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The Loss of e-Bike Virginity and Touring the Surrey Countryside

The Loss of e-Bike Virginity and Touring the Surrey Countryside
There are stages in life when we instinctively know that the time is right to set the record straight.

Call it a confessional, call it getting something off your chest, call it what you will, but the fact of the matter is that it does the soul good to clear the air and to get everything out in the open.

Such is the case with the e-Bike Cycle Tourists as we count down the days before we head off from Farnham in Surrey in the UK in an attempt to set a new world e-bike long distance record.

So here it is … up until three days ago we had never ridden an e-bike.

Despite writing and talking about e-bikes ad nauseam for months on end as we planned our 16,000-plus, plus, plus kilometre assault on the world e-bike long distance record, due to the fact that we were living in Bangkok in Thailand at the time we never had the opportunity to actually climb onboard an e-bike.

So there you have it, we are e-bike newbies, much like the millions of people around the world who have discovered the joys of e-biking in recent years.

But, thankfully, our e-bike virginity finally came to an end at the weekend when we received our two brand new Haibike xDuro Trekking RX e-bikes from our sponsor Martin Brown from e-bikeshop.co.uk.

And what do you do when you have been waiting months on end to get your much anticipated e-bikes – you go e-biking of course – and that is exactly what we have been doing over the past few days as the clock counts down until we head out on our record breaking ride on Thursday, April 23.

While, I must admit, it was with a fair degree of trepidation that we climbed aboard our new Haibikes for our first ever ride, it only took two or three laps of the e-bike shop car park to be blown away by the performance of our new machines.

To say we couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces is an understatement. What a revelation it was – basically there is no other way to describe the experience of riding our new Haibike xDuro Trekking RX than ‘f=*^%#g amazing’.

The power is astounding, the smoothness of ride is infectious, the looks of the bikes are mesmerising, the technology is amazing … are you starting to get the picture, we are absolutely thrilled with our new Haibikes.

After initially getting to know our new bikes on a short ride around the Aldershot area in Surrey on Sunday where we are staying with good friends, Monday and Tuesday were allocated to clocking up the kilometres in the wider Surrey region.

With perfect spring weather the order of the day, we headed out to give our Haibikes a real workout.

On our first 50 kilometre-plus ride on Monday you name the challenge and the Haibikes were handed it. Pushed hard in Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo modes Gary’s bike never missed a beat. And Rachel, well, she was happy to stay in Eco mode.

With a full range of 27 gears to choose from in conjunction with assistance from the abovementioned e-bike modes, there wasn’t a hill that posed even the slightest of problems. In short it was an amazing day’s cycling that we thought would be hard to better any time soon.

As it turned out it was the very next day on Tuesday when our e-biking experiences went to whole new level when we hooked up our Tout Terrain all terrain cycle trailers for their first fully loaded outing.

With all of the gear we will be taking on our record breaking ride onboard - 30-plus kilograms on Gary’s bike and about 25 kilograms on Rachel’s – the e-bikes and trailers handled perfectly.

If it wasn’t for the curious stares we received from the Surrey locals as we cruised through the countryside on a picture perfect autumn day, we wouldn’t have known the trailers were there such was the ease our Haibike Trekking e-bikes handled the load.

As was the case the day before it was impossible to wipe the smiles off our faces as we cruised with relative ease up even the steepest of hills the English countryside could throw at us.

Sure, we were working the gears on our Haibikes fairly hard, but the power from the electrical system with so much weight onboard meant the bikes had absolutely no trouble handling the workload.

Such was the smoothness of the ride and the power of the electrical assistance, that Rachel in all seriousness at one stage claimed that she felt like she should be buckling up her seat belt!

And better still for someone who worried that the bikes were going to be too “high tech” to ride when she first saw them, she was actually delighted with just how easy they were to use.

Gear changes posed no problems, the upright riding position proved extremely comfortable – an important consideration when planning to cycle 20,000 or so kilometres over 12 months of cycling – and with the help of the electrical assist the kilometres just flew past.

With just two days before we head off from Farnham to Newbury on EuroVelo 2 (the English National route 4) for the first leg of our cycle tour all is ready for what promises to be an amazing 12 months of cycling.

Bring it on!!


Gary Corbett is an award-winning Australian journalist who has written for a wide range of newspapers, periodicals and travel magazines for the past 30-plus years.

After years of writing about other people’s travel adventures, in the mid-2000s he  booked a personal holiday with a difference – a one week guided cycling tour in the Loire Valley in France – and was instantly hooked on those “how good is this” moments that only cycle touring can provide.

In ensuing years he has gone on to cycle well in excess of 30,000 kilometres completing guided, self-guided, bike and barge and solo long distance tours in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America.

Gary now writes exclusively about cycle touring and travelling in general and as such the attempt to set a new electric bike world long distance record along with his wife, Rachel, is his latest “fact finding” cycling adventure – however this time it will be on an e-bike.

His future goal is to see more of the world from the seat of his trusty Trek 520 touring bicycle, and now that he has discovered the world of e-biking, his new Haibike xDuro Trekking RX e-bike. There is, after all, always another country to be explored, new cultures to be experienced and more cycle tours to be completed.


Before this epic journey Gary (a.k.a. The Cycle Tourist) contributed many excellent cycle touring articles to the Cycle Tours Global blog - you can read them at cycletoursglobal.com/Gary-Corbett.

To find out even more about the expedition please visit http://ebikecycletourists.com.

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By: Gary Corbett
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