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How did I become an e-bike converter?

Most die-hard cyclists would never think of undertaking a bucket bike ride – on the back of an e-bike or an e-bike – through the idyllic hills and medieval villages of Tuscany. Many, especially those in the purist camp of traditional cyclists, believe in any support, such as an engine or built-in battery covers, from the original – and intended – sport.

This term explains why my five-day bike ride In Italy this October began with a series of jokes that aimed at me and my ride. The Snark came into its own when the other 1

5 travelers learned that I was one of two people crossing electrically powered bikes through the Cycle Europe tour. The rest was on normal road or hybrid bicycles. (See also: This training made me realize that I was always cheating on the Spin class.)

"Will you push your feet up and read the newspaper?" One laughed as he pedaled next to me.

"Could be on a motorcycle tour too," joked another at dinner later.

It was great fun, of course. Although we are all in Italy at the World Travel Summit of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, which annually attracts about 800 travel agencies, tour operators and international media to a new country (or continent) to experience everything that adventure travel means, we've been here in Italy strangers the same tribe.

We share a common goal to bring people out of their comfort zone to explore new communities and cultures. Eventually, my new friends became my mini-focus group to learn more about the growing demand for e-bikes. (Sales in Europe, where e-biking declined about 10 years ago, increased 90 percent between 2016 and 2017, while the US is slowly catching up with this trend). Despite the initial teasing, we were all on the same page that e-biking has a decisive impact. (See also: 8 cardio myths that can lead to weight gain.)

"Two hours on an e-bike can travel twice that distance or more than a normal bike in the same time, so you can go much further," says Raino Bolz, owner of Adventure Shop in South Africa, who has been offering e-bike tours since 2018. "We recently held an e-bike tour that included six out of ten non-cyclists who were fit but not used for riding, so they would never have signed up to drive 31 miles straight, but they did it and they were thrilled. Well, they ride their bikes! "

It's not all easy to ride

For that Protocol of the riders decides how hard they work on an e-bike. In most cases, you're not just pretty, unless you're in Class 2. Let me explain. In the US, there are three classes that determine the type of support (how much power) each bike has. Classes 1 and 3 provide a maximum 750 watt support, with either 20 or 28 miles per hour truncated. (In other words, the bike returns to normal driving with no assistance once you've slowed down.) Class 2, as you can see your seamless rider, does not require pedaling, but drives forward through a throttle and has a top speed of 20 miles per hour. Europe has a different system.

The Scott e-bike I lent from Cycle Europe reached 26 km (16 miles per hour) and had five levels of performance: "off" (no support), "eco" (let's say) ( 20 percent), "Tour" (40 percent), "Sport" (60 percent) and "Turbo" (80 percent). These percentages are rough estimates that do not apply to all e-bikes. To avoid discharging the battery, you never want to be in the "turbo" for more than a few minutes. If you are as economical with your boosts as I was, you can comfortably travel 50 to 62 miles on a single charge.

As an "off", I had a big drawback and pulled a weight of 40 to 50 pounds bike (batteries can be quite heavy) while others, on road or hybrid bicycles, squeezed half that weight or less. The attitude to "eco" was my best bet when it came to improving the pitch. This was not always the case. On the Flats, where I normally used a light road bike over 20 km / h, I had to compete with the weight of this bulky animal and the dead engine to keep up with the group.

While I was often breathless on the flats Unlike my classmates, I returned to conversational levels thanks to pedal support on the hills. Essentially, the e-bike turned my usual efforts. That's why I like to listen to people on the plains and downhills, where I'm most focused on technology (high revs, constant switching, and the famous Italian hairpin bends). Then I did storytelling on the hills while others gasped. I was happy with the role reversal because it meant 1) I would never be dropped, 2) I did not have to spend any energy to worry that I could not handle every hill.

The best part: I could reap The most important benefits of cycling are activity awareness, engaging all my senses and exploring new places. All this without the usual dose of fear that makes you feel under-prepared. Instead, I could strive to be present, to see the sights, to have good conversations and to eat at every meal with abandonment (as in Rome in Tuscany). Interesting Fact: A full belly is more manageable if you can beat "turbo" home for the final boost. (See also: How to Drive Harder and Faster in the Spin Course)

Why e-bikes get a fool

The problem is that too many cyclists come and athletes generally associate pain with performance. E-bikes threaten that.

"Some purists say it's the easy way out," says Maria Elena Price, who owns Monica Cycle Europe along with her sister. (They bought it ten years ago from their parents who founded the Italy-based brand in 1972). "One of our longtime customers, who is a serious athlete, complained when we introduced e-bikes five years ago, he felt weak, and part of the camaraderie [of group riding] is that everyone feels this collaborative effort not so hard, "she explains his concern.

