The e-bike is an increasingly popular and present means of bicycle touring. If you own an e-bike and wish to embark on your first cycling trip, regardless of its length or difficulty, this comprehensive guide will help you get there.
If, on the other hand, you’re not yet an e-bike owner but would like to delve into bicycle touring, pedal-assisted bikes can certainly be the optimal solution.
Why travel by e-bike
An e-bike supports pedaling up to 25 km/h, reducing physical exertion, lowering cardiovascular effort, and delaying the onset of fatigue. These aspects enable you to cover more miles in a day or approach the same route with less fatigue upon reaching its end. E-bikes are also available for rent at vacation destinations, eliminating the need for a purchase.
There are also downsides: the e-bike is heavier, making it harder to push on flat terrain. You will also need to carefully plan your stages based on battery life. You’ll need to stop at bike-friendly hotels that offer both shelter for your bike and charging facilities. Alternatively, when traveling to less well-equipped places, you can bring a spare battery with you, but this adds to the weight you have to carry.
Preparing for an e-bike trip
The first thing you need to take care of is the riding position on your e-bike. During a bicycle ride, spending many hours in the saddle underscores the importance of a comfortable and ergonomically suitable position—this is the first rule to prevent pain. To find out the right positioning read articles on Bikeitalia.
Setting up the e-bike
Once you’ve identified the optimal location on your e-bike, it’s time to set it up for a ride. In this case there you have to be careful about some elements.
- Tires. There is nothing worse than attempting a 200-kilometer journey on asphalt with tires designed for mud, or conversely, navigating challenging dirt roads with tires meant for the road. The first aspect you need to evaluate is the terrain you will face. Is it on dirt, dirt roads, or asphalt? Is there a high probability of rain and mud? Based on this analysis you need to choose the most suitable tires for the route;
- Bags. While the e-bike assists in pedaling, it doesn’t mean you can treat it like a mule A heavy bike is one that you will have to push with leg power anyway. So you have to think about how to organize well what to bring and how to carry it on the bike. You have two solutions for transporting your gear: panniers, bags that require a rack, and bikepacking bags, which attach to the frame. The choice depends on the type of bike, what you want to take with you, and the size of the equipment you carry. Avoid backpacks that put too much weight on your back;
- Spare parts. During a bicycle trip, unexpected mechanical issues are always just around the corner. So, remember to bring spare parts with you, such as a spare chain, inner tubes, a derailleur cable, and anything else that may be useful during your journey.
Training before an e-bike ride
It may sound unbelievable, but it is really recommended to train even to take on an e-bike ride. Plan for about four months of preparation to arrive ready for the bicycle trip.
- Try to ride at least 3 times a week. During the week, go for shorter rides, while on the weekend, try to stay in the saddle for a duration similar to that of your journey. Do not pedal at high intensities. Pedal with an effort that allows you to speak calmly, without strain.
- Get used to riding the e-bike. On longer, weekend rides, try to outfit your e-bike with the bags and materials you will bring on the trip.
- Train to recover. During a bike trip, the recovery times between stages are always limited. So, it is advisable to get used to optimal strategies that allow you to speed up recovery after each ride. Take some carbohydrates (simple sugars, such as jam) as soon as you return from cycling. Try to keep yourself hydrated. You can get massages or do some evening stretching, which helps stretch muscles and makes it easier to sleep. Sleep regularly: the best recovery strategy is to sleep at least 7-8 hours every night
Aspects to consider if you travel by e-bike
In comparison to traveling with a regular bike without pedal assistance, traveling with an e-bike requires some precautions.
The e-bike needs to be recharged. E-bike battery life depends on many factors. The length of the stage, the type of assistance chosen, the accessories (lights, cyclocomputer) connected, the outside temperature. Advice? Plan the stages in advance, determining when to stop for recharging the battery You can’t improvise, so you need to plan your stages both for overnight stays and for lunches and dinners, stopping in places that allow you to recharge the battery. If you’re traveling in the mountains, call the mountain huts in advance and inquire whether it’s possible to recharge the battery, what the costs are, and perhaps, if necessary, book the recharging service.
You need to find a place to shelter the bicycle. Call the places where you want to stay in advance to ask if they have a place to safely store your bicycle (a garage, a bike room, the lobby). Compared to a traditional bike, bringing an e-bike to your room is much more complex, and hotels often do not allow it.
Traveling by e-bike is not much different from traveling by bicycle in general. Traveling on an e-bike requires a bit more caution in managing weights, organizing stages for the battery, and finding a place to shelter the bicycles. But once you organize these small aspects, the rest is all about fun and exploring the territory, allowing you to pedal through nature, history, and art (and, why not, cuisine) of the places you’ll be visiting!