An E-Bike Picture Story of the Kitzbühel Alps

31.05.2018InesInes

Denise, Alex and Gero wanted to find the answer to a nowadays much asked question: Why e-bike? They wanted to see for themselves what it is like to step on a bike that gives you extra power. Can you see more in a day? Go longer distances? Go up steeper hills? Can you cover more ground in less time? They found a stunning network of well-marked forest roads, dirt roads and trails in the Kitzbühel Alps. Here, they share the highlights of their weekend tour and why Kitzbühel Alps’ landscapes are perfect for exploring on two wheels with a little boost.

Of course, we were hoping for a warm and sunny day. Instead, it was overcast and the elements seemed to be potentially unforgiving. But that is no reason to give up. Instead, we give electric assistance a try and tap into the motor for a nice boost. The result: These bikes are really fun! We click the lever and find that kicking the bike into turbo makes us giggle like a kid.

On our first tour we are being led by local mountain bike guide Mathäus who rides his father’s e-bike. Unfortunately, Mathäus is invited on a family celebration that evening. To help us find our way without his guidance, Mathäus ‘revises’ our trail map with a permanent marker. It’s all circular squiggles and captions afterwards. Saying “scenic waterfall”, “overnight stay”, “easy trail” or “cheese!”.

One gets thirsty, even if given some extra oomph on the hilly bits. We are taking a drinking break with a stunning view of Großer Rettenstein’s iconic summit. We cannot agree on the temperature. Is it too warm or is it too cold?

Denise uses the rest stop to dry her feet. Her shoes were soaking wet right from the start.

Obviously, we know how to mountain bike. What’s new to us is the extra power the e-bike provides. Fuelled by both pedalling and electric power, the e-bike lets us rediscover our limits: It’s like a secret weapon, which enables us to pedal up the steepest mountain with ease—the climbs we wouldn’t have tackled if we had gone for the traditional bike option. The way the e-bike sails up the inclines is really quite amazing.

It’s drizzling. We take shelter in a shed. It smells of cow dung, milking machines are stored on the wall yet not a single cow is to be seen. The cattle is grazing outside on the Alpine pastures, rain or shine.

“Comfort food” in the true sense of those words: We opt for a bar of chocolate. We haven’t ridden far, yet our legs are splattered with mud.

Picture time at Stangenalm. Thank you, dear cowshed. You provided a dry shelter from the rain.

Matthäus, our guide, sprinkled with additional freckles of mud.

Our destination end for that day: Hornköpfel Hut atop the summit is not your ordinary mountain lodge. Operated by hipsters who have a good taste. Bunk beds, stunning views, the best Kasspatzln. Ever. And an extensive wine list. We opted for the Zweigelt.

Innkeeper Christof Müllmann and his friends make some music and we are invited to listen. What’s most striking: Accordions that sound like bagpipes. The guys have been on quite an inspirational trip to Scotland.

Group shot with flowers. It’s quite chilly outside so we skip the sundowner on the outdoor patio. Our e-bikes cuddle against each other like little lambs.

Eventually, the sky clears and the sun shines through the clouds. Time to pedal for a few more vertical meters. Always upward! Climbing steeply, the trail furiously works its way up to the cross on the summit.

Alex is happy. Before starting his new job, he really can get down this weekend. Even if it’s upward.

Wisps of clouds float over the craggy mountainous landscape of the Kitzbühel Alps. Fortunately, summer evenings are long and we can make the most out of the time. Dinner is definitely well-earned that night.

Cable drum, power outlet strip, battery charger. Mountain biking, 21st century style.

High five! There’s a little difference between handling a classic mountain bike and an e-bike—you must shift your center of gravity somewhat higher as the battery and engine causes the eMTB to have a lower center of gravity. Denise and Alex have mastered it and feel great on day one already.

We charge the batteries in the power outlet overnight. After all, we want to pedal up the steepest climbs with ease the following day, too.

The weather gods are on our side this morning. While we are stretching our legs, the cattle is grazing on the pastures below and we listen to the sound of cowbells ringing.

Being able to see the glorious mountain scenery, whilst enjoying the glorious weather conditions, reveals the sheer beauty of the region. A seemingly infinite array of peaks spreads out before us. We enjoy our first coffee on the balcony of Hornköpfel Hut. It’s all very relaxed. Easy. The batteries of our e-bikes are fully charged. And as we can always tap into the motor for a nice boost, getting out very early in the morning is not a priority today. How convenient!

Temperatures have risen, the skies are deep blue and we ride across Unterwindau in the heat of the sun. We ride past Schwaigerberg and continue down to Straubing Alpine Pasture Hut with cheese dairy.

A refreshing way to cool down: Windauer Ache creek is a perfectly chill place even in the middle of summer. Great for a quick dip.

No one at home? How nice. We take a rest in front of this wonderful timber lodge and reful for the final climb of the day. Thanks for this amazing place!

Up through Krumbachwald Forest and down again we reach our destination for the second night.

Tucked in a beautiful basin, Rotwand Grundalm Alpine Pasture Hut is located at the head of the valley. Eight milking cows, 18 young cows in calf, 114 sheep, 34 goats and five pigs call this gorgeous place home. We are welcomed by innkeeper Carola Obermoser, a forceful yet warm woman. We spend that night in the barn, above the animals.

With our without electric assistance? Denise puts it like that: Everyone needs a little assistance every now and then. You still have to peddle, but at the touch a button the silent electric motor kicks in and takes the pain out of the gradient.

Everything is splattered with mud. Obviously, there’s no difference between a classic mountain bike and an e-bike when it comes to dirt. In the evening, we wash our clothes. Hopefully it will all be dry again the next morning.

 

Infobox

The Kitzbühel Alps have long been a sought-after destination for e-biking. Very early, they realized that the e-bike market was just about to kick off, and they decided to make this scenic region a no-brainer for great e-biking. There is an amazing 1,000-kilometer network of roads and trails to explore and the availability of e-bike rentals is exemplary: This scenic region hires out 310 electric bikes at 43 rental shops and boasts 80 charging stations. Moreover, 38 local hotels are especially committed to meet the special needs and requirements of e-bikers—and they love to share their e-biking passion with guests.

Ines

Dazzling lights and beautiful cityscapes: Ines Mayerl loves the exciting, fast-paced big city life. But no matter how far she may travel, she always returns home to escape to the mountains, to discover stylish, new cafés in Innsbruck and to hit the slopes.

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