I understand. After completing ten triathlons, four Gran Fondos and a seven-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I made this prolific travel crew known because I was beginning to feel defensive. I've experienced my fair share of cramping pain in the name of athleticism. However, there is something to say about exposing your pearly white in pure joy rather than survival.

In July of this year I cycled for 13 days with @intrepidtravel hundreds of kilometers by bicycle and truck through northern Tanzania. Together with 11 other passengers from all over the world we were accommodated in tents, igloos (2nd photo), guesthouses, dormitories and hotels. We cycled through safari parks, villages, coffee and banana plantations and through the arid, open plains of Africa. We ate good food, shared deeply personal and funny stories and supported each other when things got difficult. We became a tight-knit group that migrated to WhatsApp when we said goodbye and talk regularly and meet in different parts of the world months later. Intrepid Travel promises this kind of people and experiences. If you want to know more about this extraordinary journey, click on the link in my biography to read all about it in @natgeoadventure. , , , , , , , , , , , #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working # #Working #Abenteuer #Abenteuer #Adventure #Adventure #Adventure #Adventure #Adventure #Adventure #Abb # of Cristina Goyanes (@cristinagoyanes) at

Megan Duehring, e-bike marketing specialist at Shimano, agrees with me: "There are always purists who are against and that's OK. But to say that [certain types of] e-bikes not allowing any training is just wrong, e-bikes are not going to pedal for you, and people actually drive more than they do because they have a lot of fun. "

Since I started cycling 12 years ago, I smile me every kilometer. Sure, my constant blaze of this adventure was in part due to the brilliant guides of Cycle Europe, Andrea, Enrico and Michaela, who skilfully navigated through stunning regions of southern Tuscany between 30 and 45 miles per day. The huge grin on my face was also due to the fact that I could devour it on my e-bike like a delicious piece of tiramisu cake, regardless of the size, the slope or the length of the hill.

Often I found myself in the midst of the pack on the hills out of fear not to respect the suffering of others. Occasionally I had to pass for safety reasons (ie, my front wheel moved closer and closer to the rear wheel) or just because of that, and under those circumstances I often felt bad. The group generally accepted and breathlessly said things like "there she goes," when I move apologetically past the left side. Aside from this one time, our guide, Andrea, has initiated an impromptu man-on-machine challenge, tackling a very steep and long climb in "turbo" mode. Amazingly, he beat me in the end (I think he would rather have died on the bike than lose), and I was secretly relieved too. May people always triumph over technology.

The reason why e-bikes stay (despite criticism from Nayayers)

The customer who complained to Price about the e-bikes that later resigned of their own volition. "He realized that he was selfish when he assumed that everyone could work so hard or have time to prepare," says Price, who is constantly adding more plug-ins to their fleet.

"Last year we only had 20 e- We had 40 in 2018 and next year we'll probably add a dozen more, so when we're in high season, we're usually sold out, making driving so much more accessible and more enjoyable. "19659002] The fact is, e-biking does not restrict your driving, it improves it. E-bike is not only a transitional tool for non-cyclists, but also an excellent alternative for those who were once enthusiastic drivers, but for some reason can not ride as they used to.

"We had a group of three generations participating in one of our tours: two children, the parents and the 78-year-old grandmother." While grandma and dad both rode e-bikes, mother and kids were all on standard bikes, "says Bolz.

In another example of Fred Ackerman, the founder of Black Sheep Adventures based in California. E-Biking allowed a man to fulfill his last wish. "We had this one client in the seventies, when he was struggling against terminal cancer, had booked his last vacation with his children and grandchildren, and the e-bike enabled this man to be with his family on this last trip That's really special, "he says.

I am neither old nor ill, luckily I am not in shape. I train regularly, about two to three days a week. But I did not have time to turn outside all year round. I could have been muscular during the five-day ride, but I know that would have been expensive. I would probably have hit the back of the pack or, worse, got stuck in the support vehicle for much of the tour, especially during the ascent to the romantic hilltop villages that we called "home" every night. As a former enthusiastic cyclist this would have been a heavy blow to my confidence. More importantly, that would ruin the experience. Instead, I had a great time thanks to the e-bike!

"Yes, you work less on an e-bike, but you can do more," says Ackerman. "Someone who may only need to cycle in shallow areas can now ride as hilly as Tuscany, and can be a bit more demanding than would otherwise be the case with this technology." This applies to me and many others.

Duehring reiterates the mass appeal: "I think the people taking e-bikes […] want to be outside and active, they can reopen this door."

The door is wide open for me – I dream of where my e-bike will take me next. I already have invitations in California, Ireland, Maine, New Zealand and South Africa to take to the streets – and that's just from the people who were on my Cycle Europe tour. As long as there is a good chance to recharge every night, I can go anywhere.

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