At 5 p.m. sharp David Florin puts his tools aside and loosens his hair that only a second ago has been tied into a bun and tamed with a headband. Grabbing his helmet, he is obviously ready to hit the next trail. Nondescript – a word that might apply to other people but certainly not to David Florin. His look is eye-catching: He wears his hair and the reddish goatee long. When he laughs, his green eyes beam and the space in his teeth is exposed. The earlobes are pierced. Thebikingviking_21 he calls himself on Instagram – with good reason. His natural disposition: affable. He describes himself as active and living in very close touch with nature. „Eau am la natüra“, I love nature, he says in Jauer, a Romansh dialect, his father being from Val Müstair where Jauer is traditionally spoken.
In summer, you will find David on his bike. In winter, on his snowboard. It began around 3 years ago, the 35-year-old relates, that biking became a vital part of his everyday life. This sport would give him freedom of an incomparable intensity. “And when biking, you don’t depend on the weather,” David adds. “It’s always fun.”
Today we bike along the Via Engiadina. A route, David Florin admits, where one normally does not find him. He prefers the more challenging trails on his local mountain Muottas da Schlarigna. The connection which he feels to that place is strong – not least, because it is home to the oldest Swiss stone Pine. Actually, the tree can be visited best on a hike instead of on a bike tour. However, today it is not challenges we are looking for but the safer trail – the snow of the past few days still covers most of the northern mountain side and is making its trails slippery. It’s a lovely sight, for sure, but it would not be a lovely bike ride. The best starting point of the Via Engiadina for bikers is Corviglia, the local mountain of St. Moritz – in summer, it deserves its byname “biker mountain”, while in winter it promises action and adventures on the slopes. The trail begins at the summit station of the Signal mountain railway that you can reach comfortably by gondola. Around 18 kilometres through a scenery rich in variety get us to Silvaplana. The view of the Engadin lakescape is priceless. It’s autumn, the colours magnificent. Down in the valley, a biting wind is blowing, but up here everything is peacefully calm.
We have a short rest. David lays his bike on the ground, and sits with his back to a tree, sipping tea from his thermos bottle. The forest, the trees – especially the Swiss stone Pine –, with all this he strongly identifies himself and with all this he earns his money. He touches the tree with his bare hand, making a point of taking of his glove first: “You have to feel the wood.” David is a carpenter and works, together with his father and brother, in the family-owned workshop in Samedan. It was founded in 1990 by David’s grandfather and father. Since 1993, you find the carpentry in Samedan’s industrial zone. The store, managed by his mother, is located in the village center. In the valley the carpentry Florin is known especially for carved furniture – real works of art. Previously, in the carpentry, David has shown us a chair with a richly carved backrest. The light, shining through the window, has turned a chair in a shop into a theatrical object. While sitting back on it and looking around the room, we come across a picture on the wall above the workbench: „Biking is beautiful» it says. Time seems to stand still in this little universe, the calendar showing a summer motive – August at Lake Silvaplana. Now, it’s October.
Back at our resting place under the tree along the Via Engiadina, his phone rings – the alarm clock. “According to my phone it’s time for me to go back to work”, he says with a grin. But not today. Does he usually take an after-lunch nap? “Yes, sometimes, or I have long talks with my brother.” For lunch, the family gathers at his mother’s place. The bond to his family is important to David Florin. After all, it was them, too, who taught him to love nature. Since his early childhood they went hiking together and roamed around the woods. „I had a wonderful childhood,» he recalls.
We set off again on the trail – at 2063 metres with a magnificent view of the already snow-covered Corvatsch and Piz Margna, the blazing yellow autumn woods speckled with the odd green of Swiss Stone Pines, whose wood David favours most. This is where he is in his element. Elegantly he swerves around rocks – for him, obstacles do not seem to exist. He leans into the corners, the bike might as well be a part of him, until the sun disappears beyond the horizon.