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E-bikes explained

Aimée Smith, 18 July, 2018
They may be a common sight on mainland Europe’s paths and byways, but e-bikes are still relatively little known elsewhere. Luckily, we know just the people who can tell us more – our experienced Inntravel team!
 

Q: CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF E-BIKE AVAILABLE?
Pete: The most common type of e-bike is the pedelec or pedal-assisted style – this means that the electric motor provides assistance when you are pedalling, up to a maximum speed which is usually 15mph. Above that speed you’re on your own! The motor doesn’t provide assistance if you stop pedalling, it just makes pedalling easier. In this system, the motor is usually in the centre of the bike frame (the ‘bottom bracket’) but is sometimes located in the hub of the rear wheel.
Less common are throttle e-bikes, where there is a motorbike-type throttle on the handlebars which you can choose to use for assistance as and when you wish; however, in many countries there are rules about e-bikes that prohibit this type of motor assistance, as it could be used when the rider isn’t pedalling.

Q: WHICH CAN OUR CUSTOMERS EXPECT TO RECEIVE? ARE THEY TRICKY TO USE?
Laura: While all our e-bikes are pedal-assisted, every cycle supplier has their own style: essentially, they all have a heavier frame and much larger tyres than a normal bicycle due to the weight of the battery and motor. Most will also have a small trip computer that looks very similar to a typical bike odometer; this gives you the facility to change the level of input you receive – such as economic, low or high (on some e-bikes, there is the option to have the assistance turned off completely). Once you get the hang of the added assistance when you first get going, e-bikes are very easy to use.

Q: TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE BATTERIES. WHERE CAN THEY BE RECHARGED AND HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
Gail: The batteries are locked to the side of the bikes but can be easily removed at the end of each day and recharged in your hotel room. I recharged mine every night and this meant the battery lasted for the whole of the following day. Generally speaking, one charge will cover about 75km, which is more than sufficient for a day of Inntravel cycling!

Q: WHO MIGHT AN E-BIKE APPEAL TO?
Elizabeth: An e-bike is ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy the countryside on two wheels without the hard work (it is a holiday after all!). This could be someone who hasn’t done a cycling holiday before and isn’t sure what kinds of distances and ascents they would be comfortable with, or perhaps someone whose partner is a keen cyclist when they’re not – having an e-bike means that they can enjoy the holiday together. It could also be someone who used to do a lot of cycling and wants to take things a little easier now. As you need to pedal on our e-bikes, you do still feel that you have earned your dinner by the end of each day – they just take the struggle out of tackling the hills as you have that extra push.

Q: HAD YOU EVER USED ONE BEFORE? WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
Lauren: I’d never used one and I suppose I didn’t really know what to expect – other than to hope it would be easier as I’d done virtually no prep! That was the best thing, though – you don’t need to be a fit, experienced cyclist. Elizabeth and I used e-bikes on our Catalan Coast and Villages cycling holiday, we travelled so much further and saw so much more. The e-bike meant that on the flat, winding country roads we cycled ‘as normal’ with no power, and then when a hill was in sight we could just turn the power up and sail up it without having to break into a sweat! It was amazing!

Q: CAN YOU SUGGEST ONE OF OUR HOLIDAYS WHERE AN E-BIKE MIGHT COME IN PARTICULARLY HANDY?
James: Well, e-bikes are a great option on any of our holidays, but if I had to pick one I would say Catalonia’s Cava Country would be an excellent choice. The freedom of an e-bike means you can linger longer at the many Cava houses you pass on the routes, knowing that afterwards you can speed on to your next destination for a refreshing dip in the hotel pool!

Q: AND, FINALLY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING HIRING AN E-BIKE?
Lisa: Hire it! I want to electrify my own treasured bike with a basket to ensure I have such a joyful cycling experience every time I ride around my beautiful city of York. The gentle push along helps you enjoy the day ahead and, when you see a hill coming, there is no need to brace yourself for a difficult climb; you just have to muster up enough energy to shout, “well hello there hill, I’m coming for you!”.
 

Catalonia's Cava Country

As James explains, the rolling hills of Catalonia's Cava Country lend themselves perfectly to exploration by e-bike. With less time needed to cycle from hotel to hotel, you are free to linger as long as you wish in the region's famous Cava houses!
More about our e-bike holidays in Spain >
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