Deep in the heart of the Alps, tucked away into a small corner of Switzerland, is a mountain bike shuttle day like none other. There’s no car required and it’s guaranteed to have great riding, delicious food and memories to last a lifetime. Interested? Great, get yourself to the train station in Pontresina and climb aboard a train bound for Bernina Pass.
The ride begins promptly at 10:02 (Swiss trains are legendary for being on time) when the door of the bike car slides open and the conductor hoists your rig into the carriage. Hop in behind, hang your bike on its own special hook and then find a seat for the 30 minutes ride up the north side of this high-alpine pass. Stick close to to a window as the train climbs into hanging valleys, winding through the forest and below jagged glacier-covered peaks.
Unload at the Ospizio Poschiavo station and hit small cafe inside the station for the recommended espresso doppio (that's a double) and a plate of frites (fries) to fuel up for the descent.
The first round of riding begins as you pedal out and drop off the edge of the pass into a dream-like scene of high meadows looking down on an idyllic valley. No matter what route you choose, enjoy trails that have all sorts of experiences from rowdy, rocky and steep to pine-laden loam with a healthy dose of roots.
As you finish the last descent and coast into the town of Poschiavo, you’ll notice that everything around you looks like a movie set. The narrow, cobblestone streets lead you right to the center of town where your outdoor cafe awaits.
Order a pizza and a plate of pizzoccheri, two of the staples in this part of Italian-speaking Switzerland and wash it down with a Rivella soda. Before you ask for the check, order another coffee and sit for awhile to enjoy the scene. Even though you're only half way through this epic day, you don’t have to pedal up because there’s another train ride ahead.
When the time is right, find your way over to the station for shuttle #2, an hour long tour back up Bernina. You'll go through a few tunnels, several galleries and another round of mind-blowing views along the way.
Once again, hop off the train at the top of the pass and take one last chance for coffee or, if you're over-caffeinated, an ice cream before the rippin’ fun descent back to Pontresina. The trails, as well as the memories are sure to have you grinning from ear to ear.