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Tasmania; My first Trip

Steep Hills and Learning Curves



The purpose of this blog is to encourage cycling in Australia for those who are no longer fit enough to cycle any distance. Since their introduction e-bikes have evolved to the point where millions of them have been sold in European countries and elsewhere in the World. Older people have taken to their bikes once again in droves. The benefits are huge to health and wellbeing, the environment as well as the economy. It feels so good to be out in the fresh air, cycling a few kilometers to pick up the milk and papers rather than taking the car. You can say hello to your neighbours with a smug eco-grin on your face and smell the flowers as you pass them by. Or you can go on a mini adventure on the bike as I have and will be doing for as long as I am able.
I hope one day that this blog will become an interactive website or part of an existing one where anyone can contribute to the information therein.

In 2016 when we came back from the Netherlands, where we had been spending the Tassie winter on our little sailboat cruising the canals and lakes and of course cycling the excellent bike routes, I missed our bike trips so much I decided to buy an electric bike. Electric because I am over 65 and the many hills in Tasmania are not condusive to easy bicycle touring. Tasmania is a very bumpy place.
My bike is a Gepida Reptila step-through frame with Bosch motor, 4 power settings and very slick automatic Nuvinci gearbox which calculates continuously to determine the most efficient gear for the minimum effort.
I must admit I was bedazzled by the novelty of not having to change gears and always being in the right gear at traffic lights, so bought this bike after a short test ride around Hobart.
The bike was to be used for commuting around the Huon Valley without adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and this model does that job very well indeed. But, being a restless soul always on the lookout for opportunities to travel and explore, using any means of transport available from kayaks to sailboats to bicycles [and I have been known to use shanks pony as well], I soon began to wonder whether I could go further afield on my e-bike. I know that there are perhaps better e-bikes for touring and climbing hills but this one comes close to the best. I will leave it to you to do the research and decide on a bike that suits you, since performance, range and load carrying ability are improving all the time.

Successful e-bike touring depends on several variables that are interdependent on one another;

  1. Weight of the bike, the rider and the stuff you carry.
  2. Changes in elevation of your route.
  3. The capacity of your battery or Range.
  4. Location of recharge facilities for your battery [and your body].
  5. The Power of your motor [and your body] to get up very steep hills.

The cumulative variations of these factors seem infinite, but gradually average values would emerge of the bike’s capabilities and mine as the trip progressed. In short, I had no idea of what I was getting into. By relating this trip now, rather than listing a whole series of dry statistics and details, you will get a better idea of how I was improvising and learning, probably in much the same way as you will be doing when you start to tour on your e-bike. I don’t think you can ever be entirely certain of battery range, the variables are waiting to catch you out, so the answer is, be conservative.

Camping or B&B?

Because the weather was still good, I chose to go camping on this trip, but on other tours will be staying in cheap accommodation along the way too. I also chose not to take food or cooking facilities along with me in order to save weight and space. Frequenting cafes, tearooms, foodstalls, restaurants and pubs along the way is a lot of fun and perfect for refreshing one’s body and batteries.

For camping there are a number of apps, but I must say that WikiCamps Australia is unbeatable, providing all the information you need as it includes many cafes, picnic spots and pubs too. And Google Maps is of course great for navigation using their bike routeing icon, although they often only give the shortest route which may well be along main roads. I have tried to avoid main roads as much as possible, it’s so much nicer and safer [most of the time] to follow the byways. A map [most convenient and lighter] or tablet is therefore also necessary, as it’s much easier to plan your route in advance.
In the true spirit of carefree drifters, I planned my route the night before, it gives you something to do, but don’t get trapped in a cul de sac where the only recharge facility is back the way you came.

Staying in B&B and other accommodation will be more expensive, but there are advantages of course;
• You do not need to carry tent, sleeping bag or sleeping mat so the bike is lighter, goes further and is easier to unpack. On my bike I simply unclip both panniers and carry them inside as hand luggage complete with the battery.
• You check in and step straight into a shower and change into comfortable clothes.
• You get to meet the hosts and other guests.
• You charge your battery in the room.
• You get a much better sleep, especially when you’re my age.
Besides, you can offset the cost by subtracting camping fees. On this trip my camping fees were exceptionally cheap grace of looking them up on WikiCamps, but they can be substantial.
There may be tours in more remote areas where you will need to camp anyway in between accommodations, which means a heavier bike. For longer remote trips I intend to buy a second battery which will have to be carried together with some food.

Posted by takinitezy 01:55 Tagged tasmania campsites touring recharging battery e-bike bikeroutes

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Amazing. Looking forward to reading more of your travels :)

by aussirose

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