We already want to whet your appetite for many beautiful rides in the pass arena on our doorstep - even if there are still meters of snow ... On the tracks of the "Bonebusters Ride 2020" we start with a two-day tour with an overnight stay in the ideally located Andermatt.

"Actually, the BBR 2020 should have led us through the Tannheimer and Lech valleys with an already reserved overnight stay in Damüls. But because we did not want to and could not exclude individual participants from this ride, a new program with an attractive route had to be found without further ado. So we decided on the classic Swiss pass loop with a base at the Hotel Radison Blu Andermatt," explains Küffer. Of course, the new tour and cool stops or side adventures had to be scouted out in advance. We at TÖFF magazine took this opportunity to ride along with two current test bikes, a Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX and a Yamaha MT-10 SP Tour Edition.

Schwammhöhe and Bergli

In order to get to more mountainous terrain as quickly as possible, we go directly onto the highway in Zurich in the direction of Hinwil / Rapperswil and only leave it at the Glarus exit. We make a detour to the well-known Klöntalersee, but drive directly up to the mountain inn Schwammhöhe, from where you can enjoy a great view over the lake. Especially popular with locals is the restaurant Bergli with a great view over Glarus and the Glarus mountains. You can reach it if you simply continue on the narrow road towards Glarus after the Schwammhöhe (instead of again via Klöntalersee). Until Andermatt, we follow the main roads - with the Klausenpass as the first cycling highlight.


Andermatt: Central starting point

Every motorcyclist has certainly passed by Andermatt, which was first mentioned in a document in 1203, at 1444 meters above sea level, countless times. But why not stay up here for one night? That's exactly what the "Bonebusters" did this time, in order to tackle the alpine round in a relaxed and unhurried manner on the second day. The starting point for mountain passes is simply ingenious and overnight accommodations are available in a wide variety of price ranges - from campsites to five-star hotels. In addition, there is also the possibility to take time for one or the other adventure or historical sights on the way. In conventional "pass surfer mode", you've probably just whizzed past hundreds of times.

The region on the Gotthard massif, from which the rivers Rhine, Rhone, Reuss and Ticino originate and flow in all four directions, impresses with its cultural diversity as well as its well-documented history. Traces of the eventful history can be found, for example, in the architecture or in the Ursern Valley Museum, which is located in a historic house dating back to 1786 - directly opposite the time-honored Hotel Sonne, which has its own parking lot in the center of Andermatt. The Schöllenen Gorge with the Devil's Bridge also has a lot of history to tell. It is the historic landmark at the entrance to the Ursern Valley and thus also to the Gotthard region. If you take some time amidst the steep rock faces, you will feel the myth of the Gotthard up close. The "Stiebende Steg" was first mentioned in 1306. In 1595, a bold stone bridge, the legendary Devil's Bridge, was built at the same place. The bridge, which was replaced by a new one in 1830, collapsed in 1888. The newest Devil's Bridge was opened in 1956. Andermatt itself has undergone a major transformation in recent years since multi-billionaire investor Samih Sawiris began investing in new hotels and leisure facilities with Andermatt Swiss Alps AG.

At the top of the Gotthard Pass (2106 m above sea level), a visit to the St. Gotthard Museum is a must. It conveys in a varied way the importance and influence of the pass road from an economic, strategic, political and cultural point of view. A visit to the museum helps to gain a deeper understanding of Swiss conditions. On display are plastic models, documents, weapons, uniforms, rare objects and old vehicles.

Under power

Another adventure region can be found on the Grimsel. It is currently extremely impressive to observe how man wants to harness the elemental power of nature again and again: Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG is building a new dam wall at Lake Grimsel by 2025. The old Spitallamm dam is in need of renovation, but it will remain in place and be flooded once the new one is completed. A live overview is available directly from the parking lot. There is also an information center accessible free of charge with various facts and pictures, also about the construction of the first dam. Those who want to experience the new construction site even more closely can take part in the guided tour, which leads through tangled tunnels, onto impressive viewing platforms and up to the construction site. The tour guides provide interesting background information about the construction site, but also about the whole Grimsel world and hydropower.

Crystal cleft deep inside the mountain

A guided tour from the Grimsel Hospiz deep below Lake Grimsel and to the Gerstenegg crystal crevice should also be breathtaking: The small Hospiz cable car takes you suspended over the construction site of the dam down into the underground. After a few meters, you reach the Grimsel 1 power plant and from there by tunnel bus to the Grimsel 2 pumped storage plant, which lies 400 meters below Lake Oberaar and 100 meters below Lake Grimsel deep in the Grimsel granite. Back through the gallery you reach the treasure chamber of the Grimsel world - the crystal gap Gerstenegg. It was discovered in 1974 during the construction of the tunnel and shortly afterwards placed under protection by the Bernese government. Through windows, clear, bright quartz crystals, gwindel, pink fluorite, calcite and chlorite can be seen in the crystal gap - just as they have grown.

Record - With a gradient of 106%, the Gelmerbahn is the steepest open funicular railroad in Europe. The former works railroad for transporting construction materials weighing tons is a marvel of engineering and offers an unforgettable mountain railway experience. Once at the top, you can walk around the wild and romantic Gelmer Lake or hike up to the Gelmer Hut.

Andermatt - Fast curves and beautiful panorama on the Oberalp Pass between Andermatt and Sedrun. The participants of the Bonebusters Ride 2020 with their motorcycles in front of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Andermatt. The BBR was held for the first time in 2003. 2020 was the 15th edition (there were years without execution).

Nature and technology - Modernity and the past meet at the Hotel Grimsel Hospiz. Switzerland's first documented inn stood here in 1142. And in 1932, the Hospiz caused a sensation as the first electrically heated house in Europe.
The dam wall, completed in 1932, is complemented by a new one.

Steinsee - On the harmonious Sustenpass there are some nice places for a stop. For example, this viewpoint, which is located on the Bernese side just a short distance below the top of the pass. You can see a magnificent mountain panorama and, directly below, the Steinsee, which appears heart-shaped from here.

Schwammhöhe - stop for a bite to eat with a great view of the Klöntalersee.
Bergli - Stop with a great view of Glarus.
Göschenen - Here lies the devil's stone with which, according to legend, the devil wanted to destroy the devil's bridge in the Schöllenen.
Devil's bridge - It can be visited well during a short stop/restaurant visit.
Grimsel - Here a new construction of the century is being built
Gotthardpost - Ride in a replica of the Gotthard stagecoach from Andermatt to Airolo. gotthardpost.ch/reise
Forte Airolo- Former army fortress from 1889, today a museum. forteairolo.ch/de

Text: Dimitri Hüppi — Pictures: D. Carrozza, D. Hüppi, HP. Küffer, David Birri, David Ormerod, zvg