Earlier today I returned home from a 255 km, 2.5 day cycle ride through the Eifel Mountains, partly in Belgium, mostly in Germany.

This proved to be the most difficult, challenging trip I’ve ever done.

As well as a total elevation gain of 2460 metres, the route included 43 km (17%) of un-paved/off-road sections through the dense forests of the Eifel.

Some of the tracks were so steep or rough that they were simply unrideable, even with the assistance of the eBike’s motor.

This tour was originally planned as a two day ride, with a single overnight stop in Stadtkyll, Germany.

However I completely underestimated the severity of the hills and terrain on the second day, and the ability of the eBike battery to last the distance.

I charged the battery overnight, and previous experience suggested available assistance compatible with the planned distance home.

This soon proved to be wrong. A combination of the steep/rough terrain, the bike’s weight with luggage and lower temperatures soon depleted the battery at an alarming rate.

At around the half-way point of the 136 km route home, it became obvious that I would never get home on a single battery charge.

Even though the eBike rides quite well without power assistance, I was aware of the hills and terrain ahead of me and doubted my ability to get home without power.

The entire route this weekend was on designated cycle tracks/rural roads and overnight accommodation very difficult to find.

Looking online, I found a cheap B&B in the German village of Nideggen and immediately booked it.

This proved to be a good decision.

Getting there involved a 2 km deviation from my planned route, with a steep 15% ascent.

I needed full power to get up this particular hill and sure enough the battery died completely with about 250 metres to go.

Not having experienced this before, the motor just stopped, and so did I, just as if I had fully applied the disc brakes.

This left me with no choice but to walk and push the bike the rest of the day, itself not so easy.

I’ve never taken the eBike before on a multi-day tour. Mainly because I have to carry the extra weight of a battery charger and the fact that it takes around 3.5 hours to fully charge the battery.

For me, this is a major disadvantage of long distance touring on an eBike.

If I had taken my ordinary bike, I would have only myself to rely on for power and there’s no doubt I would have got home on the second day, albeit quite late in the evening.

Many lessons learned this weekend, useful when planning future rides.

Today’s featured image is the wonderful sunrise from my room window at Stadtkyll, taken at 07:00, with outside temperatures only around 2c.

The best parts of the weekend, no doubt, were the stunning scenery and the remote tranquility of the Eifel National Park.

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