Touring cross country with an ebike - Video

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I’m excited to share this little video we did with our friend Pita! She recently embarked on a cross country trip on her ebike.

She’s riding a Riese & Müller Nevo GX Rohloff HS unsupported. We plan to do a part two video next month when she gets to Brooklyn.

GOOD LUCK PITA!
 

Afren

Active Member
Interesting, and clearly a very determined lady. I'd love to do the same but the possibility of coming across wild animals on my travels scares the you know what out of me, so not for me.
 

AguassissiM

Well-Known Member
👍👏Bon voyage Pita.:cool:

@Chris Nolte

How many spare batteries did you guys have to put in the trailer? Are those solar panels used for charging a spare battery?
Sorry for being too curious (i have no idea where to even begin) but what sort of gear would you take with you on a journey like this.
I think it would be very educational for a green horn like myself if you could post it .
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
I need someone like Pita to kick my behind and tell me - Just do it!
PaD ....JUST DO IT! About the batteries ...hmm ....how many chargers does she need would be my question? If she has 2.5 hours per battery and she rides 12.5 hours a day ,so let us say 6 batteries, and of course she will need to charge them while she sleeps so if she sleeps 8 hours she will need to wake up every 4 hours and switch the batteries on the 3 chargers? This is why somebody needs to invent a fusion powered bike. Ravi get to work on it.
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
PaD ....JUST DO IT! About the batteries ...hmm ....how many chargers does she need would be my question? If she has 2.5 hours per battery and she rides 12.5 hours a day ,so let us say 6 batteries, and of course she will need to charge them while she sleeps so if she sleeps 8 hours she will need to wake up every 4 hours and switch the batteries on the 3 chargers? This is why somebody needs to invent a fusion powered bike. Ravi get to work on it.
Unless you are extremely hardcore 12+ hours a day on a bike, day in and day out for a month is going to be a major sufferfest. Even on an electric bike.

Long Beach, CA to Brooklyn, NY is a little over 3000 miles, which is reasonably doable in two months at 50 miles per day. Or you might kick up the mileage a bit and have a zero day every now and then. So if she carried two spare batteries and maybe an extra charger she'd certainly be fine. Anyway at 50-60 miles per day your only looking at (at most) 5-6 hours of saddle time per day. Which leaves plenty of time to stop and sniff the flowers, enjoy a beer, or evangelize about e-bikes.

My own $0.02 is that having more than three batteries total, without major charging infrastructure, is unlikely to be helpful for most long-distance e-bikers.
 

Johnny

Active Member
Pita is a great person and I had the privilege to meet her around the time she began her journey. I will be waiting your video of her arriving at Brooklyn and telling about it.

Also during our conversation, she mentioned Chris Nolte and even though I don't know him I got the impression that he is a genuinely good person.
 

Afren

Active Member
If like me you cannot do camping, two months on the road with an average hotel bill of say $100 and other daily expenses of say $50, the trip is going to cost $9,000+. Also, 3 months of no income and you soon realize, this ain't a cheap adventure.
 

Afren

Active Member
Sorry, I meant to say 3 months on the road. I wouldn't want to do more than 1,000 miles a month.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Unless you are extremely hardcore 12+ hours a day on a bike, day in and day out for a month is going to be a major sufferfest. Even on an electric bike.

Long Beach, CA to Brooklyn, NY is a little over 3000 miles, which is reasonably doable in two months at 50 miles per day. Or you might kick up the mileage a bit and have a zero day every now and then. So if she carried two spare batteries and maybe an extra charger she'd certainly be fine. Anyway at 50-60 miles per day your only looking at (at most) 5-6 hours of saddle time per day. Which leaves plenty of time to stop and sniff the flowers, enjoy a beer, or evangelize about e-bikes.

My own $0.02 is that having more than three batteries total, without major charging infrastructure, is unlikely to be helpful for most long-distance e-bikers.
If it were me I would want to do the whole trip in turbo since most of it will be along highways. I know its not the race across America but I would still feel the need for 4 + batteries to do 8+ hours in turbo. There is no way I could stop the ride after only 4 hours a day knowing how much farther I still had to go. It is just not in my nature. I would ride at least 8 hours a day and maybe take a whole day off at a time , when it was a planned rest day or a rained out day.
 
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Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
If like me you cannot do camping, two months on the road with an average hotel bill of say $100 and other daily expenses of say $50, the trip is going to cost $9,000+. Also, 3 months of no income and you soon realize, this ain't a cheap adventure.
I think with a little bit of planning, clever scheduling, and perhaps traveling with a partner you can stay in reasonable hotels and not average much more than $50 per night.

