Töfflibuaba – riding south
For a long time, mountain passes were the only link between Ticino and the rest of Switzerland before the railway and motorway tunnels were built. Now, what used to be required routes are empty and have become the ideal itineraries for those who love hairpin bends and mountain riding; the passes have rediscovered their appeal on both a physical and spiritual level. But the legend of the Töfflibuaba (“kids with mopeds”) came into being in the 1970s, when the moped (affectionately nicknamed the “motorino” or “cinquantino”) became very popular with young people, because it was the first mode of transport that allowed them to get around independently.
. And the motorino was also what allowed them to set off on their first great adventure: armed with a backpack, willpower, and, if they were lucky, some good travelling companions, kids from German Switzerland, barely 15-years-old, would climb into the saddle and clock up hundreds of kilometres to reach Ticino over the Gotthard or St Bernard passes. Some with more nutritious supplies than others, they faced unpredictable weather, breakdowns and fatigue. It was their first great adventure, their first holiday on their own, the first story they would be able to tell their friends about. And they would carry on talking about it for years and years, even to their children, remembering a time when the world was not so accessible and it was not so common or easy to pick a spot on a map at random and jump on a plane.