A few weeks ago, I was reading a blog by Gary Corbet, holder of the world record for continuous e-Bike riding which he set at 28,000kms. In the post he discussed his plans to ride his Ebike in great locations along the East Coast of Australia and as an aside he said probably wouldn’t ride around Sydney because it was probably too difficult. So I challenged him to have a go and he accepted. We met at the Lane Cove Tourist Park last weekend and soon we were off on a 50km ride which is 25km longer than I usually ride. This post is my own reflection of my first ride on a high quality E-bike.
For the ride I proposed we head down the new trail I had mapped from Macquarie Park to Parramatta River and then up the river to Parramatta. I hopped on the aussie produced Ebike and it all felt comfortable, steady and safe. Our first few kms were along a shared path so all I had to do was steer and learn to use the engine assistance rather than changed two sets of gears. The trail has a lot of walkers and dogs on a Sunday but I felt able to do both the slow and tight turns that crop up on these trails.
The next experience was heading down the steep hill to Meadow Bank on the back roads and even navigating the crossing of Victoria Rd. The braking system was fine and the 22kg bike felt totally normal because the weight is centred low and in the centre of the bike and the bike has good brakes. From Meadowbank we now did 40kms on the flat in amongst lots of riders on a perfect Sydney Sunday. At this stage I started to think about gear changes and power settings because everything else about the bike felt like a normal bike. My main mistake I kept making was not changing down the back wheel gears as I approached little steep inclines and then not changing back when I was on the flat again. Gary said getting the gears to match the inclinations is really useful on a Bosch e-bike engine. I eventually figured that out.
We had our coffee at Parramatta and I quizzed Gary about his long bike packing trip around Europe. Things that stood out for me was the fact that he had to move in and out of Europe into England, Ireland and Cyprus to get around the 3 months maximum rules for Australians in Europe. Given that his ride was 16 months long, that sounded complex. The other thing we discussed in detail was the importance of stretching and exercise and battery charging on a long trip.
We headed off down the river and by the time we made it to Rhodes station, I would normally be heading to the station on my speedy mountain bike. I wasn’t tired and my legs weren’t aching like they usually do. We were coasting along at 17km an hour which is 3km fast than I normally do. The trail is so popular, under 20km is advised. So we headed off to do 20km around Olympic Park. The mangroves were great as normal and soon we arrived at one of the corkscrew hills. If you haven’t ridden up one, you should as the view is cool and the experience is great. There are three in the park. I then took Gary to the Brick Pit which is another amazing part of Olympic Park. We didn’t see any frogs but marvelled at the circular track in the sky. Then we rode through the stadiums and all the way to Newington armoury where the cycling and kiddies were out in force. From there we rode back to the cycle walk bridge that crosses the Parramatta river and we came to the hill back up to Ryde. This hill is steep but there was 40% left in the battery and we had travelled 45km. We rode up the steep back roads, I got the gearing right finally and it was easy. I couldn’t have walked my normal bike up those hills. All up we did 50 km and like good tourists, we took 3 hours to do it.
So how was this whole eBike experience?
At the end of the day, I did feel like I had been in the saddle for 3 hours and I was cooked by the sun. If I had done this trip on my normal bike, I would be on the massage table and not riding for 3 days. I defiantly had had a workout, these ebikes require effort.
My initial reaction after riding for 10km was everyone who has to commute 10-20 km to work should contemplate riding a high quality e-bike to work and they should do the research to see if it is possible. Its fun and with the extra kick on the hills, many of impossible things that turn you off will vanish under the assistance of the e-bike.
50km trip. Flat except for the hill at up to Shrimptons Creek Path. Suited to all bike types
written by Garry Robinson