12 July 2000: Mendrisio - Bellinzona - Airolo - Gotthard - Altdorf
At the morning departure at Mendrisio's "Mercato Coperto" (of ExpoVEL fame), drivers listen attentively to the traditional morning briefing.
Getting the route details on the briefing
Lightweight electric vehicles
Several new participants joined the event in Mendrisio, including electric bicycles and "lightweight electric vehicles" which are popular in Switzerland
The first leg of the day went to Bellinzona, where the castle rock provided a dramatic background for the vehicles. Bellinzona is the seat of the cantonal government of Ticino, which at this occasion announced officially to extend the pilot project in Mendrisio to the whole canton.

The "Piazza del Sole" in Bellinzona, Switzerland
The electric bicycle team of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Frederic Dalle, Robin Lataire and Professor Philippe Lataire
Electrically assisted bicycles took also part: the VUB team, led by Prof. Philippe Lataire, Brussels responsible of the E-TOUR project, which demonstrates several hundreds of electric bicycles and scooters on different European sites. Physical condition of the bikers during the trip was monitored in collaboration with the Physical Education faculty of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

The hybrid Toyota Prius provided the bicycles with freshly charged batteries en-route.
Hybrid assists hybrid!

From Bellinzona, the ascent of the Gotthard was started, with a charging pause at Airolo (elevation 1100 m) Another 1000 metres to go to the top!
Charging in Airolo
On top of the Gotthard
The weather conditions at the top (2091 m elevation) were appalling: fog, snow, and 3°C, and this in the middle of July! Nevertheless, all vehicles made it safely and were able to regenerate energy in the descent towards Altdorf.
A special mention of the electrically assisted bicycles, which allowed their riders to overcome the mountain without having to be a professional cyclist...

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