eBike blog – personal experience with sustainable transport for the new millenium

Archive for the 'events' Category

World Record Attempt for “longest eBike ride” a sham?

Hitting international news all over the world is the story of Eddie Sedgemore, a 66 year old Brit, who is claiming to be making a world record attempt for the “longest journey on a motorized bicycle” according to Powabyke.com. Eddie has previously completed several trips the length of Britain on electric cycles, and has raised hundreds of pounds for charity, which is fantastic: and he’s now set his sights significantly greater than his previous rides. However, having researched the story a little more, I’m in two minds about how valid this world record attempt is, given the record it’s claiming to break is not for an electric bicycle – but for a mobility scooter. No matter what the age or physical fitness of the rider, these are NOT the same things, and gives entirely the wrong impression about electric bicycles. Not only that: there’s already been a MUCH longer record breaking attempt, on a mobility scooter, not an eBike!

The current “official” world record for “Longest Journey on an Electric Mobility Vehicle (scooter)” was set by John Duckworth in the UK – he travelled 2,662.8 km (1654.6 miles) around mainland UK on a Horizon Mayan electric mobility scooter between June 20, 2004 and July 27, 2004, finishing in Hincaster, Cumbria. However since this world record ride there had since been another MUCH longer ride made by the same charity organising John Duckworth’s currently listed ride: after 117 days riding, they completed 5,349 miles – completely blowing away the currently underway 1,655 mile “record breaking attempt” planned by Eddie.

Now don’t get me wrong – I believe that supporting charities and rides like this are very worthwhile, and raising awareness is even more important; but I’m simply astonished that the rider and bike company in the first place would mis-categorize a fully functioning eBike as a “mobility scooter” like this – and that major media outlets like the BBC would publish this and have it syndicated worldwide, after have done so little research to confirm the facts being bandied about. I imagine the mobility scooter riders who’ve done the previous world record attempts may be feeling… well, a touch miffed might be putting it mildly!

I’d also like to point out the differences between the two types of vehicles, a motorized scooter clearly seen above, contrasting with the image below of Eddie with the Powabyke X-byke electric bicycle he will be riding for this claimed record breaking attempt:

Not the same kind of vehicle in any way, shape or form, no matter how you try to slice it. What there should be of course, is a new category of vehicle for the world record attempt. However, Eddie might find that Spaniard Guim Valls Teruel who is this month beginning his Electric Bicycle World Tour might be beating him by just a little bit…. try 5 continents compared to just tootling around the UK!

Seriously – I’m impressed at the media coverage, and that’s good for electric bikes which are getting more and more mainstream press now (finally!!!) – but let’s do it under appropriate auspices, please?


UK supermarket chain now using ebikes for deliveries

c/o the BBC: UK Supermarket chain Waitrose has begun a small pilot program with four stores for groceries purchased online to be delivered by electric-assist cargo bikes.  The bikes can carry up to 6 trays of groceries and keep food frozen for 2 hours. While the bikes will only be doing a small portion of deliveries the store makes, it’s a step in the right direction and the store will not need to purchase any new delivery vehicles for the time being – with any luck this will be the way they’ll continue to grow their delivery fleet!

Full story and video available here.

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Random pic:

Somewhere around Bega….

Just a random pic taken before the rain began on Day 8.

More commentary & selected pics tomorrow or soonish after. Have uploaded all pics to the gallery, but they are not all sorted, nor do they have captions. If you were on the ride, you won’t need them, and if not, well, you can extrapolate for the meantime.


It’s been a week…

… and I’ve only just got around to downloading photos from my phone to my pc! I couldn’t do any pic uploading easily in Sydney, and as soon as I returned home work engulfed me, so this has been the first moment I’ve had to look through everything and start to try and take stock and process.

And it’s made me realise that it’s taken me a week to re-adjust and think about the ride in a rational way.

We really did an amazing thing. As I scroll through my photos I am having moments of memory far more vivid than on other trips or journeys. Everything in retrospect is framed with an aura of hyperreality. The trip exhausted me far more than I expected, and I know for at least the second half I was really dog tired every day, and my mind was far from its’ best. But looking back I am reminded of what we achieved and how important I think the event will come to be in retrospect. I really look forward to the doco coming together.

But in the meantime, I’ll be uploading all the pics I can to a new gallery here, and start uploading to youtube as well, with more blog posts to follow with my favourite pics and perspectives of the trip. First two vids are up, from the launch:

More on the way!

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Arrived in Sydney, safe and sound!

Sorry, haven’t updated in a couple of days as the pace of the second last day was quite extreme, and weariness had certainly set in. But the good news is I can post a bunch of photos now!

But firstly, a general update of the last couple of days.

After the deluge coming in to Ulladulla, the next day dawned quite grey, but we didn’t actually get any rain at all until we were about 50km from Wollongong. In a fortuitous choice [for me], Dave’s bike got a flat and I gave him mine, after having a bit of a tough run up one huge hill and deciding that the 90 odd km I’d done would be enough for that day. 5 minutes later huge clouds rolled in, and the drenching began, about 3pm or so, which wouldn’t really stop for the next 2 days, with only brief respites. Now that the bikes had had their circuits rerouted, there were fewer electrical issues, but several flat tyres, including my bike ridden by Dave about 10km out of Wollongong: being so industrial the roads did have random bits of metal which seemed to be the culprit at least on my tyre. Roads were closed as we headed closer [fortunately not one we were taking] and the rain was unrelenting. It was great to be able to see the ride from the persepctive of the rear support vehicle though, and I took alot of photos and video, including some for Christian on the mini DV he had in the glove box.

