Lessons Learned from a Four-Day, 250-Mile Electric Bikepacking Adventure

250 miles, bikepacking, electric, four days, lessons learned

Electric bikes have long been controversial among avid cyclists who consider them to be cheating. However, as electric sport bikes become more common on trails and roads, and regular e-bikes replace regular bicycles in cities, it is clear that they have a place in cycling sports. To better understand their appeal, the author decided to test the Specialized Turbo Creo 2 Comp electric sport bike on various terrains and loading it with 50 pounds of gear for a four-day e-bikepacking trip.

One of the concerns for e-bike users is the availability of charging facilities. However, the author found that charging options were more plentiful than expected during their trip in the Netherlands. Each of the three campsites they stayed at offered free e-bike charging, and several cafes along the way also provided free public chargers. With a charging time of 3.5 hours, the author was able to conveniently charge the bike overnight at the campsites.

The Specialized Turbo Creo 2 Comp was chosen for its lightweight design, multiple attachment points for gear, and support for healthy tire volumes. The bike features a main battery that can be supplemented with range extenders, allowing for a total capacity of 640Wh. The bike also has a smart battery control feature that adjusts the pedal assist based on the planned distance and duration of the ride.

In terms of planning, the author used the Komoot Premium service to create a custom four-day cycling trip. They called ahead to each campsite to confirm the availability of e-bike charging, and also checked if the trails along the route allowed for e-bikes. They also brought along various gadgets, including Bluetooth headphones, a drone, and a bug repellent lantern.

Overall, the author found that e-bikepacking can be a fun and accessible activity, particularly for those who may have limited physical abilities. While they personally prefer the exercise and simplicity of traditional cycling, they recognize the benefits that e-bikes offer in terms of carrying heavier loads and leveling the playing field among riders of different abilities. They conclude that rather than dismissing e-bike riders as cheaters, we should celebrate the opportunities that e-bikes provide for individuals to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

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