We were the first ebikers to do the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride

Following a campaign headed by Cycling Made Easy,
for the first time ever, e-bikes took part in the iconic British

Heart Foundation‘s London to Brighton bike ride on Sunday.

While the summer sun beat down on the tarmac of southern England, raising the
temperature to above 30 degrees, 15,000 people made the journey from London to
Brighton on two wheels to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

-> To find out how the bikes performed, read on below.
-> To find out what our participation means in the broader context of health and fitness, click here.

What type of e-bike did we use?

Cycling Made Easy fielded a team of experienced and novice riders, employing a range
of e-bikes: hardtail e-MTBs, full-suspension e-MTBs, electric road bikes, stepthrough-
frame e-bikes, and even an electric tandem. The full list is below:
Scott E-Genius 910
Scott E-Genius 720 Plus
– Scott E-Sportster
Moustache Samedi 27 X2
Corratec E-Power Urban
Haibike HardSeven

 

samedi-27-x2-tandem

The electric tandem bike by Moustache.

 

Battery Performance – Did we all make it?

A resounding YES! There are a lot hills on the route, but the energy-efficient
crank drive motor systems that we were using on the bikes were able to
help us tackle the terrain without draining the life out of the power packs.
None of the Cycling Made Easy staff needed to change batteries.

————

 

How did they compare to the non-electric bikes?

Speed
The e-bikes seemed to be very happy among the company of non-electric bikes.

Neil, who rode an e-Genius full-suspension e-bike by Scott Sports held an 
average speed of 10.8mph over the day, so any fears that e-bikes would be
belting around causing havoc can now be dismissed.

Hill-climbing
Along the steepest of the hill climbs – the dreaded Ditchling Beacon (below) –
most of the team were able to pick their way up to the top without stopping,
including the tandem, ably piloted by Adam.

The rest were simply unable to weave through the congestion, but given the space,
would have been able to stay on the bike and cycle to the top in freedom.

View from Ditchling Beacon by Simon Carey cc by 2.0 via geograph.co.uk

 

 

Stopping and starting
One of the unexpected benefits of the e-bikes was dealing with the stop-start nature
of the very busy sections. With thousands of riders going through some fairly narrow
roads, it was inevitable that the flow of bikes would be inconsistent.

The disc brakes which came as standard on all our e-bikes on this ride were perfect
for the many unexpected stops that we had to make. Meanwhile the pedal assistance
was perfect for getting us going again and clear from the congestion.

Helena’s bike, which had twist-shift hub gearing, enabled her to get into an
appropriate gear even when the bike was stationary, which isn’t possible on a bike
with a derailleur.

Carrying Capacity
Most of us had racks fitted with fully loaded panniers. As it was such a hot day (over
30 degrees celsius) we had to carry a lot of water. Without the e-assistance, hauling
the full bottles would have been an extremely tiring affair.

A member of the St John’s Ambulance mentioned that there was a high incidence
of heatstroke on the day, so being able to carry sufficient water in our panniers was
a definite ‘plus’ for the e-bike riders.

Bottled water by TheDigitel Myrtle Beach CC by 2.0 via flickr.com

 

Sticking together
Ultimately, there was just too many people around for us all to finish in a
single group, however, being on e-bikes did help us ride together for the
majority of the ride.

While some of us were well used to the L2B, some of us had never attempted
such an ambitious ride. For the first-timer, being able to call on the e-assistance
to keep up with the others was very reassuring.

————

Which power systems did you use?

A variety. Most of us used Bosch systems, which is known for offering good mileage,
although the Shimano-powered bike that Helena was on, also made it all the way
without any problem.

Both are crank drive systems which, when compared to the hub motor system, is
more efficient and better at hill-climbing. Riders attempting this challenge with
a hub motor system will want to think about bringing a spare battery along.

 

Summary

Riding the London to Brighton via e-bike has proven just how good these
bikes
are. Able to cope with all manner of conditions – hilly terrain,
stop-start
traffic flow, increased pannier weight – the e-bikes made sure
that the day was
still an enjoyable celebration of cycling, rather than a
gruelling punishment.


Why does it matter that e-bikes can take part in the London to Brighton Ride?

 

 

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2 Responses to “We were the first ebikers to do the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride”

  1. Chris Thomas June 23, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    Congratulations to all riders and their e-bikes.
    I would have joined you on my Scott E Aspect 720 but the forecast for hot weather was too much.
    I expect the “other cyclists” thought the batteries would not have gone the whole way on one charge.

    • Cycling Made Easy June 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

      Thanks Chris! It really was hot, so it was so advantageous that we could carry so much water in our panniers.

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