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

Archive for April, 2007

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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Leaving Eden

Morning! It’s become a regular frustration in dealing with a large group of people, that everything happens at a very slow speed. I had vague hopes that this morning we might actually leave on time, but we are still having breakfast and bikes are still being fixed. Given that today is our longest day so far, and on our 130 km day we were riding in the dark for half an hour, I really wish things we more organised in the mornings. Fortunately the bikes really are going the distance, and I continue to be amazed at how physically good I feel, just a bit sore. The real tiredness is mental, from concentrating on the road and looking out for the less experienced riders. And now I am the only female rider except for the family, for the rest of the trip, argh!

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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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Quick photo post from Orbost!

Hey folks! The ride is going FANTASTICALLY!!! We just had our first hilly morning and the bikes performed brilliantly.

I’m going to post a handful of pics and we are only hitting a net cafe … well, this is the first one and I only have 5 more mins before we set off again.


Phil Ceberano playing @ Launch




Heading off on the Yarra trail


Bebe!! Finnley in trailer



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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In Warrigal

Hey folks, have had no luck getting photos through so far but will keep trying! The launch went really well, and the ride yesterday was slower than hoped and free of any major drama! I am feeling bright and sparky after almost a hundred km yesterday too, proving so far that it’s a lot easier than a regular bike ride. My bike had a couple of issues: a blown fuse that was fixed very quickly, and my seat lost a spring so was replaced at the next pit stop. Many of the bikes had minor problems, Stephen even re-attached some wires that had come undone while we were stopped at traffic lights! Also one of the Red Cross relay team girls, Esther, is from Perth and did Bollywood classes with me! Dinner last night was lovely and we just had breakfast in bed. Tonight we will be in Sale. Gotta go now and get ready, will be trying to update more often now I can at least post even though I’ll only be able to post photos when we stop somewhere with Interweb.

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ebikeHey folks, I have arrived safe and sound in Melbourne. Yesterday I went down to the warehouse where the bikes have been stored, charged and in all manner made ready for the trip, to meet some of the guys, and to pick up mine! It is a gorgeous thing of beauty indeed. Here’s what she looks like over to the right. The motor has a bit of a whine to it, but I have been informed that has alot to do with the speed limiter. Rides wonderfully, soooo comfortabuls and very sturdy. The dynamo which I initially poo-pooed is actually quite good too, and didn’t feel like too much resistance when riding at night. I will be riding it a lot more today, so expect another update if I get time to get near the Interweb.

The other rather cool thing I got was a brand spanking new Crumpler bag – they are sponsoring the ride, and each rider gets a Crumpler to show off! In typical style I got a black one. It’s big enough to carry anything I’d need on the ride, and very comfy too. YAY CRUMPLER! Below is a pic of Christian, who will be making a documentary of the ride, unwrapping his shwanky million-pocketed Crumpler camera bag, while being filmed by Stephen, and Ilka watching on. Plus you can see one of the very cool cruiser eZee bikes in the background too:


We also had a small meeting in the evening last night for most of the riders to meet and get together. It was pleasantly informal. Unlike the launch; which looks like it’s going to be HUGE: Peter Garrett is confirmed to do the honours, which is a great show of support, and Kate Ceberano will be putting in a guest appearance to support her brother Phil who is playing at the launch and doing the whole ride! Stephen says in the last week media interest has gone through the roof and it seems like critical mass has been reached in regarding people believing in the event. Huzzah!

Have had some random intermittent problems with sending email from my phone [grrr] so updates may or may not happen directly from the launch tomorrow. Will see how we go! Wish me luck!


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