Some people use their e-bikes to have fun while pottering around. Sean decided to test his to the very limits by tackling the Lands End to John O’Groats cycle route. How did he get on?
“My story starts in 2010 when, aged 65, I underwent a triple heart bypass.
After a successful operation, I was discharged by my consultant
with the words.. ‘ your heart’s fine, I have re-plumbed your arteries,
so you can go for it. There are no restrictions on what you can do! ‘
Frankly, this took some believing, so to prove to myself that I was
fully recovered, I cycled London to Brighton in 2011 and 2012
on a standard hybrid.
I then wanted a bigger challenge, and after carefully researching the
electric bike market, I chose to buy my KTM Macina Sport from
Cycling Made Easy in Coulsdon.
My goal was a ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats: 1000 miles.
KTM’s expertise in motor bikes is well known, as is Bosch’s excellence
in the electronic motor market. It seemed like a perfect marriage.
As it turned out, my confidence was well founded and it has proved
an amazing marriage of chassis/ frame and motor, presented in a
very attractive package.
Why Cycling Made Easy?
Simple answer.. expertise. They offer a wide range of ebikes, but frankly,
my KTM does not look like a typical e-bike, it’s described as a sports tourer,
and attracts attention from cyclists of all abilities and ages.
Story of the ride:
I cycled as part of a group of 27 cyclist: our bags were moved between B&Bs
by the tour company. The age range of our group was 45 to 74, with me,
age 70 the second oldest. Most cyclist were regular club cyclist clocking up
a couple of rides of 50 miles per week.
My base level was initially lower, but I followed a 10 week build up plan which saw me through.
The average day was 70 miles of hard, hilly terrain avoiding most main roads.
I took 2 batteries and used the lunch break to charge up partially discharged batteries.
Pubs and Cafes were all very helpful, allowing to use my mains charger for free.
Batteries gave me between 32 to 40 miles / battery using a mixture of tour 20%
sport 40%, and turbo 40% to give me an average speed of 13.2 mph.
An ebikes’ performance profile is different to all other bikes. It’s faster up hills
than even the fastest young cyclists, but slower on the flat when power cuts out at
16 mph and young fit cyclist on road bikes power ahead.
However, on hilly terrain I was fastest, on mixed terrain in the top third, and on flat
terrain about halfway up the field.
I got up every hill without stopping: some were 20%, many were 15%. The e-bike
was never defeated!
I geared down 8% by changing my front chain ring from 18 to 15 teeth.
My rear cassette was standard .. lowest gear at 32 teeth.
I reversed my brake levers ( i.e. left for rear brake, right for front brake )
because they are supplied for continental, drive on the right side, use.
I upgraded my tyres to Schwalbe Marathon plus .. and had no punctures.
I used one mains charger and one travel charger.
Two mains chargers would be a better option as they would have
shortened my lunch charging time and shorten my cycling day.
Overall, a triumph for man and machine!”
Sean Ahern, Chichester.