We had dinner in the hotel restaurant that night and I had a wonderful veal marsala and one of the best creme brulee’s I’d ever had: if you’re ever in Wollongong check out “Antics” if you are a creme brulee afficionado!

So the game plan for the final day was thus: if fine, we would ride the whole way, but if the rain was still solid, the hill coming out from Wollongong would be far too dangerous to attempt, and we would take the train a little closer to Sydney and ride the last 50km or so. Guess what? It was still bucketing down in the morning, so it was onto the train. Unfortunately my bike’s electrics started playing up just after we left, and I had to swap bikes.

Fortunately the last stretch was only mildly rainy, and we got a mostly clear run. King St in Newtown was terribly congested, and to get to the arrival point in time we had to leave the support vehicles stuck behind in traffic! We also did a little bit of cross-country in downtown Sydney, fearlessly speeding toward our final destination, Lady MacQuarie’s Seat which has an amazing view of The Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

Our arrival was about 2 minutes after 3: just in time for a phenomenal pelting of rain, but we raised our champagne glasses in a toast even as they were watered down and we were beginning to get chilled ourselves. A brief clearing allowed time for many photos with the lovely backdrop, for Stephen to do a couple of interviews, and then it was time to get out of the sodding rain, grab our gear and then head down to The Opera Bar for a celebratory couple of drinks. We did it! We made it, and given the task that had been set, I believe with amazingly few major issues.

Unfortunately, my bike couldn’t get fixed in Sydney before I head back to Perth today, so it’s gone back down to Melbourne where I would have been needing it in a couple of months anyway, and I won’t be taking it to Perth as I’d hoped. Sorry Chris, you may have to wait a little longer to have a go!

Okay, next post will be a continuation of the few photos I’d posted mid ride, but may take a little while to sort out! In a couple of days I’ll also do a general summation of the ride with a little bit of perspective. Stay tuned.


First rain

As the title suggests, today was our first day of rain. James was there in the morning for a lovely breakfast, had a little go on my bike, and we headed off into a very light drizzle. That soon cleared, and we made great time to Bateman’s Bay, But about five km out we were subjected to a huge deluge of torrential rain. Locals were saying it was the most they’d seen in a long while. We were beyond drenched, and the eZee bikes have a safety cut off which stops the motor functioning if the brakes are too wet, so we lost function in most bikes. This is the kind of rain most people wouldn’t consider riding in, but this has been no ordinary ride! Some bikes were still fine so Steve continued with Phil and a spare bike, but after half an hour Steve was on his own on the Schwinn, and made it to Ulladulla well before dark. We had been ferried down earlier to dry off and rest. Sad as I had done the whole way til that point on the bike: the only person except Steve who had, if only by a few km, it was still disappointing to know I will not have done the whole way now. Tomorrow is our longest day, 144km, so time for bed!



Today has been both awesome and the most physically challenging of the ride: as I am now the only girl riding full days and fitter than some former weakest links, the race picked up substantially, though possibly not as much as expected. We passed through Bega which was stunningly pretty and full of cows! Bikes mostly doing well but the Schwinn was down today, repairs were difficult. Hills toward the end of day [and some earlier] were of very steep gradient, so I did finally sweat a little – honestly so far I have hardly perspired at all! My lovely friend James drove over from Canberra to hang out tonight which has been awesome! Time for bed now, am exhausted. Bye!

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Half way!

Today we arrived in Eden, having travelled over 500 km in five days! I have to say I am starting to feel a little frazzled, and would love to have a rest day, but the schedule must be kept. Last night we arrived well after dark, tonight fortunately we were fine but tomorrow we have a longer day than any other yet and I am hoping we leave early enough and have no mishaps. The Schwinn had some problems today, seeming to be mainly to do with the battery pack not connecting, one advantage of the eZee bike is that it has the battery connecting at the bottom under the weight of the battery, so gravity is always on your side there. On the subject of batteries, I am starting to honestly prefer the NiMHs to the lithiums! A strange choice you might think, but on a ride like this I am finding the discharge pattern more workable: while they make you work harder as they run low, I vastly prefer that to a flat cut off. This is helpful because each sudden change slows the group down. Time for bed now, more tomorrow!

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We have stopped for lunch, now in day three. Only the third real stop today but I am worried about the length of time it is taking to get moving again, if it continues like this on the harder days we are going to have a tough time arriving before dark! In more positive news, I got to ride the Schwinn today! It’s a lovely smooth ride, very well engineered bike, but the motor lacks sufficient power on the hills. This is the international version though: the US domestic release should be a lot more versatile, but this one is a real pleasure to ride on the flat, and the motor is much much quieter than most of the eZee bikes [though these seem to vary abit, some being whinier than others]. Ok got to go now, still half a days ride to go today. Also could someone please comment on one of the last three entries, I have not been able to get near a computer and I am posting from my phone, but I am not one hundred percent sure these are getting through! Ta!


Day 2

So today we rode from Warrigal to Sale. Yesterday was overcast the entire day coming out from Melbourne: today was sunny with only a few clouds in the late afternoon, making for a lovely day’s riding. A lot less technical difficulties than yesterday, and the group has been getting more accustomed to riding together, we are getting tighter and more aware of the bikes capabilities and our personal space on the road. New seat is lovely and comfy and have had no issues at all today, the battery life is good and I think I am becoming even more efficient with my throttle technique. Getting probably close to forty km on a charge, probably a bit more as I have not totally depleted a battery yet. Big tests will be the bigger hills in a few days time! Lovely scenery too which I am told will get even more beautiful. Have been getting a lot of state media, tv and radio especially. Honestly not even slightly sore yet really, but give me a couple more days I may revise that!

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