Did you know? – Velogemel - Altitude Ski and Snowboard School in Grindelwald

Did you know? – Velogemel

Velogemel

Invented in 1911 by Christian Bühlmann, a carpenter from Grindelwald. He was disabled and found travelling around the village difficult so he came up with the Velogemel, a wooden bike that is unique to Grindelwald.

Velo is the French word for bike but also used in Swiss German and gemel is a Swiss German word for sled and that combination really describes it perfectly. A wooden frame with built in wooden saddle and runners like those you would find on a traditional wooden sledge made this an effective, if uncomfortable, method of travelling around the village during the snowy times of year.

As motor vehicles became more usable in winter conditions and road clearing improved Velogemels became less necessary and are no longer regularly used as a means of getting round the village, although we do still see them on the hiking and sledging trails around the resort. Since 1996 Grindelwald has hosted the Velogemel World Championships where teams, as well as individuals, compete for the fastest overall times down a timed course. Great fun to watch so look out for it towards the end of January each Winter!

Something you would like to try?

You can rent a Velogemel at the train station in Grindelwald as well as a couple of shops in the village. If you do try it then we recommend wearing padded cycling shorts as the lack of suspension lets you feel every bump and bounce.

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