the pro Enduro rider experiences new adventures on his doorstep with the eMountain bike
I just love riding at home on the Flumserberg mountain in the afternoon, spending the night out there and then going back on a longer trail the next morning. With the eMountain bike, there are less hurdles to stop me doing that. I reach the top fairly dry so I don't have to pack so many clothes and can also experience these small adventures in less time.
Training is as important as ever for me. I live right in the mountains and always had to ride into the valley on my racing bike to do my targeted training. With the eMountain bike, I can leave the racing bike at home and start the training or regeneration right from my doorstep. I can monitor my key values on the Nyon on-board computer.
Nature is important to me for switching off and recharging my batteries. I've always had great respect for nature. That's why I started taking animal photos a few years ago. With the eMountain bike, I can now also carry heavier equipment up to the mountain and approach impressive animals very closely thanks to the virtually silent drive.
Especially the small adventures, but also the new riding sensation with the eMountain bike mean lots of fun to me. I go out riding a lot with friends at home in Flumserberg and they also really enjoy their eMountain bikes. It's really easy to have a chat on the bikes and catch up on each other's news so that we really enjoy our ride up as well as downhill.
Even during races, it's all about flow for me. I try to find lines and variations that flow and work best. My adventures are flows too, setting off, arriving on mountain, the overnight rest and then the long descent the next morning. The eMountain bike supports me and complements the flow with the Uphill Flow. Although I sometimes like the torturous ride up, I only experience that free feeling on the uphill ride with support.
“Don't go too far away. There are usually beautiful places close by.”
as we approach the address that René Wildhaber, the Swiss mountain bike pro has given us. René likes the quiet life. This is evident from his home, but also due to his considered and pleasant manner. Particularly in recent years, he's drawn attention to himself through tales of adventure. Adventure has been a constantly recurring theme in his life: discovery, experiences, action, frequently beyond the comfort zone.
he first completed an apprenticeship as a joiner. In the winter, he occasionally works as a ski teacher on the Flumserberg, a mountain with which he has a special relationship. It's always been the mountain on which he has trained, had fun and developed his technical skills.
an adventure at his doorstep. But first, we pack up the things we'll need: tent, camping stove, sleeping bags, we're going on an eBike tour with René Wildhaber. Particularly between the EWS runs, he likes to recover on the eBike. This way, he can do his regeneration rides while also spending time in nature, enjoying the trails, the landscape and above all the peace in the mountains. We set off into the forest a few meters away from the house. It's awesome to see how he flies down the track towards Flumserberg, virtually weightlessly, riding a 20kg eBike.
“Adventures are my great passion, I just enjoy experiencing and exploring new regions”
we reach the top quicker than expected and we have time to spare for a quick sandwich. René tells us about his connection to the eBike, that it allows him more time for these little adventures in the late afternoons and that, particularly between races, the bulky luggage doesn't place any additional strain on him. He's not concerned with maximum speed, but with the conscious perception of nature. We set off on the remaining climb and around 5 pm, we finally reach the Madseeli, a high-altitude lake, with the day's last rays of sunlight. We pitch the tent and go on a short exploratory tour.
almost flowy, and when we reach the bottom, we simply make a U-turn and ride back up it. The most significant difference for him with eBiking is this Uphill Flow. Although he likes training, delights in the challenge and the effort, the eBike offers him a different kind of enjoyment uphill. He can concentrate on the nature, on the adventure and he often carries bulky camera equipment with him so he can indulge in his passion for nature photography. René tells us that, above all, he'd like to motivate us with his tales of adventure. He wants to tell us that no matter where you come from, you should be open to new experiences, that you should take an interest, that adventures can take place right at your doorstep.
“With the eBike, I can just select the resistance myself.”
Interview with René Wildhaber:
Hi René, would you please introduce yourself briefly?
I'm René Wildhaber, I come from Flumserberg and ride mountain bikes. I started out as an amateur racer and, for many years, I've been able to ride as a professional.
You currently ride mainly Enduro races. What does a typical season look like for you?
Right, currently I'm mostly focusing on the Enduro World Series (EWS). The season starts quite early in March and then continues into October. In between, I'm usually involved in quite a few film projects and photo shoots.
I've always associated you with the idea of adventure. What does adventure mean to you?
Adventure is really important for me. It's really the reason why I started cycling. The goal was simply to discover the world. Adventures are my great passion, I just enjoy experiencing and exploring new regions.
So what does a classic or even not-so-classic adventure look like for you?
In the best case, a classic adventure is far away. In the Himalayas or the like. To get to know foreign cultures and people. But here, too, I enjoy experiencing micro-adventures. Simply get to the mountains and off you go. Without having to think or plan too much.
What does the eBike bring to such small adventures for you?
If it's just a matter of getting up the mountain, you can go very far really fast on an eBike. I'm not so sweat-covered when I reach the top either, so I don't have to take so many dry clothes with me. When I get to the top, all I have to do is pitch my tent, put my jacket on and I'm dry again in no time.
What would you recommend to people in everyday life who want to do something similar?
Don't go too far away. There are usually beautiful places close by. And then, simply enjoy riding.
You already mentioned that you come from Flumserberg, where you also live. Does the region have a special meaning for you and your cycling?
Yes it does. This is where I learned to ride a bike. I therefore have very strong roots and feel extremely comfortable here. I grew up on a farm and I've even now opened a bike park here. I'm happy to accompany these developments and see what happens.
Is there already a regional scene locally, or are you still quite alone there?
The regional bike scene is getting bigger and bigger. We started with the first mountain bike club called Esprit. Thanks to the bike park and the pump track down in the valley, it's growing continuously.
You've been riding eBikes for quite a while now. What's changed for you and how do you use your bike?
The eBike is really good for me. I started out just because I was curious and I'm always interested in new technology. So I always tried out the latest eBikes in the bike shop. I started riding for myself when I was injured or, for example, when I wanted to ride up to the mountain but was really supposed to be riding on the flat according to the training plan. Then I simply took the eBike and was able to ride with so little effort that it had the same training effect, but with the advantage that I could still do a downhill ride afterwards.
So the eBike is now already a permanent fixture in your training?
Yes, I do some of my training units on the E-MTB. But I also go on tours for fun, even if it's not on the training plan.
What is the biggest difference between an eBike and a regular mountain bike?
With the eBike, I can just select the resistance myself. When I ride uphill, I can adjust the support so that I need almost the same amount of power as if I was riding on the flat. That's the big advantage.
On the subject of flow. Does flow have a special meaning for you?
Yes, until now, I've mostly experienced flow when riding downhill. Now, with the eBike, I can also ride uphill in a fairly relaxed way. Normally, it's a huge struggle, which I like as well, but at some point it really gets exhausting. With the eBike, you can now to some extent select whether you want flow uphill or downhill, or combine both.
How do you think the eBike will develop in the future?
They'll no doubt become lighter and the range will increase. New customer groups are sure to be targeted, and they're super practical in everyday life.
Now that you mention the subject of range. For your adventures here at home, is the range good enough or can it be a problem?
I try to adapt to the eBike. There are various apps and aids from Bosch, like the Nyon on-board computer, which shows you how far you can get.
What does nature mean to you? What's your relationship with nature?
I grew up on a farm. That certainly gives you a strong connection with nature. It's the same with animals. Thanks to my eBike, I can now even take a big camera up to the mountain with me and take some beautiful animal photos there. Observing nature, feeling its force, is something really beautiful.
Do you prefer cycling alone or with friends?
I do prefer to ride with friends. But my schedule is often so packed that it's hard to coordinate tours. I'm usually away at the weekend. And on weekdays, when I have more free time, my friends are usually at work.