Story: Cycling through spectacular scenery

We go for a spin with a racing cyclist

Challenging climbs, exhilarating descents and a year-round cycling season in a diverse landscape with spectacular views: it is no wonder that Oliver Zaugg has chosen to make Ticino his new home. The f...

The section of the Gottardo Bike Route from the St. Gotthard Hospice to Biasca has an elevation drop of 1'718 meters. We followed this itinerary with professional cyclist Oliver Zaugg with much puffing, panting, sweating and groaning but the spectacular views were worth every pedal stroke.


Oliver Zaugg, cyclist

Oliver Zaugg, cyclist
As we bounce and jolt down the Gotthard massif, we are shaken more vigorously than on a Crazy Fit vibration plate.

The Gotthard Pass is engulfed in a sleepy silence, the surrounding landscape shrouded in thick fog. The rugged mountains, small lake and Gotthard hospice – renovated in 2010 – are all hidden under a grey veil. 

Oliver Zaugg and Luca Fochetti prepare for the day’s ride ahead. Tyre pressure? Checked. Brakes? Checked. Refreshments? Packed: we are ready to hit the road. 

Luca Fochetti is a keen biker. Today he is accompanied by none other than Oliver Zaugg. Luca looks forward to challenging himself and discovering new trails.

About two and a half hours into the ride, we reach the lake Ritom plateau.

What a glorious view! As we behold the surrounding mountain peaks reflected in the lake’s mirror-like surface, we feel as though we have just stepped into a picture-perfect postcard.

Whether you prefer an Alpine or Mediterranean landscape, Ticino has both. What’s more, the mild climate offers an almost year-round cycling season.

The trail takes us through a romantic valley punctuated by farms and grazing cattle and then climbs steeply through meadows and scree up to the Passo dell’Uomo.

As we begin our descent to the Lukmanier Pass, we find ourselves tackling the most technically challenging section of the route.

We turn off the road and hurtle down rugged tracks all the way to Olivone: a challenging, fast, adrenaline-pumping ride.

All that cycling has worked up quite an appetite. At the dairy farm Töira in Olivone we stock up on mouth-watering local cheese and then negotiate the steep climb from Olivone to Alpe Nara. On reaching the plateau, we take in the spectacular view of the Blenio Valley below us.

On our way to Biasca, we pass several characteristic Ticino villages, terraced vineyards and the first few palm trees – a sure sign that we have reached the southern side of the Alps.

Serravalle: a great view from the castle
Pro tip
A pit stop with a view: You could make a stop at the Passo dell'Uomo and soak up the spectacular view of mountain peaks.
Pit stop: En route to Biasca, you could make a stop at Olivone to refuel at La Bottega Secondo Natura.
Bovarina Bike: Mountain-bike ride from Olivone to Orsàira with a magnificent view of the Greina.