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UPDATED March 7, 2022

BY Henry Gold

IN Company

6 comments

UPDATED March 7, 2022

BY Henry Gold

IN Company

6 comments

E-Bikes: An Update On Our Policies

 

Is that glass half full or half empty? When it comes to e-bikes, it depends whether you like or hate them. If you don’t have a strong opinion about them, one way to find out how you feel is simply to try one, as I did four years ago on the 2017 Bamboo Road from Shanghai to Hanoi. I wrote a blog about it, ‘It Is Not A Horse And It Is Not A Donkey. Maybe It Is A Mule‘, which is still my favourite title for a blog.

Henry and his e-bike on the 2017 Bamboo Road

Two years later, we announced that we would begin allowing e-bikes on some of our tours, starting with the Viva Italia. It was a good option as there is a lot of climbing on the tour and it starts and finishes in Rome. This means less transportation hassles, still a challenge with e-bikes.

The Viva Italia route in Sardinia

Since then a whole stream of new e-bikes has come onto the market – lighter, cheaper and with more battery power. We, as a company, have also had a bit of experience with what works and what doesn’t for the type of tours we run. This is important, as TDA tours are not your typical cycling tours. They tend to be longer in distance and duration than those any other company offers, they often cross numerous borders and are usually not circular, meaning transporting e-bikes to and from them can be a major challenge. On some of our tours we spend many nights camping, meaning the ability to charge e-bike batteries can be a challenge. On the 2021 Great American Roadtrip tour we brought a couple very expensive charging devices that, frankly, didn’t work very well.

As result, we have updated our guidelines on which tours e-bikes, as they are now, are currently an option. I emphasize ‘as they are now’ because I expect the technology to keep improving. We will likely have to update the criteria again.

So, if you are considering joining a tour in 2022 or 2023 and are thinking of using an e-bike, please make sure that the tour is noted as ‘e-bike friendly’ and be sure to carefully read our e-bike policy. The important thing to remember is that our tours are not your typical ten day cycling holiday and as a result, we can only accept a limited number of e-bikes on any ‘e-bike friendly tour’. Additionally, the e-bike must be approved by us, which means that they must be pedal-assist and be light enough that we can load them on our support vehicles, if necessary.

Perhaps, because I trained as an electrical engineer, or perhaps because I understand that not everyone is like me and enjoys a slow, challenging, tiring climb to the top and the satisfaction that comes with conquering the long days and the hard climbs, I am very open to e-bikes, even if I am, in fact, jealous when one passes me on a steep slope.

In my opinion, e-bikes are a great invention, and I hope it brings many more people to the sport we call cycling. I also hope that it will also help in the fight against climate change, limit the use of automobiles and reduce pollution but most of all, that they bring joy to many more people. And that is why I have been arguing that the ‘purists’ in our company should be open to e-bikes participating on our tours. So, if you use an e-bike or if you are intimidated by our tours and would be more at ease riding an e-bike, please consider joining one of our ‘e-bike friendly’ tours.

6 Comments for "E-Bikes: An Update On Our Policies"

I get the attraction. But I don’t think they play well with ‘regular’ bikes. I would think separate tours for e-bikes only would be a great solution.. Keep everyone happy!

Actually our experience has been positive. The individuals who came with e-bikes came because they needed the extra support that the battery provides, in order to be able to cycle full days. Without that support they wouldn’t have come on the type of tours that we run. Also at this stage there simply are not enough e-cyclists that would be enough to run long distance tours only for e-tourers. That may change in few years but for now I think we can all get along and enjoy touring.

There are many couples like myself and my husband where one person is supremely fit and the other has a few health issues. I love cycling with my husband. I use thigh power and he uses his e-bike. He is a considerate, competent e-biker who never rushes ahead. The e-bike has allowed us to have many adventures together which simply would not have been possible otherwise. I applaud your decision to allow e-bikes on some of your suitable routes and we hope to join you one day soon on a tour.

    Hi Catherine

    Thanks for your input and hope to see you and your husband on one of our tours soon.

I ride regularly with a group of riders, a few of which are on ebikes. Maybe we only send out positive vibes, but our ebiker riders are always an excellent fit! They add diversity, humour and have the ability to carry more food, cloths and gear!!! A good rider, is a good rider no mater what they are riding. Let’s make the circle bigger, accommodate e riders when we can. Who knows we may all be on an e bike one day……Perfect health does not last forever. Ride on!

    I agree 100%. As in much of life it is the attitude that counts.

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