So, at some point during my childhood, an incident happen that shocked me a litle bit in regard to “the world of adults”. I was at my aunt’s place, hearing her counting backwards the days to vacations. She could tell you right away when there is a bank holiday, and how many three-days-in-a-row you ‘ll get off-work this year. I was like… whaaaat? Now I can see this is nothing particurlarly bizarre.
I am 25 and I have the feeling I am teenager again, facing all these questions that were important back then. Finished school, university, maybe did a masters, worked for some time, and then, asking yourself: Ok what do I really wanna do with/in my life? Spending time like being on your early 20s is a luxury right now. You need something more stable, be it a place to live on your own, a stable relationship, a normal salary.
The thing is that you exchange a great part of your teen-world for these. I don’t wanna be deterministic or dogmatic here, but I think you would agree that having a world tour, or even a eurotrip or the transsiberian is not something you can easily do while working in a multinational or having two kids.
Having lived for some time abroad (UK, Spain, India), Ι realised what it means this phrase I am listening to since childhood, this “broadening your horizons” moto. Indeed, investing on intercultural understanding can truly broaden your horizons. And let me specific on that: having true friends from all around the world, developing in practice empathetic skills – “to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference”‘… Well yes, this is what makes you Human. So in early 2015 I said, Ok, this is the right time to do it, dream of a trip – dream big and you ‘ll find a way.
As Odysseas Elytis, one of the two greek poets awarded with nobel prize, puts it: Desire gives birth to the road on which it wants to walk. It leaves. . .
(Windows toward the Fifth Season, Orientations, 1941)
Below you can find some pics in regard to the preparation. I will update this soon, with a more detailed description of the stages of the whole project.
Of course I am not the only one finding e-bikes appropriate for something more than daily commuting or in-the-city-rides. There are already some people who attempted long distance e-bike cruises, and actually, there is a couple riding right now on Europe to set a new e-bike long-distance World Record.
Let us meet them:
A Spanish guy, manager of a chinese restaurant in Beijing, named Guim Valls Teruel decided to leave China (in 2009) for 3 years and ride up to London (in 2012, just before the Olympics) on a Wisper 906 Alpino. His goal was to “spread the message of this incredible invention to all corners of the world”. In 2009, while being in Vietnam, he was interviewed by Thuy Anh. They fell in love, later got married, and continued the trip together! Just to add here that they were carrying and using camping equipment. You can find more “before” here and more “after” here 🙂
German adventurer Maximilian Semsch in 2012 circumnavigated Australia (from Sidney to Sidney) claiming that “the route is the goal”. He had been riding for 6 months and achieved an impressive 16.047 km. He was riding a Haibike XDURO and camping all the way. More info here (good luck with the German 🙂 )
German journalist and e-bike enthusiast, Susanne Brüsch, has already completed 3 long-distance routes. On 2011, along with e-bike specialist Sebastian Plog, did the Tour de Sahara, cycling for 2000km and charging only through solar panels. Their goal was to draw attention to electric mobility and show that pedelecs are fun. On 2012, Susanne Brüsch and Ondra Veltrusky, managed the Tour de Mongolia and on 2013, the Iceland Challenge. During the latter they rode close to 4.000km in 4 weeks, but this time they had a special truck in their support, as on of their main goals was also photo-shooting and filming.
American Troy Rank, holder of the “Longest journey on a motorized bicycle” Guiness World Record, completed in August 2014, 7.151 km in the USA on a Maxwell Motorbikes ADV1 electric bicycle. There are also, other attempts made to conquer Troy’s place (hehe, sounds ancient greek to me 😀 ) like this one here in 2014, by Tomas Cortijo, who with his family following him on a van (!), tried to cover the distance of 6000miles (9650km) wtithin the USA. I couldn’t figure out, though, if they finally managed to complete their effort.
Garry and Rachel Corbett, currently on the road; determined to break the record of 16046km
And let us now move on to Australian Gary and Rachel Corbett, aged 60 and 56 respectively (!), also known as e-bike cycle tourists, who are now on the road. Having aleady covered more than 7000km in Europe, their plan is to break the distance record of Maximilian Semsch. They camp all the way long. You can follow them here. Hats (and helmets) off to them!
Of course, there are some more e-bike enthhusiasts that had attempted long distance tours of similar or, mainly, smaller range. Here I highligheted some of the most special efforts so far, according to the data available onlilne. Apologies if I forgot someone.
Taking the above into account, there is a number of people that actually had succeeded in cycling long distances with their e-bikes. The vast majority of them being on a “self-supported bicycle tour” or “fully-loaded bicycle tour”. The main characteristic of this touring category is carrying and using camping equipment, such as tents, sleeping bags, cooking stuff etc. This tends to turn things slower, since all this equipment is heavy. There are also some other issues, like looking every night for a safe place to camp, or finding a power outlet to charge the battery (if you do not carry solar panels, which again are heavy).
There is also an a lot greater amount of backpackers that tour around the world using all sorts of accomodation options (hostels, couchsurfing, etc.).
So, why not combining the backpacker attitute with the e-bike transportational (and not only) advantages, and promote in this way an eco-friendy mode of leisure that can be truly rewarding. I want to prove that it is possible, raise awareness on it, and inspire more people on actually either testing an e-bike or taking their e-bikes out for a longer multi-day trip!