Is e-bike touring the new gravel riding? No, of course it isn’t, but we liked this story that dropped into our inbox this week. Tech Ed Tom spent last week mountain biking in the Alps and spotted the number of people road touring on e-bikes with panniers and/or bikepacking luggage. They were winching up high alpine passes in relative ease and presumably enjoying the experience much more than they might have on an unassisted bike (or maybe they wouldn’t have ridden at all).
Ampler is a German e-bike maker, focussing on the commuter market. Earlier on this year, it set a challenge to the public, asking them to submit their dream route for the longest commuter bike test ride on the planet. Four people were picked and given an Ampler to going and complete their tour this summer.
Thomas | e-bike touring
One story caught our eye: Thomas from Germany, a former Paralympic athlete who cycled 650 km in six days. Thomas’ main goal was to show that anyone can and should believe in themselves and take on new challenges, regardless of what curveballs life throws at you. After a 25-year career as a cross-country skier and biathlete as a para-athlete, he took up the new challenge and cycled from Schmalkalden in the middle of Germany to Hiddensee, a car-free island in the North-West of Germany.
“It’s really cool when you have so much power. I woke up with a smile and went to bed with a smile. Sitting on the bike was so relaxing and so much fun,” said Thomas about his experience.
The selected route was a tour through the landscapes of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Thomas adjusted his Ampler Curt to have both brakes controllable by one hand. He charged his e-bike during lunch breaks, with the average battery range being 60km. There are clearly still limits to the technology, but for many people 60km a day is more than enough when touring.
From our point of view, it’s interesting seeing how e-bikes are beginning to change what’s possible for the average person, and potentially opening the door to longer rides for many.