Mountain Bike on Anabolic Steroids

The other day a strange looking bicycle was standing in the shop. With its fork and frame barely able to hold the bloated tires in place, it looked like a mountain bike on anabolic steroids. Cross country, downhill, enduro, trial, recumbent, touring, road and folding bikes I had already seen and used, but never a bike with such fat tires. It looked like a lot of fun. And a short test ride later I decided to buy one of these. It happened to be a Fatboy from Specialized. During the first few rides I learned that everybody had something to say as soon as they had a look at the bike: “Where is the engine? Can you ride it up the mountain? Isn’t it too heavy? Does it make fun to ride without snow or sand? Is this a downhill bike?”. To answer all this questions I decided to take it on some of my favorite test tracks.

Via degli Alpi - Val Bedretto

Up and down on the Via degli Alpi in Val Bedretto

Bettmeralp

Some easy rolling on the singletracks of Bettmeralp

Cabane de Galmihorn

On the freshly build singletrack towards the Cabane de Galmihorn

natural habitat

The Fatboy in its natural habitat

some selected test profiles

some selected test profiles

And here the answers to the questions above: “Where is the engine?” – there’s a two stroke biochemical powered engine sitting on the sattle “Can you ride it up the mountain?” – Yes, as with any other bicycle “Isn’t it too heavy?” – No “Does it make fun to ride?” – Yes, a lot! “Is this a downhill bike?” – Yes: perfect on nice smooth trails, go easy on rocky technical sections!

Up to now I used the Fatboy for 6 MTB trips around the swiss alps. And I’m sure more will come.

Distance: 270 km
Difference in altitude: 6000 m uphill, 10000 m downhill

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On the traces of WW I – Linea Cadorna

100 years ago the first world war started (July 28th 1914), and some remains of that war are still present. Such as the famous Cadorna Line, a defence line in the region of the Alto Varesotto, build from Italy against attacs from Germany and Austriche. The fortifications have been build into the landscape, and where hard to be seen from distance. Often they occured suddenly during the bicycle trip over the old military roads.

Uphill towards Cadegliane-Viconago

Uphill towards Cadegliane-Viconago

View down to Ponte Tresa and Monte Caslano

View down to Ponte Tresa and Monte Caslano

Fortifications along the climb to Monte Piambello

Fortifications along the climb to Monte Piambello

Artillery observation point on top of Monte Piambello

Artillery observation point on top of Monte Piambello (1129m)

Fortifications just above Laveno

Fortifications just above Laveno

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UNESCO Trail Brischeru

“Don’t let the snow stop you.” With this though in mind I took off with my bicycle and a pair of snow shoes to ride the Finnu-MTB-Tour, with a short stretch on the Unesco trail Brischeru.

finnu

After passing through the little villages of Eggerberg and Eggen on well cleaned roads the snow started to appear.

finnu

At Finnu it was time to change to the snowshoes for the short climb up to Chastler.

finnu

View south into the valleys Saasertal and Mattertal. The mountains of the Mischabel are covered with clouds.

finnu

The Unesco trail Brischeru, where snowshoeing meets mountainbiking

finnu

The villages of Brig-Glis and Naters from where I started today.

Distance: 39 km
Difference in altitude: 1100 m

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Winter Walk: Lake Geneva – The Chillon Castle

Short water walk from Villeneuve to the medieval Chillon Castle and back to welcome the astronomical winter. On my way back to Villeneuve I paid a short visit to the Ile de Peilz. Its look changed a bit since my last visit.

Chillon Castle

getting into the water at Villeneuve

Chillon Castle

On the way Chillon Castle

Chillon Castle

Approaching Chillon Castle

Chillon Castle

Medieval water closets coming into view. Let’s hope nobody still uses them.

Ile de Peilz

Approaching Ile de Peilz

Ile de Peilz

Leaving Ile de Peilz

Temperatures: 6°C air, 7°C water
Wind: 4-5 km/h
Distance: 7 km

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Winter Walk: Lago di Mergozzo

A nice walk over the water of Lago di Mergozzo.

Lago di Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo: along the Via Filippo Turati in direction to Verbania

Lago di Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo: just in front of the camping grounds at the border of the lake oposite to Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo: along the Monte Orfano towards Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo: the town of Mergozzo coming into view

Lago di Mergozzo

Lago di Mergozzo: time to get out of the water again

temperatures: 7°C air, 8°C water
wind: not noticeable
distance: 6 km

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Ile de Peilz

Today I went for some stand up paddling to the Ile de Peilz. A small island in the lake geneva, just in front of Villeneuve.

Ile de Peilz

Ile de Peilz

It‘s the same small island Lord Byron describes in his poem „The Prisoner of Chillon“.

And then there was a little isle,

Which in my very face did smile,

The only one in view;

A small green isle, it seem’d no more,

Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,

But in it there were three tall trees,

And o’er it blew the mountain breeze,

And by it there were waters flowing,

And on it there were young flowers growing,

Of gentle breath and hue.

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Prisoner_of_Chillon

Many things have changed since then. There are no flowers on the island, and of the three tall trees, only one, but a huge one, still exists today. The roots of this tree started to destroy the walls holding the island together, as the it grow bigger and bigger.
The whole island has been restaured in 2010, and now it looks like new.
This was my first visit of the island. And it was like I imagined – just beautiful.

Ile de Peilz

Ile de Peilz

Ile de Peilz

Ile de Peilz

temperatures: 15-18°C air, 15°C water
wind: not noticeable
distance: 10 km

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Alta Rezia Day 3: Trailsurfing from Mals to Scuol (Italy / Switzerland)

The last stage of our Alta Rezia Tour let us back into Switzerland. After the challenging stage from yesterday this day promised to be an easy one, with just the Passo di Slingia as major obstacle. After yesterdays frost I was pleased to see just a rainbow over the forests of Val Mustair. I took this as a good sign, what it was. The weather was nice and dry, with occasional clouds obscurring the sun.

Rainbow over Val Mustair

Rainbow over Val Mustair

Val Venosta Superiore

Val Venosta Superiore

Valle di Slingia

Valle di Slingia

Val d'Uina

Val d’Uina

Val d'Uina

Val d’Uina

Profil stage 3

Profil stage 3

Statistics: 41.5 km, uphill 1719 hm, downhill 1462 m, travel time 6 h 31 min

Statistics Alta Rezia Tour:
167.1 km, uphill 5828 m, downhill 5906 m, travel time 22 h (17 h in movement)

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