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Making the Most of Those ‘It Is What It Is’ Moments While E-Bike Cycle Touring

Making the Most of Those ‘It Is What It Is’ Moments While E-Bike Cycle Touring
While it is easy to talk and write about all the good times we have had on our ongoing 15 month, 26,000 kilometre e-bike long distance cycle touring adventure in Europe and the UK, it is fair to say that not everything has always gone exactly to plan.

Sure, the good times have by far outweighed our few bad experiences, but it is also true that it hasn’t always been wine and roses.

Maybe it is a sign of the times or maybe it is just normal human curiosity, but it always amazes us that the first question some people ask when they first meet us is “what has been your worst experience” or at least words to that effect.

And the honest answer?

“Yes, there have been a few incidents along the way where not everything has gone to plan, but it is amazing that over time it has been those incidents that we have talked about the most”.

Almost without exception these situations have been when we have been either hopelessly lost or unable to find anywhere to camp at the end of a long day of cycling our Haibike xDuro Trekking e-bikes.

On each occasion while it would have been easy to despair at the situation we found ourselves in, we soon discovered that if we adopted the motto “it is what it is”, there was always a solution to be found to our predicament.

And without fail this nearly always involved the generosity of complete strangers.

Take, for example, the motorist in England who raised the ire of everyone – except us, of course - when he literally stopped his car in the middle of a busy roundabout to give us detailed directions to our destination.

Or the many, many fellow cyclists or motorists who after giving us directions decided the blank look on our faces meant that we had clearly not digested the “turn left, then right, then right and left” directions and that the best way for us to get to where we were headed was for them to cycle or drive with us.

Another classic example were the two mountain bike riders in Preston in England who rescued us at nightfall from having to wild camp in a park on the edge of town after all of our attempts to find suitable accommodation and much needed electrical power for our depleted e-bike batteries had failed.

Basically the conversation went something like this. “What are you doing here (in the park)?” “Trying to find a campsite,” we answered. “There are no campgrounds anywhere near here”. “That is what we were afraid of,” we replied. “No worries, you can stay with us”.

A 15 minute ride later we arrived at our new friends’ house where we went on to enjoy a wonderful night full of good conversation, wine and food. And the icing on top of the encounter? We were told that under no circumstances would we be allowed to sleep in our tent and that we “must” sleep in the guest wing of the house.

From despair to what turned out to be a fantastic experience, it really doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

On two other occasions in Ireland after long days of e-biking and with every campground closed late in the season, we were left with no choice other than to knock on doors to ask if we could camp in the owner’s field.

On both occasions without a hint of hesitation we were welcomed like long lost family members and were offered food, showers and much needed electricity for our e-bike batteries.

And best of all, when we left the following morning we were even thanked for calling. One lady was so enthusiastic about the encounter that she was already hatching plans to open her house to more cycle tourists in the future.

How good is that!

So the honest answer to the questions about our “bad” experiences?

Basically there haven’t been any.

More accurately there have been many “situations” that with the right attitude, a bit of luck and lots of good timing have turned out to be memorable occasions.


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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