Electric Bikepacking

Court

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Hi guys, my friend Jeremy delivers a local newspaper paper in Fort Collins Colorado by bike. He has made some friends who also work on the paper that enjoy cycling, and some of them enjoy riding to the foothills and camping, this is called bikepacking! The thing is, Jeremy has a hip issue and Crohn's disease. His intestines are regularly inflamed, he's had several surgeries, and this limits the level of physical activity that he can endure. Many of their bike camping trips last an entire weekend, and each rider has to haul their own tent, sleeping bag, rain gear, food, and water. So, Jeremy hasn't been able to go bikepacking with a traditional bike.

One day, Jeremy mentioned that his friends planning another camping trip and he was curious if I had an extra electric bike that he could borrow! Nope, I did not... but I reached out to my friend Tom Wilson at Small Planet EV in Longmont Colorado, asking whether he could loan us a bike or sell a unit cheap. I asked if he had any mountain bikes with smaller frames since Jeremy is 5'6" and 155 lbs. We were in luck! Tom had a 2016 Felt LEBOWSKe that he would sell at cost to help us out. I bought and donated the bike to Jeremy because his entire life is spent on a bicycle and this would also help him to deliver newspapers more easily! So, Jeremy and five friends spent a weekend riding 92 miles into Northern Colorado. They actually cycled the entire way from Fort Collins.


I created a video about all of this and posted it above, I was hoping to also list out accessories and other bikepacking tips and welcome you to chime in with your thoughts, tips, and general e-bikepacking feedback :)

Someone asked about the distance that we traveled and elevation gained. Brian forwarded me a screenshot of their ride and it shows shows 3,547 feet total gained just for the first part of the ride 58 miles (93.3 kilometers) into the mountains. Their ride time was 6 hours 24 minutes on the first day, so the average speed was around 9.5 miles per hour (15.28 km/h). You can see an older version of Jeremy's Felt LEBOWSKe at https://electricbikereview.com/felt/lebowske/ I also want to highlight that the battery used was a 36 volt 11 amp hour pack (396 watt hours total) and it was convenient to swap Bosch Powerpacks because my Uncle already had one on his older Haibike (also a Powerpack 400) and you can see him talking about that bike here.

bikepacking-group-fort-collins-colorado.jpg bikepacking-trip-distance-elevation-map.jpg electric-bikepacking-interview-jeremy-and-jason.jpg basic-bikepacking-gear-jacket-sleeping-bag-tent.jpg felt-lebowske-fat-ebike-setup.jpg fat-ebike-touring-platform-tuneup.jpg support-for-bikepacking-trip-from-small-planet-ebikes.jpg loading-up-the-felt-electric-fat-tire-bike.jpg

Below are some of the pictures that Jeremy and friends took while the adventure was unfolding. They saw some wildlife, got a bit of rain, found an awesome spot to camp overnight (under some trees by the river). They met a friendly dog on the way and spent some time relaxing by the river.

beautiful-mountains-sky-colorado.jpg bikepacking-in-colorado-leaving-the-paved-road.jpg bosch-display-panel-trip-stats-blackburn-light.jpg eerie-canal-colorado-bikepacking.jpg felt-electric-bike-outfitted-for-bikepacking.jpg felt-fat-bike-loaded-for-camping.jpg friendly-dog-joins-the-group.jpg friendly-horse-on-ranch-in-colorado.jpg friends-by-the-river.jpg front-range-colorado-foothills-bike-riding.jpg group-riding-into-the-colorado-rockies.jpg jeremy-cooling-off-in-the-river.jpg jeremy-preparing-for-return-ride.jpg jeremy-with-electric-bike-crohns-disease-mountain-ride.jpg long-dirt-road-bikepacking-adventure.jpg parking-near-the-camp-site-brush-trees.jpg pitching-tents-for-overnight-bikepacking-trip.jpg planning-the-route-navigating-mountain-bike-camping.jpg rain-in-the-distance-rising-river-creek.jpg rain-on-the-bike-ride-country-road-80-colorado.jpg setting-up-hammock-at-end-of-long-ride.jpg walking-the-bikes-on-a-steep-section.jpg wild-geese-flying-over.jpg
 
Last edited:

Asher

Well-Known Member
#2
Video won't play for now. Did he turn off the battery at times? Bring multiple batteries?

Very kind of you to buy him a bike, sounds like he loves it!
 
Last edited:

Court

Administrator
Staff member
#3
Video won't play for now. Did he turn off the battery at times? Bring multiple batteries?

Very kind of you to buy him a bike, sounds like he loves it!
Hi Asher! It should work now, was still uploading before :) and yeah, he was able to use Eco and Tour for the entire first day (50+ miles) and the second pack was used for Day 2, he made it all the way home and still had an estimated 24 miles of support in Eco. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the video once it goes live and will try to answer any other questions (or get answers).
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
#4
Is this what you're talking about?

IMG_8618 (1).jpg


Anyway, I made about a half-dozen very experimental "bikepacking" trips last year. Usually with less than forty miles total distance so easily within range of one battery without recharge. While it is a massive challenge to live out of an e-bike the way you can out of a well-equipped touring bike I am becoming convinced that it is possible. Even very ambitious tours are possible with some planning and careful itinerary choices.

Bikepacking itself is kind of fuzzily defined and can range from "bike touring off of pavement" to "wilderness travel with a bicycle" to "pannierless touring". To some extent there is as much tribal signaling in the gear choices as there is actual technical benefits. One thing to keep in mind is that the challenge in bikepacking is not so much minimizing the weight of your gear, but the volume. A typical bikepacking bag setup with a seat twinkie, frame bag, and handlebar roll has very slightly more volume than one large Ortlieb pannier. So some pretty ruthless planning and gear choices are in order. It becomes even more challenging to pull off in colder weather when you are carrying bulkier clothing.

Speaking of colder weather. We all know how sensitive batteries are to temperature, and how dramatically range and performance drop off in cold weather. On a few of the colder trips the batteries ended up in the sleepingbag with me.