You’re proud of your achievements, that expensive champagne you quaffed on your luxury holiday, your new SUV, and your decision to have invested early in bitcoins. But what happens if all of that loses relevance in the 21st century? Are we still enthralled by status symbols? In fine company with Tesla and Haibike, we headed to the Dolomites to find a definitive answer to these burning questions.

Sometimes the world can be overwhelming, inundating us with options so that we lose sight of what’s going on, and what’s actually important. Add the pressure of expectations into the mix – like where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Are you a good parent? Are you sorting your rubbish correctly? With constant pressure to perform at work, while nailing that elusive work-life balance and hunting down the meaning of life, it’s easy for other things to fall by the wayside… namely time. That’s the main victim, right? That time to reflect. That time to weigh up whether buying a new car or a new phone will actually make you happier.

Haibike and Tesla are two of the biggest hitters within e-mobility, pioneers even. They are two brands that are ushering in a new generation of status symbols which go way beyond the materialistic. War cries have been heard, echoing around society: Me electric. You fossil fuels. Me good. You bad.

But let’s not kid ourselves: electric mobility isn’t going to save the world. Electric motors are locally emission-free, and with power coming from sustainable sources they may well improve the environmental footprint. However, looking at the current drain on resources, cynics among us are likely to point out that it’s just a modern form of the indulgence business, a way to relieve oneself of concerns about not adhering to sustainability. Without a doubt, the best way to protect the environment would be to scrap your car entirely – especially not driving an ultra-luxe car with a full leather interior. But is that really the point? Does a decent alternative exist? Are we expected to cross the Alps on foot?

If your neighbour and the guys down the street can buy exactly the same thing, will it change what you do next? Does it alter the value of your expensive status symbol?

Perhaps electric mobility is more concerned with our endless pursuit of something new and exciting? A search for a new sort of luxury? The desire to be part of a forward-thinking movement? Electric mobility brings with it new opportunities and never-seen-before experiences, like self-driving cars, or bikes that just glide up mountains. We humans have an innate fascination for new technologies that push the envelope and uncover new ways of looking at the world.

Now imagine finding a place where you can truly switch off. Far removed from your increasingly stressful daily life, those thoughts that just race around your head, and those anxious thoughts that stop you from sleeping sometimes. One such place is the Mountain Lodge Tamersc in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Nature Park, which is part of the Dolomites’ UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s an unspoilt gem of a place where status is defined by neither caviar nor bubbles. A place where the true value of your holiday overrides any thought of price. A place where you can concentrate on being yourself.

Here’s where you can decide whom you want to ride with and how hard you want to pedal, with full disregard for physical fitness or age. You’re no longer confined to riding buddies with a similar fitness level – take your nearest and dearest to the next mountain peak. Unload the bike from the bike rack and set off. With each pedal stroke you’ll be that bit closer to freedom; leave the stress behind you in the valley. Those thoughts that had plagued you will be hushed, and you’ll be calmer. From your lunch spot you can look down on the valley floor and feel at peace, that sense of being exactly where you want to be. It’s a moment that’s worth more than any glass of Moët.

What’s the value in something if nothing has any value any longer?

Everything – or, rather, a lot of things – become reality once you have an eMTB. They’re the product of a new Zeitgeist: a symbol that you refuse to partake in an ultra-competitive society. For many, they fulfill a dream to reach new highs, experience unforgettable moments, and break the rules of physics. eMTBs lend ordinary days some extraordinary moments. Is that a sardonic grin on your face now? Perhaps that’s because you’ve never tried one and therefore can’t imagine it. On an eMTB, the journey is the experience – not an ordeal.

The Schweinfurt-based bike brand Haibike are considered pioneers within the eMTB world. But they aren’t the real pioneers – that’s you. An innovative product is redundant if it isn’t used. Buying an eMTB gives you a tool that unlocks a more intense and diverse lifestyle. It isn’t unleashed, however, until you really start to use the bike. That’s when you’ll stop seeking status symbols to collect, and will find your own status. You and your pioneer spirit are needed to unleash true potential and use it to crush the monotony of daily life. It’s the best decision you’ll make. A pioneering spirit translates into a readiness to determine the future – for the better. Don’t wait for things to happen, take back control. So when is the moment to do this? Right here, right now.

Passion and curiosity are what drive a pioneering spirit. They determine how much emotion, time, and money we’re willing to invest. They’re the irrational and unpredictable measures of true luxury.

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This article is from E-MOUNTAINBIKE issue #012

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Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Christoph Bayer

About the author

Robin Schmitt

Robin is one of the two founders of 41 Publishing, a visionary and go-getter. While he now enjoys every second on the bike – whenever his busy schedule allows – he used to race against the clock at enduro events and a few Downhill World Cups. Besides that, Robin practises kung fu and Zen meditation, plays the cello or with his dog (which actually belongs to his girlfriend), travels abroad and still reviews numerous bikes himself. Progressive ideas, new projects and major challenges – Robin loves exploring undiscovered potential and getting to the bottom of new trends.