Heading for the sun: crossing the Alps along the Via Claudia Augusta.
19.11.2021 | Travel & Adventure
Kathi and Jonas got to know each other in 2015 when they were studying in South Africa. They have toured through South America, South Africa and Europe together and explored Chile by bike. This summer, they crossed the Alps with their Delites. “Always head south” was their mantra. Towards the sun and Italy.
In the footsteps of the Romans.
Kathi and Jonas started their crossing of the Alps in August in the Bavarian town of Füssen, close to the Austrian border. Ahead of them were eight day stages and around 700 kilometres along the historic Via Claudia Augusta.
Their crossing of the Alps took Kathi and Jonas through unique natural landscapes: past the Zugspitze, across the Fern Pass and the Reschen Pass to South Tyrol. Kathi and Jonas recall the latter stage as being a particularly lovely stage: the somewhat steeper ascents through the wild and romantic Inn Valley rewarded them with magnificent views of Lake Reschen – and the unique feeling of having achieved something really special together.
The next few days took them along fragrant apple plantations and picturesque vineyards via Merano, Bolzano and Trento, always following the ancient Roman road as far as Lake Garda.
The Via Claudia Augusta is one of the most famous Roman roads. Completed in the first century A.D. under Emperor Claudius, today it still connects Northern Italy to Southern Germany, leading from the River Danube to the River Po. Once an important military and trade route, it has now been extended as a long-distance cycle path and is a popular route among cyclists and hikers. The road connects three states, three climatic zones and 10 different regions.
La Dolce Vita.
After arriving, Kathi and Jonas savoured the sunny and warm Italian climate that they had long been seeking and freshened up with a well-earned swim in Lake Garda. They continued the next morning in perfect weather: on well-maintained paths via Mantua and Modena to the end of their journey in Bologna.
» The best thing for me is the feeling of freedom I get every time I set off on my bike. What I particularly appreciate about my Delite is that I can rely on it 100%. This trip has shown that again. «
Not fair weather cyclists.
Berlin has been Kathi’s and Jonas’s home since 2019 but they have previously lived in Santiago, Amsterdam and Vienna. They renounced the need for a car of their own for day-to-day life some time ago. This is a decision that feels right and consistent for them both. Kathi and Jonas commute to work on their E-Bikes in all weathers. Every day, each of them covers around 20 kilometres in urban Berlin traffic.
“We are both professionally involved with sustainable mobility solutions. Kathi works for the Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association and I work for Deutsche Bahn. So it was evident that we also had to switch over to public transport and E-Bikes in our privates lives as well. We don’t miss a car,” Jonas tells us.
» We very consciously chose our employers. ‘Mobility of the future’ – we don’t regard these as just empty words. I understand less and less why people living in the city even have cars at all. I love my E-Bike! «
Kathi and Jonas bought their Delites at the start of the year. Before that, they tested virtually every E-Bike around Berlin – even if they had to hire a rental car after work to get to Potsdam. Their new E-Bikes were to be durable and reliable in everyday use all year round, but also ideal for longer holiday tours.
Apart from their sporty riding behaviour and powerful battery and motor performance, the full suspension of their E-Bikes was particularly important to them. This is an important aspect when carrying just under 15 kilogrammes of luggage on the carrier. Jonas' conclusion: “In my opinion, the Delite is the only bike on the market that delivers all this.”
On Italian soil, the camping gas stove remained packed away more and more often, as the range of delicious pizzas, pasta and gelato that tempted them from Lake Garda onwards was too hard to resist.
On their trip, Kathi and Jonas stopped off wherever they wanted to. They had only booked accommodation on camp-sites and in hotels in advance: “We were able to charge the batteries very simply every evening, something that was really easy even at the camp-sites. Even the longest stage with 900 meters of altitude was completed without a problem with the battery charge in tour mode,” reports Jonas.
“When you are travelling on an E-Bike, you simply experience so much more of nature, your surroundings and the people who live there. And, of course, we also attracted a lot of interest and enthusiasm with our loaded bikes, with the result that we always got into conversation quickly with locals and other cyclists,” explains Jonas. “The E-Bikes are guaranteed to spark off a conversation wherever you are, whether in Berlin, Brandenburg or on holiday. People always find the bikes pretty cool - especially the brake light - and approach us,” adds Kathi with a smile.
A short chat at the roadside would quickly become a longer break or an unplanned detour to nearby sights and local hidden gems. “It is precisely this spontaneity, this freedom, that is the real appeal of cycling,” continues Kathi.
Kathi and Jonas reached Bologna after eight stages, 700 kilometres, 4,500 meters of altitude and around 40 hours on the saddle. They started their journey home the next morning by train. As they strolled through the picturesque old town, bathed in the soft evening light, they recalled the many wonderful moments they had experienced over the past week – and started planning their next tour.