouting ‘train, train!’ We started running across the field to get it, dragging our camera gear with Dave sprinting toward it on his bike. But by the time we got into position it had gone.”

“We waited awhile for another but gave up as we had other things to shoot, then just as we were walking away, another train came past. We turned and scrambled for positions again and we missed it a second time! Then the train gods smiled on us and suddenly trains were coming from every direction. It was a bit of a battle to get this shot at first but we were so glad we waited.”

Swiss ride fuel

A day of riding and filming in the high mountains really works up an appetite. Spielmann insisted all the crew try his favourite dish, the local speciality Älplermagronen mit Apfelmus, a typical farmer’s meal.

“The restaurant brought out this huge pasta dish, basically a macaroni cheese” recalls videographer Toby Martin, “Dave stood opposite me and looked me right in the eye as he absolutely smothered it in apple sauce. I could not believe it! He gave me the spoon to try it and I just started to laugh, it is so good together! It is weird, but I’ve been craving it ever since!” 

Many of the local Swiss specialties are really dense, fatty and carb rich designed to give you energy for the altitude and perfect for the post-ride carb fest - but first you have to earn it. Time to get on your e-MTB and head for the mountains.

An e-mountain bike gives you the power to explore new grounds - where will you take yours? Tell us at @Shimanoebike

Switzerland, Pontresina, Engadin

High up amongst the mountain lakes, with a back drop of glinting glaciers, you can find some of the best adrenaline driven alpine singletrack you will ever ride. 

Dave Spielmann | @dave_spielmann