Taddaaa – what you see here is a truly rare bicycle…
Actually, there is no such bicycle as this one in the world!
It is a Tern Joe c21, appropriately modified for going the long distance. It is a normal size, touring-like, folding bike. What you may not be able to discern is the little motor attached at the bottom of the bike! The battery is actually what you thought it was a bottle. This super-light, powerful and innovative kit is called add-e and is really making a difference when you are riding uphil. More info here: www.add-e.at
But, one moment. I didn’t answer WHY? Why riding around the world on a bike? on an e-bike?
E-bike? What exactly is this?
An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, is just a bicycle with three more things added: an electric motor, a battery and a controller that regulates the level of electric assistance. Now, depending on the level of assistance you get, there are different types of motors and batteries. In this way, there are 4 electric bicycle classes. I will be using the closest-to-the-normal-bicycle type of e-bikes and that is the Pedal Assist type (pedelec). Here, there is no throttle and the propulsion you get is up until 25km/h (at least in the version of the bike I will be using), delivered only when you are pedalling.
Why by e-bike?
Ok, first things first. An e-bike is primarily a bike. So, I am gonna start saying why a bike. (Specially devoted to my father, who accepted the around-the-world trip but kept questioning “why by bike, my son??”)
Because you are doing it yourself. You put yourself in rain and dirt, danger, heavy breathing, pain in the butt, sweat in the eyes, unpaved roads and mountains… You put yourself in action and your energy takes you forward…and upwards.
The higher you go the greater the view…
And you become more complete and peaceful.
Peaceful because… It’s you again doing all this effort and bravo. But it’s not you alone. It’s you and your surroundings. Nature, as birds singing while you riding the hill, as green of all kinds by the road (you can touch it) and blue open surface next to you (stop and bloom if you wish). Smells coming from your past and all these stuff around you, even the buildings and the statues – what man made. You communicate with them while cycling. Slowly cycling from one place to another. You are open. Now, in this mild downhill you leave your hands and cycle freely with your balance driving. Ohhh.. and you close your eyes for a bit and you move and you are moved. This is freedom for a bit. No thinking at all, just….flow!
OK, and now… Why by e-bike?
Simply put. To go further. And let me be clear on that. I love bicycles, plain simple normal bicycles. But I wanna go further… I don’t get it, why ebike in our mind is about less effort, while it can be for more distance or less time (ceteris paribus). And again, my ebike will be a pedelec assist ebike; that means no throttle, just a push untill you get 25km/h, from then on it’s a normal bicycle again. Why I need this extra power? I think of it like this: Battery and motor needed to counterbalance the 20kg of luggage I am gonna carry. So, in terms of difficulty, It will be (I think) like going for a ride around your city. But I ‘ll be moving from city to city. Until I get to Athens again 🙂
And there is what I find especially intriguing in this adventure
There are many couchsurfers travelling around the world. And
There are many bicycle tourists travelling around the world
Why not combining them?
Free of transportation mess and money
Free from camping equipment plus more socialising
Seems to me very promising!
But is it possible?
The limits of probability are well known from maths and stats
The limits of potentiality are unknown and need to be explored
Is it doable?
Well, we ll see 😀
A note on impact!
Another reason for doing this by ebike is to INSPIRE! To raise awareness on this eco-friendly and economic means of transportation!
To show that an average person (with a bit of adrenaline) can take his/her e-bike and ride not only to his/her work but also to the next city. There is no need to be a professional cyclist or love camping (and be familiar with doing it). Pack some stuff, charge your battery (-ies) and leave. Now, you can sleep outdoors in the forest or you can camp on the beach, you can use couchsurfing, or stay at a hostel, or a 5star hotel if you like. Your choice! But you should at least try riding an e-bike once. For sure, guarantee, in a few seconds you ‘ll get what Guim Valls Teruel calls an “electric smile” → :e) → “A natural reaction that occurs within a person who rides an electric bicycle”. It’s true!