Discussion: E-bike touring and travel section?

#2
Thread title says it all.

Should there be a section reserved for discussions about e-bike touring? Plausible discussions in such a section could include (but not be limited to):
  • How to tour with an e-bike
  • How to get your e-bike on a train or bus
  • Gear lists for e-bike tour
  • Plausible and implausible e-bike tours
I'd like to know if anyone has traveled with their e-bike on a train or bus. I would be nervous about stowing my $3500 bike on the front rack of a bus! Being able to get to the place you would like to tour on your bicycle is always a bit of a logistical challenge. Add the weight of an e-bike and possible restrictions because of the battery and things get even more challenging.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#3
I'd like to know if anyone has traveled with their e-bike on a train or bus. I would be nervous about stowing my $3500 bike on the front rack of a bus! Being able to get to the place you would like to tour on your bicycle is always a bit of a logistical challenge. Add the weight of an e-bike and possible restrictions because of the battery and things get even more challenging.
Usually the big challenges with bus racks are the weight of the bike and the width of the tires. A lot of them only accept fires up to 2" (50mm) which obviously limits a lot of e-bikes which tend to have beefier tires. I have made them work a couple of times and usually have had to remove the battery (and wrap the area where the battery goes with plastic and duct tape before driving off) to get within the weight limits.

Similarly, Amtrak allows e-bikes on some trains within some parameters. One of the things I worry about is that two-inch tire limit so I haven't tried it with my R&M yet.
 
#5
In many parts of the country Amtrak has very limited roll on service if any at all. Most of the time you have to box your bike which is fine but, the trains that allow luggage other than carry on are limited. This was the case several years ago when I rode the Erie Canal Trail on a non-electric bike. I wanted to park my car in Albany then take the train to Buffalo and ride the trail back to Albany. The problem was the train that allowed me to box my bike only ran at night so I would've arrived in Buffalo at Midnight. The idea of unboxing my bike then riding through a strange city by myself to a hotel in the middle of the night was less than appealing. I ended up renting a car and parking mine at the long term parking at the airport.
 

dblhelix

Active Member
#6
I'd like to know if anyone has traveled with their e-bike on a train or bus. I would be nervous about stowing my $3500 bike on the front rack of a bus! Being able to get to the place you would like to tour on your bicycle is always a bit of a logistical challenge. Add the weight of an e-bike and possible restrictions because of the battery and things get even more challenging.
So I looked online and saw roll-on availability on the Capitol Limited. Great. Stopped by a bike shop that happened to have a 27.5 2” tire and wanted to get rid of it. $25 later I had my Amtrak-eligible tire on the front - the only wheel that matters. Off to a smaller city (or town) Amtrak station. Alas, the online information was erroneous, and there was No Room in the bike car. Oh noes, the bike box is smaller than the RM Charger. Lots of modification with strapping tape/duct to the bike box. Tipped the conductor and watched the box get gently situated in the car. Made sure to get off train at smaller station and then rode home after putting everything back together and twisting up the not-needed 2” tire.

My POV is that the key to Amtrak is to work with the smallest stations that are bike or baggage-capable. Chicago, DC —- big mess and nobody cares, but at the smaller stations people are friendlier and take pride in helping you get situated. And book way in advance. The Capitol Limited is tough bc everyone is coming from all over for GAP/CO. I imagine it’s the same for other bike-capable trains in areas popular with cyclists.
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
#7
Angela M just replied and said that @Court is the only one who has the ability to create new sections of the forum.

Considering what "touring" is, it seems that it might be different things to different people--
--traveling via ebike
--traveling and taking along the ebikes on a rack
--taking a supported e-cycling tour
--enjoying rented ebikes while on holiday

I think it'd be great to have a tour/travel section. It would be nice to have an area for ebikers to talk about their own tour/travel experiences, and also an area for businesses to post ads/promotions for ebiking tours/travel, as that is a growing area of the travel industry and I can well imagine that some folks who don't want to arrange their own ebike vacationing might be interested in packaged tours.

If we can get a touring/travel forum started here, what subforums would you suggest? All ideas welcome! Then, if @Court thinks adding such a forum is a good idea, he'll have the benefit of everyone's ideas.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#8
Angela M just replied and said that @Court is the only one who has the ability to create new sections of the forum.

Considering what "touring" is, it seems that it might be different things to different people--
--traveling via ebike
--traveling and taking along the ebikes on a rack
--taking a supported e-cycling tour
--enjoying rented ebikes while on holiday

I think it'd be great to have a tour/travel section. It would be nice to have an area for ebikers to talk about their own tour/travel experiences, and also an area for businesses to post ads/promotions for ebiking tours/travel, as that is a growing area of the travel industry and I can well imagine that some folks who don't want to arrange their own ebike vacationing might be interested in packaged tours.

If we can get a touring/travel forum started here, what subforums would you suggest? All ideas welcome! Then, if @Court thinks adding such a forum is a good idea, he'll have the benefit of everyone's ideas.
I think all of those topics can fit under one forum, with no subforums at this time. Perhaps it should be titled "E-Bike Travel and Touring"?

There are already companies offering guided cycling tours in Europe with electric bike options. Most of them also can rent you a bike so you don't need to struggle with getting your bike to the trip.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#9
So I looked online and saw roll-on availability on the Capitol Limited. Great. Stopped by a bike shop that happened to have a 27.5 2” tire and wanted to get rid of it. $25 later I had my Amtrak-eligible tire on the front - the only wheel that matters. Off to a smaller city (or town) Amtrak station. Alas, the online information was erroneous, and there was No Room in the bike car. Oh noes, the bike box is smaller than the RM Charger. Lots of modification with strapping tape/duct to the bike box. Tipped the conductor and watched the box get gently situated in the car. Made sure to get off train at smaller station and then rode home after putting everything back together and twisting up the not-needed 2” tire.

