Tasmanian central plateau e-bike tour
**Breaking News - Adventure Seekers is now offering fully catered electric bike tours of Tasmania on eZeebikes!**
Maurice and Kaitlin, glowworm staff, put their motors where their mouths are and enjoyed a cross-country electric bicycle tour from Hobart to Launceston over the Tasmanian central plateau. The purpose of the trip was multiple - to visit our friends and new dealers of our e-bikes in Hobart, to prove the toughness and reliability of our electric bicycles in Tassie's wildeness, to attend the Tassie Circus Fest in Golconda (arriving by e-bike of course) and to have a fun electric bicycle tour.
If you're not into text, you can see our trip photos on ourflickr page, maps of where we rode onbikely.com or have a read of the thread about the rideon the electric bike forum. There was also a write up on the Tasmanian Times. For the more patient, please read on...
We brought aneZee Sprint with us and borrowed Garth's (from Eco-bikes) personal eZee Torq for the trip. We had 2 batteries per bike, so a total of 4 batteries. 3 of them were 36V 14Ah and one was 36V 10Ah (by mistake!). We were staying in Hobart and went for a warm up ride up Mt Wellington, a sheer 1260m climb from sea level. Accomplished on one 10Ah battery, the mood was optimistic for the trip across the state.
The main event was a 3 day, 300km ride over the Central Plateau from Hobart to Launceston. It's a route that isn't often used except by fly-fishers and the odd traveller. It was a beautiful place to cycle and was full of opportunities to test our the e-bikes. Including the riding up Mt Wellington and our final ride
from Launceston to Golconda we climbed 5600m on our e-bikes and rode through complete downpours of rain, steep mountains, 60km of dirt road, strong head winds and also a lot of nice weather.
From a technical perspective we were extremely pleased with the performance of the electric bikes. We had zero punctures thanks to our flat-less Schwalbe tyres, everything stayed waterproof in the Ortlieb panniers and the iphone stayed dry in its handlebar mount holder. The two batteries on each bike gave more than enough battery range - the weakest link was our sore bums at the end of the day, not depleted batteries. We averaged 50-100km per 36V 14Ah battery despite the hills, rough surfaces, wind and the weight of our bikes and gear, which was around 40kg each (the trick? Don't use the electric assistance above 20km/h and pedal consistently). The brakes did their job on the huge descents, the racks held the weight of our gear, the mud and chain guards kept us clean and the water didn't make the electrics play up.
It was particularly nice to give the eZee Sprint a good workout. It's built as a step through city electric bike with Nexus 8 hub gears and upright sitting position so is often overlooked for big touring adventures and the Torq gets all the glory. It's every bit as tough as the Torq though and went everywhere the Torq could on this trip and we didn't even have to clean a derailleur at the end of the 10km dirt road into the circus festival!
From a cyclist's perspective the ride was a lot of fun. We have ridden together before in Tasmania on our regular bicycles which is a wonderful experience and this trip was just as enjoyable in different ways. We could cover longer distances per day, go to more scenic a
nd remote places without worrying about the hills, choose rough roads instead of high traffic and not worry about the extra time taken. We could carry fresher, heavier food. The hills were shorter and the changes in wind didn't bother our moods. We arrived at the Circus Festival at a sensible time and could enjoy the rest of the day instead of collapsing in exhaustion. The biggest advantage of e-bikes touring through tasmania would probably be enjoyed by people who aren't fit cyclists and would otherwise not be able to do it at all. However, in the end, the trip wasn't just about
our enjoyment or about using e-bikes for touring. The point is - if we can climb 5600m through rainstorms, over dirt roads across the state in the middle of nowhere - then the good people of Tasmania and the rest of Australia can stop using their cars to drive 5km and enjoy a healthier, quicker, cheaper, smarter and more environmentally friendly way of getting around and living.