Bike to Fly

A different way to get down

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The Sigriswil ridge, with its leisurely winding trails high above Lake Thun in Switzerland, invites you to take a bike with you. There’s only one problem: a rock face interrupts this journey. But, keen to make this bike trip nonetheless, Patrick von Känel took his paraglider along as well. Thanks to some clever home tinkering he took off with the bike, landed below the rock wall and rode back home by the lake.

 

ADVANCE: Patrick, how did you get the idea of combined flying and biking? A bit crazy, perhaps…

The original idea came from my X-Alps supporter Andy Jäggi. He’s always getting these cool ideas. Laughter. So why not go flying with a bike? I always have a decision problem when the weather is nice, what do I want to do? So what could be cooler than combining two types of sport?

...and you can do this directly from home?

I’d moved all the way to Oberhofen on Lake Thun. This is really quite a privileged position. You can do just about everything from your front door. There are many popular trails for biking, the Niederhorn at Interlaken offers many flying possibilities and I look directly out on to the lake, so I don't miss the kiting wind if this is on. That's why I start most of my adventures directly from home, and of course the case for Bike & Fly action was no exception.

How did you decide the route?

That wasn't so difficult. The Sigriswil ridge lies directly above where I live and is quite spectacular. You really should go up there. The ridge is perfect for biking; an absolute dream. Unfortunately, at some point there is a rock face that can only be negotiated with a paraglider. After that there are perfect sweeping trails again. That's when the idea of Andy's bike came back to me. At the beginning I wasn't so sure how to combine bike and paraglider, or where exactly I wanted to take off and land.

How did you finally connect bike and wing?

With four paraglider lines; I cobbled it up myself. It took a few hours to get it right. I looped two lines around the saddle tube and attached the other two to the handlebars. I then hooked the ends into the main carabiners. It took me quite a while to get the length of the lines right. If the lines were too long, I couldn't reach the pedals. If they were too short, you have to sit on the saddle during the whole flight. The pain was excruciating, believe me. In the end, all four lines were different lengths and the bike sat perfectly under me. More Laughter.

What was the greatest challenge for you? Takeoff? Landing? Or something completely different?

The whole project was demanding enough. It cost me a lot of trouble to get the bike and glider connected suitably. I also took off and top-landed a good few times to make sure that this project was actually working. Landing itself was not a problem.

Many thanks for the interview, Patrick. We look forward to your next project.

„I thought this was really cool project. It was an adventure that could be achieved by enthusiasm, commitment, endless patience and good friendship – thanks everyone. It’s also great that Jöschu has captured the whole thing on camera and made a film.“

Patrick von Känel

The Equipment

About Patrick

Patrick von Känel

Patrick von Känel works as a test pilot for ADVANCE. He is also a successful competition and cross-country pilot. In 2019, he was the youngest participant in the X-Alps and reached Monaco in 8th place.

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