My POV is that the key to Amtrak is to work with the smallest stations that are bike or baggage-capable. Chicago, DC —- big mess and nobody cares, but at the smaller stations people are friendlier and take pride in helping you get situated. And book way in advance. The Capitol Limited is tough bc everyone is coming from all over for GAP/CO. I imagine it’s the same for other bike-capable trains in areas popular with cyclists.
The smaller tire is a great suggestion and completely solves the problem I am worried about at very low cost. Now if only the route I planned on taking had any available space for bikes in their baggage car... Which appears to be sold out for the next few months :(.
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#12
Thread title says it all.

Should there be a section reserved for discussions about e-bike touring? Plausible discussions in such a section could include (but not be limited to):
  • How to tour with an e-bike
  • How to get your e-bike on a train or bus
  • Gear lists for e-bike tours
  • Plausible and implausible e-bike tours
I think it is a great idea to have touring ebike section. I follow some touring and gravel bike you tubes but none address the obstacles ebike riders address. The big issue is, from my experience, we have to plan a loop or round trip. Last month we rode from Santa Cruz to Monterrey and would liked to continue to Big Sur. But we knew the return trip was more than we could handle. We then went to see the super bloom in the Central Valley but were limited to day trips for our tires were too big for Amtrak (Nevo with 2.4” tires).
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#13
I think it is a great idea to have touring ebike section. I follow some touring and gravel bike you tubes but none address the obstacles ebike riders address. The big issue is, from my experience, we have to plan a loop or round trip. Last month we rode from Santa Cruz to Monterrey and would liked to continue to Big Sur. But we knew the return trip was more than we could handle. We then went to see the super bloom in the Central Valley but were limited to day trips for our tires were too big for Amtrak (Nevo with 2.4” tires).
I used a rental minivan last year for each end of my trip from Olympia, WA to Crescent City, CA. Actually since I got a better deal I took a bus from Crescent City to Medford, OR and rented a minivan there. A pickup truck would work fine too. You should be able to fit two e-bikes with their front wheels removed in a minivan.

My current proposed Spring 2019 tour will likely involve either an Amtrak ride or a rental car. It kind of works out nice since I will drive the rental car to the start of the trip and basically bike home (600+ miles). So that will be convenient because on the drive out I can scout out a few situations that might be dicey (mainly the long stretch of Hwy 2 from Libby, MT to Bonners Ferry, ID which doesn't appear to have good shoulder in a lot of places).

Note that the map representation doesn't include several likely side trips, including this one:

 
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Dionigi

Well-Known Member
#14
I used a rental minivan last year for each end of my trip from Olympia, WA to Crescent City, CA. Actually since I got a better deal I took a bus from Crescent City to Medford, OR and rented a minivan there. A pickup truck would work fine too. You should be able to fit two e-bikes with their front wheels removed in a minivan.

My current proposed Spring 2019 tour will likely involve either an Amtrak ride or a rental car. It kind of works out nice since I will drive the rental car to the start of the trip and basically bike home (600+ miles). So that will be convenient because on the drive out I can scout out a few situations that might be dicey (mainly the long stretch of Hwy 2 from Libby, MT to Bonners Ferry, ID which doesn't appear to have good shoulder in a lot of places).
On our trip through the central coast we did rent a minivan but only to have day trips from each location we stayed for the night. It was an real chore loading and unloading the bikes daily. Next time we’ll try your method and rent for the return leg.
 
#16
I like the idea of a "E-bike touring and travel section".
I specifically purchased an E-Bike Felt Sporte 95 S and built it up to support my touring adventures.
In the recent past, I have used Amtrak (Southwest Chief & Missouri River River w/ bike box & roll-on options) for taking my non E-bike on tours. The Felt E-Bike will soon be used for some touring with similar routes/adventures. I have done short overnight tours with the E-bike preparing and learning differences ... basically preparation for more extended touring with the E-Bike ....
Always looking for advice and recommendations that an E-Bike touring and Travel section might provide.
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https://www.highway550.com/p/felt-sporte-95-s.html
 

ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
#17
Hi all! Court likes the idea of having travel forums. I suggested one for "touring and travel" (I suggested putting it under "General Discussion") and another area for promotions from touring companies, travel agents, etc.

Stay tuned, and thanks so much for the great ideas!!
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#18
...
My current proposed Spring 2019 tour will likely involve either an Amtrak ride or a rental car. It kind of works out nice since I will drive the rental car to the start of the trip and basically bike home (600+ miles). So that will be convenient because on the drive out I can scout out a few situations that might be dicey (mainly the long stretch of Hwy 2 from Libby, MT to Bonners Ferry, ID which doesn't appear to have good shoulder in a lot of places).
Just an update...

The Going-to-the-sun road is cleared to the Big Bend. which is about three miles short of the Logan Pass summit and at about 5760 feet of elevation. So I'm thinking of launching in a little less than two weeks. I'll probably put new tires and a new chain on the Charger before I go. If I don't go around the ninth of May I'll probably go after Memorial Day and go through Polebridge, MT (and likely skip the Going-to-the-sun road). Although the gravel route through the Purcells is high and likely to be very full of snow.

Figured a better alternate than the dispiriting, shoulderless, and heavy-traffic section of US 2 and US 95 between Libby, MT to south of Bonners Ferry, ID is to take a part of the ACA northern tier route and follow the Bear River (MT highway 56) and Clark Fork River (MT and ID highway 200).

Should be a fun if rather challenging trip...
 
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