Electric bikes, or e-bikes, were once a niche purchase. But it is a different story today. Their appeal is expanding rapidly across the globe, particularly in Europe and China, as increasing numbers of people are drawn to the clean, fast, fun and less-effort intensive way of getting around on two wheels.
Key to the change in the e-bike’s fortunes is its improved technology. Lighter lithium ion batteries have replaced the weighty lead acid-based hardware of earlier generations, reducing the bulk of an e-bike and enabling recharging to be completed in just three to four hours. Handling has also been improved – riders are now largely unaware of when power assistance kicks in, keeping the ride smooth.
Battery life has also been enhanced with the most advanced types offering truly exceptional ranges of up to 150 kilometres (93 miles). Some bikes even enable you to top-up your charge while on the go, ideal for those harbouring lofty ambitions for sight-seeing or exploring.
Cycling has also been brought into the 21st century with dedicated display screens and accompanying apps for smart devices, which can for instance provide geo-localisation, feedback on your mileage and remote control of your e-bike’s locking mechanisms.
The aesthetics and ergonomics have also been improved. More streamlined designs can make it difficult to distinguish an e-bike from a non-powered version at first glance, and they now come in a range of styles suitable for roads, commuting or trail riding. Some e-bike manufacturers have gone even further and pushed their design teams to create bikes that look dynamic and modern.
A boost to your journey
The electronic support offered by an e-bike gives occasional, older or more recreational cyclists greater confidence, inspiring them to tackle hillier or longer routes, which for the rider comes with added gains in fitness.
With an e-bike, riders can cover far greater distances and climb gradients with ease, and it takes no time to master, so it quickly becomes great fun. This makes it ideal for touring or exploring while you are away on holiday, particularly in more mountainous regions. You can enjoy the view without requiring an athlete’s conditioning.
Biking in the Engadin
Touring can be as challenging or as laid-back as you like, taking in the key sights or discovering locations off the beaten track. To give you a taste of what you can see on two wheels, here are three of our favourite routes.
Short cycling route: The Albula Trail
This route along the Albula Trail takes in spectacular mountain scenery. Starting from the summit of the Albula Pass (2,315 metres or 7,595 feet high), easily reached by the Bus Alpine, this breathtaking downhill course is full of surprises and ends in the historic village of La Punt, renowned for its richly decorated houses. If you have the time, you have the option of cycling up to the Albula Pass rather than take the bus.
Length: 8.6 kilometres (5.3 miles)
Recommended for: People looking for their first trail-riding experience
Highlight: Reward your effort with a slice of apple strudel at Alp Alesch before finishing off with a gentle ride through a fragrant pine forest.
Click here to see a detailed route map.
Countryside cycling route
Take this route out of St. Moritz and follow it on a loop past La Crasta and on towards Pontresina, before weaving through the countryside and circling round to idyllic Lake Staz. Then follow the official route 1 back to St. Moritz.
Length: 14.5 kilometres (9 miles)
Recommended for: Experienced mountainbikers
Highlights: Admire the old larch trees and stone pines in the forest of Starz (Stazerwald). At Lake Staz, put your bike to one side, admire the views and take a dip in the lake, a calm bathing spot in a clearing in the forest.
If time is short or you want to make the most of early evening sunshine, this route could be perfect. Begin in St. Moritz and head south-west, following a wonderful looping circuit with plenty of architecture to admire.
Length: 5.2 kilometres (3.2 miles)
Recommended for: People with some mountain-biking experience
Highlights: Take a moment to visit the French Church “Au Bois”, a former French Calvinist church built in the 1870s, or learn more about St. Moritz’s bathing culture at the Forum Paracelsus.
Click here to see an interactive map with more recommended bike tours.