Why switching to bike, bus or train is worth it, even when it comes to recreation:
Jakob Breitwieser, a passionate mountain biker and VAUDE athlete, has strong opinions about climate change. “If climate protection doesn’t start right here with me, then where else?” The 30-year-old athlete from Freiburg, Germany, is clearly committed to the principles of #EverydayClimateday –and not just when he’s racing around the trails of his neighborhood on his mountain bike. He also tries to leave his VW bus behind as often as possible in his day-to-day life as well, travelling by public transport or bike instead.
His ride? “As a mountain biker, I’ve always spent a lot of time out in nature, much of it in the woods, of course, but also high up in the mountains – where you can see the effects of climate change with your own eyes. Glaciers that you remember from just a few years ago as immense are just half as big today. And in the forests, too, you can see how the hot summers of recent years have literally dried out the trees,” says the MTB pro thoughtfully.
As an outdoor enthusiast, he is particularly sensitive to these issues. It’s important to Jakob Breitwieser to be as energy-efficient as possible in all his activities.
“As a teacher, I work with children and young people, and I want them to have as many great experiences out in nature as well. And because I care about the future of our children, that alone is motivation enough for me to keep my own ecological footprint as small as possible,” explains the MTB pro.
For the athlete, riding by bike and getting places on his own power is always a special experience. “The journey is the reward. You experience the terrain and scenery with all your senses. And even if I once in a while on a steep climb I might curse under my breath and think to myself that a car would be a lot more pleasant at the moment, the experience afterwards is so fulfilling that I’m always prepared to set off again,” says the 30-year-old cyclist.
Lately, Jakob Breitwieser can be seen on the trails around his hometown of Freiburg more and more often. “Descending trails up to 1000 meters always put a grin on my face, and make me think twice about going on rides farther away too. My home turf offers really great biking destinations that are quick and easy to reach,” Jakob reports.
But of course, it’s also exciting to set off for new regions and discover new trails. So whenever the need arises, he goes by bus or train, even if that means giving up some comfort. “With public transport, it’s often surprisingly easy to get to the trailhead,” says Jakob.
The Corona crisis renewed his motivation for this type of travel. Spending a long weekend shredding the trails of Switzerland on a mountain bike, as Jakob had often done in the past, was suddenly no longer an option. So, together with his girlfriend Sophie, he set out to swap Graubünden for the Black Forest. “We took it upon ourselves to get to know our own backyard better using the local train network and other public transport,” Jakob recalls.
Our bags were packed in a flash. Arriving at the train station, we set off with our bikes from Freiburg to Sasbachwalden by way of Achern, where there’s even a shuttle that takes bikes up the mountain. After an overnight stay at the Darmstädter Hütte, Jakob and Sophie explored the trails of the Black Forest. “In the middle of the high moor, between Ruhestein and Hornisgrinde, you’re never pining for better alpine terrain, not even for a second,” says the mountain biker. The trail network in Baiersbronn and Obertal have also won over the VAUDE athlete with its natural, playful biking trails.
We took a train back to Freiburg, of course. The “Trail and Rail Trip” was a complete success. “We were able to ride plenty of new trails, get to know new territory and discover what a treasure our own backyard here in the Black Forest is. There may not be any glaciers here, but we have just as much oxygen in our air, our huts are just as rustic as in the Alps and we also have our own secluded areas with flowing, technical and absolutely fantastic trails,” Jakobs concludes.
#EverydayClimateday – that’s the name of the game for Jakob Breitwieser. “The good thing about climate protection is that it can be easily integrated into everyday life. Just give up a steak here, take the train there. It doesn’t always have to be a trip to Italy or even Canada. The Black Forest is good enough as well.”
Jakob Breitwieser’s full article about his “Trail & Rail experience” can be found here.