Story: Mountain Bike Trailbuilding in Ticino

Even more fun in the forests

In the Lugano region, adrenalin is pumping on the MTB.

Avid mountain bikers Alessandro Pollini, Luca Reichlin and Damiano Mengozzi want to inject more fun and action into Ticino’s MTB scene with their modern flow trails. What started off as a bit of fun among friends, is now a club authorised to carry out such projects in Malcantone.

THE CHARACTER

Alessandro, Damiano e Luca, founders of Ticino Mountain Bike Trailbuilding

Alessandro, Damiano e Luca, founders of Ticino Mountain Bike Trailbuilding
The advantage of Ticino? The season is year-round, as long as there’s no snow.

When Alessandro Pollini, Luca Reichlin and Damiano Mengozzi jump on their mountain bikes, their main aim is simply to have fun. Short downhill tracks are the passion of the 3 childhood friends from Lugano who’ve been bike-riding for over a decade.  
 
The trio use their experience and expert knowledge to promote MTB across Ticino, and especially Malcantone, with the help of new safe and sustainable flow trails. 
 
Their association – Ticino Mountain Bike Trailbuilding – has become a leading point of contact for authorities and tourism boards. Its first projects already form part of the official MTB network, with new trails around Arosio currently under construction.

THE FULL STORY


Arosio, Malcantone

You’re promoting new MTB trails in Ticino. How did that come about?

Damiano: “We’ve been keen mountain bikers for years, and Alessandro has even competed. We noticed there were lots of opportunities for cross-country, loops and competitive sports, but not enough fun and action.” 

The e-bike boom is bringing more and more people to the mountains, including less experienced bikers, and overly technical trails are not for everyone. In Ticino there are no flow trails or smooth downhill routes with parabolic curves and ramps.

Arosio, Malcantone
Arosio,  Malcantone

That's why the three friends and founders of Ticino Mountain Bike Trailbuilding would like a fun, safe and non-disturbing alternative for hikers.

Arosio, Malcantone
Arosio, Malcantone

So what makes a downhill trail ideal?

Damiano: “Length – around 5 minutes – and beautiful setting. With curves, jumps and different sections: quick bits, then stony parts. Bikers should have fun before they reach the end. What’s more, the trail should only be open to bikes and needs to have an easily accessible starting point.” 

Luca: “It’s also important for beginners to be able to skip the more difficult sections.” 

They built some MTB trails from scratch, and just improved others. This is also due to the fact that the area already had old trails from the 2000s.
The three cycling enthusiasts have attended courses to learn more about creating sustainable MTB trails and there are many aspects to be taken into account, such as safety, for example.

Arosio, Malcantone
Arosio, Malcantone

So they began raising awareness among others, including young people in the woods who were building their own jump ramps.

Arosio, Malcantone
Pro tip
And for those who want to test their skills and develop their abilities on mountain bikes - and bikes in general -, roller-skaters or skateboards, Pump tracks are ideal. There are plenty of them in Ticino, both permanent and mobile.
Did you know that in many places, cable cars and public transport are able to transport bikes? Hotels also offer special services and bicycles are also available to hire.
An e-MTB certainly makes hill biking much easier, as long as your battery is fully charged! The canton is dotted with places where you can recharge your bike, even in some remote locations.
It began as a bit of fun among friends but has now grown.

The demand was there and the support from the population motivating them was also there. With the administrative aspects becoming more and more pressing, Alessandro, Damiano e Luca created the Association Ticino Mountain Bike Trailbuilding in 2019. The canton, municipalities and patriciates now consider them a serious partner. Communication did the rest. They were also contacted by the cantonal authorities at the start of 2020 to work on something together.

Arosio, Malcantone
Arosio, Malcantone

Thus was born their first official MTB route, which is part of a network of trails promoted by Lugano Region and Ticino Turismo that goes from Arosio to Bedano.

Arosio, Malcantone
Arosio, Malcantone

There are 2 more official flow trails in Malcantone: on Monte Mondini in Pura and in Bedea, near Novaggio. But why is Malcantone so popular with MTB riders?

According to Damiano, it is easy to reach and the morphology of the land, with its many hills and forests of various types, helps a lot. In addition, the landscape isn't too impassable and the hillsides aren't too steep.

According to Luca, on the other hand, the area has developed into a MTB destination on its own; and all they do is exploit its potential.

Alessandro is also convinced that another advantage of Ticino is that you can ride your bike all year round.

“We build safe, fun trails that don’t disturb walkers.”

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