|Heading down the Dovedale Valley, snowcovered Mt Arthur behind|
Attending the 2WalkAndCycle conference in Nelson gave me the opportunity to find out. I hatched a plan to ride to Nelson, then join one of CANs post conference rides around the Great Taste Trail.
Having fully charged the eBike's battery, Marg (on Lucie, her trusty Tern folder) and I headed down to the BlueBridge terminal, to meet Russell, grappling with the long load of an A0 poster for his conference presentation. After an uneventful cruise, wandering the decks and breathing the unique mix of Cook Strait salt air and livestock truck odours, we emerged from the bowels of the Santa Regina and headed off along Queen Charlotte drive.
|Russell's long load on the Queen Charlotte Drive|
A stiff westerly had got up by the time we tackled the flats across Linkwater, so the eBike went in front allowing Marg and Russell to draft behind, though Marg found it a challenge drafting with the Tern's small wheels, and eventually headed out in front. We made our motel in Havelock in plenty of time for a post ride beer, minor bike adjustments, and dinner at the Mussel Pot.
|Russell and friend, Rai Valley|
We stopped at Hira for a late lunch, the resident cat only too happy to help us with our chicken sandwiches. Then on to Nelson, where we picked up the Atawhai trail into town - Russell to the conference motel, Marg and me to catch up with old friends Mike and Patsy.
Cycling conferences are a great chance to recharge one's advocacy batteries, so the eBike got a bit of a rest while we debated mandatory passing distances, shared paths etc. A nice feature of this conference was the breakfast sessions, where early risers could join keynote speakers at a local cafe. One was at Lambrettas, which attracted me since a Lambretta scooter had been part of my two wheel evolution.
|Lambretta meets eBike at Lambrettas|
|Coastal cycle path to Richmond|
|Angel plots to stow away on Patrick's bike|
We stopped for a rest at the Dovedale Cricket pavillion. In the nearby churchyard was a memorial to Edward Eban, who died of injuries sustained on the Upper Moutere cricket field in 1908.
On we rolled down to Woodstock, passing a Landrover graveyard, and across the Motueka River to the quiet West Bank. Around lunch time I noticed a group of road workers in fluoro sitting in the shade of a tree by their truck. It was only after the calls and yahoos followed me down the road that I realised I'd biked past my companions having lunch. Time for another visit to the optometrist! At Ngatimoti we crossed back to search for the rumoured cafe, but it was closed, and we contented ourselves with a chat with a friendly member of the Ngatimoti Bowling club. At Riwaka the trail took a circuitous route to end up at the new cycleway clipped on to the Motueka River Bridge, and we finished the day's exertions with fruit icecreams at Toad Hall. The four day tour had also arrived, so we dined together at the Sprig and Fern.
|Ice creams at Toad Hall|
|Helping with inflation issues on a canine carrier, Toad Hall|
|Coastal boardwalk to Kaiteriteri|
|Leaving Riverside Community|
|Summit of the Harley Rd deviation|
|Alastair doing a McArthur imitation on Rabbit Island|
So is cycle touring on an eBike feasible? Certainly. Admittedly, I'd kept the power control on the most economical setting, and just used the hand control for a power boost on hills. But the last day was over 80 km, and the battery was still showing 3/4 full (though I suspect the drop from 3/4 to empty is more rapid than from full to 3/4). I didn't have problems with charging, though it helped that I'd bought a double plug, and that the eBike's battery is removable.
So even now, the next electric cycle tour is being plotted... watch this space.
[More photos of the trip on Google +]