A lot of that savings is routing your trip to avoid staying in areas that are expensive, planning your trip to be during a shoulder season (before Memorial Day and after Labor Day), and aggressive bargain hunting. Last fall I rode solo from Olympia, WA to Crescent City, CA and my average hotel costs per night were about $60. And that was with spending much more than I needed to a couple of nights.

If even that is too much, there is a pretty good network of free places to stay on the ACA routes. And there is always https://www.warmshowers.org .

If it were me I would want to do the whole trip in turbo since most of it will be along highways. I know its not the race across America but I would still feel the need for 4 + batteries to do 8+ hours in turbo. There is no way I could stop the ride after only 4 hours a day knowing how much farther I still had to go. It is just not in my nature. I would ride at least 8 hours a day and maybe take a whole day off at a time , when it was a planned rest day or a rained out day.
If you make even a modest effort at planning chances are the majority of your trip would be off of highways. And even then in a lot of North America outside of urban areas the highways are mighty lonesome. In particular once you'd get east of the Mississippi you can probably route a substantial portion of your trip on rail trails.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I wish her the best. There is a lot of heat ahead of her this time of year. That pack on the trailer looked incredibly heavy. I can't imagine climbing the Rockies with that kind of total weight. It's sure going to be a challenge!!!! As mentioned, if considering going cross country, joining the Warmshowers group would be a wise decision. https://www.warmshowers.org
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
If you make even a modest effort at planning chances are the majority of your trip would be off of highways. And even then in a lot of North America outside of urban areas the highways are mighty lonesome. In particular once you'd get east of the Mississippi you can probably route a substantial portion of your trip on rail trails.
I think you are being very optimistic that a substantial portion of the trip east of the Mississippi could be on rail trails. The longest rail trail in Illinois is 65 miles. That's not even half way for the 210 mile width. Rail trails around me are not for making time on a cross country trip. They have stop signs every mile when crossing country roads. Those intersections are now blind because of the high corn, so you are risking death if you blow through the sign. They zig-zag around in small towns on the town streets, and have a fair amount of washouts. I love riding them, but something like Old Route 66 is a much better style for high mileage riding.
 

Afren

Active Member
Awesome, cannot wait to follow along on her ride

Chris please keep us up to date
Hope she has safe travels!
I think you are being very optimistic that a substantial portion of the trip east of the Mississippi could be on rail trails. The longest rail trail in Illinois is 65 miles. That's not even half way for the 210 mile width. Rail trails around me are not for making time on a cross country trip. They have stop signs every mile when crossing country roads. Those intersections are now blind because of the high corn, so you are risking death if you blow through the sign. They zig-zag around in small towns on the town streets, and have a fair amount of washouts. I love riding them, but something like Old Route 66 is a much better style for high mileage riding.
Did a bit of cycling on the main highways in FL last year and quickly learned of a danger that we here in Europe don't encounter. One of the dangers of cycling in the USA is the enormously massive side sometimes extended side mirrors on (pickup) trucks. This can be very dangerous even if you happen to be in a bike lane.
 
Not to mention the extremely wide mirrors on big RVs (recreational vehicles) I was hit on the shoulder by one years ago and the driver just kept going... The best we can do is to choose roads with wider shoulders, but that isn't always possible. Welcome to cycling in the USA, I wish we provided better infrastructure for ourselves and our guests.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Good luck to the rider but that seatpost mount trailer looks unstable to me as seen in the last part where she drops off a curb and rides away you can see it wobble and track slightly off camber.

Anyone that has ever pulled a trail a bike with a kid on it has probably experienced this. A dropout mount trailer that attaches to both sides is much more stable like the Burley model and will carry as much weight.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
I wish her the best. There is a lot of heat ahead of her this time of year. That pack on the trailer looked incredibly heavy, and to be honest, she doesn't have the look of a distance rider. I can't imagine climbing the Rockies with that kind of total weight. It's sure going to be a challenge!!!! As mentioned, if considering going cross country, joining the Warmshowers group would be a wise decision. https://www.warmshowers.org
My suspicion is that she is planning a pretty modest and laid-back itinerary, which is very wise.

The vast majority of bicycle tourists take too much stuff. Even a lot of the "bikepacking" subculture takes either too much or the wrong stuff. And bluntly modern lightweight outdoor clothing and modern lightweight camping gear is both incredibly light and compact and much more comfortable and durable and effective than *any* outdoor gear you could buy 30 years ago.

I'll make a similar observation about backpackers. I've noticed that in recent years even the hardcore distance hikers are carrying a bit heavier.

And a bicycle tourist has a big advantage over a climber in the Revelation Mountains or a hiker on the CDT -- unless they are just too proud you are rarely very far from a decent motel and a restaurant where you can get outside a hot meal.