A VEHICLE FOR FREEDOM

Real cyclists turn their noses up at e-bikes. They shouldn’t. We love them because they take us to places we’d otherwise never have reached. In Paznaun, too.

The Silvretta High Alpine Road is famous, and unlike many other famous places, justifiably so. It leads from Galtür to Parenen in Montafon, and it twists and turns 34 times through the Alps, each bend opening up a new view of peaks and slopes, valleys and troughs. It’s famous, it’s an adventure, and for anyone who doesn’t want to experience it sitting in a car or on a motorbike, it’s also a mighty big challenge.

You do have to ride a really long way, and pedal very hard, to conquer it. It’s definitely not for beginners. At least, that was the case, until e-bikes became a mass phenomenon. Of course, bikes with an in-built electric motor were sneered at for a long time. Real athletes obviously don’t need anything like that. They prefer to go to extremes and risk their own health, instead of going for a compromise solution.

You do after all have to pedal e-bikes, too. They don’t go by themselves, but where it gets really steep, they enable you do what you couldn’t do alone. And likewise if the distance is too much for you. They help you along, they help you out – but nothing more.

They are, if you want to be a bit more dramatic, not just a vehicle, but a vehicle for freedom. You can cycle with them to huts you would never reach on foot. You can reach mountain lakes a shade of turquoise you could only otherwise guess at from photos, you can reach heights which give you a completely different view of the world.

And with the e-bike, you can’t just conquer the Silvretta High Alpine Road, you can also actually enjoy it. After all, it’s not famous for the beauty of the road itself, but for the views it offers.