Do you dream of jumping on your trusty steed and heading off into the wilds for a summer of exploration?
Whether you have a few hours or a few days to spare, you can satisfy your thirst for adventure with a bikepacking tour – made easier on an e-bike!
Electric bikes allow you to go further – more easily and more often – meaning you can truly make the most of whatever time you have to spare. We’ve put together a concise guide to e-bikepacking to give you some tips, ideas and inspiration for your next outdoor adventure.
It doesn’t matter how long you have
It’s easy to feel that because you don’t have endless spare days to head out into the wilderness, that e-bikepacking is off the cards for you. But we’d like to introduce you to microadventures!
Microadventures are all about the 5-9, rather than the 9-5 – making the most of those precious free hours when you’re not working or doing those day-to-day chores.
As the brilliant adventurer and bike tour author Alastair Humphreys explains, ‘a microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding. As the world’s population becomes increasingly urbanised, busy, and stuck in front of a screen, microadventures offer a realistic escape to wilderness, simplicity and the great outdoors, without the need to ski to the South Pole or go live in a cabin in Patagonia.’
An e-bikepacking microadventure could be as simple as a few hours away for a picnic by a lake, or a short overnight stay under the stars before heading back to your desk in time for that 9am conference call.
Don’t get us wrong, if you have more time and would like to plan a long loop such as King Alfred’s Way (check out this great video of EDEMO’s Rufus and his dog Alba on their Load60 completing this historic loop last year) then that’s ideal too, but any adventure is what you make it, and you’ll be amazed how much you can cram into just a few hours.
It’s all in the planning
Before you head out into the wilds with the wind at your back, you’ll need to have a good think about how you’ll carry your kit. Some bikes – such as the Riese & Müller Load60 e-Cargo bike – are already perfect for carrying cargo, but others need a few little additions to get them e-bikepacking ready.
Most bikes from Riese & Müller come with a pannier rack fitted. All you need to do is choose the bag you want to fit. We recommend and sell the incredible Vaude 48ltr Aquaback as a pair, available in lots of different colours. It is super waterproof and can hold enough kit for a couple days of bikepacking – or a laptop backpack for the days when you just can’t escape visiting the office.
Bikes like the Charger3, Superdelite, Supercharger2, Homage and Nevo3 also have the option for a front rack which carries around 3kg – great for a lightweight tent, sleeping bag and roll mat. It also looks really good and thanks to it’s great design, is mounted to the frame rather than the handlebars, making the bike easier to control when fully loaded.
Once you know how you’ll carry your kit, it’s time to consider any accessories you might need – after all, you want to be as self-sufficient as possible, especially if you’re heading out for a longer trip into the wilderness.
EDEMO’s Dan has personally created two packages of items that he considers the most popular (and most important) to take with you, to ensure worry-free riding. They contain some great kit which he always has with him.
The ‘Gold package’ contains the items Dan wouldn’t leave the house without, these are:
- Abus Urban i3.0 helmet with LED rear light. Available in Small (51-55cm), Medium (52-58cm) or Large (56-61cm). Available colours: Velvet black, Polar white or Core purple
- Topeak deluxe cycling accessory kit, includes multi-tool, tyre levers, mini-pump and a saddle bag
- Topeak fly-paper: Glueless puncture repair patches
- Spare Schwalbe inner tube
The Platinum package steps things up and gives you the confidence that nothing is going to stop you, ensuring every ride is completed with maximum confidence and comfort. It includes everything from the Gold pack, plus the kit below:
- Vaude Aqua Back 48ltr waterproof pannier bags – come as a pair and available in Red, Black, Blue, Green or Yellow
- Slime puncture protection to front and rear inner tubes
- Sealskinz waterproof all-weather insulated gloves
- Buff, made from lightweight merino wool
Let us know if you’d like to purchase these packages from us, and we can get them sorted for you.
How big is your loop?
Next up, you’ll want to plan your route.
Sustrans, CyclingUK and Komoot are all great websites, providing route ideas of different lengths, or plan your own route with a map or smartphone.
Komoot also allows you to plan your own route, and link it to the Nyon display of your e-bike so you can follow it as you go.
Longer, well-known bike touring loops such as King Alfred’s Way can take several days – these types of routes are often more busy, but are well worth the trip, taking in plenty of historical places of interest on the way.
Depending on your fitness and how many hours you want to be in the saddle (compared to hours spent relaxing or sightseeing), you may want to plan to cycle around 20-25 miles a day. About 30 miles heavy off-road riding would be considered a big day and would zap a 500Wh battery. 50-60 miles on-road riding would be possible as an alternative.
If you’re planning a loop with an overnight stay (that won’t immediately end back at your home), consider where you can recharge the battery for your e-bike – most campsites will be very accomodating. Riese & Müller make bikes capable of well over 100 miles on road, but we say: don’t focus on the distance covered, think more about the experience. Some of the best rides the team at EDEMO have ever done have been the shortest – with plenty of time spent with friends building camp and drinking beers!
For certain routes, you’ll also need to consider the type of bike and tyres you have, and their suitability for the terrain – especially if there are off-road sections. If in doubt, drop us a note with the type of e-bike you have and we can advise the best type of routes for you.
Where you’ll rest your head
Wild camping or campsite? (Or a country house hotel – we won’t tell!)
If your e-bikepacking trip involves one or more overnight stays, have a look at your route and decide where you’d prefer to spend the night.
During busy times, such as school holidays, booking ahead will ensure you don’t get caught out. If you decide to camp, you’ll need to consider the weight of your tent, sleeping bag and potentially a mini stove, which all adds weight to your bike. There are some great lightweight options though – head to your nearest camping shop or Alpkit online to check out different solutions.
And if you’re going right out into the wild, you may wish to consider a small shovel and organic, biodegradable toilet roll… we’ll leave this one here.
Food glorious food
Depending on your budget and inclination, you may decide that your e-bikepacking trip is all about cooking sausages over a camping stove… or more about sitting down with a glass of something cold on a soft seat in a country pub.
Many camping shops sell dehydrated or freeze-dried meals that just need boiling water adding – these are great weight-savings options, and *some* don’t even taste half bad!
No matter where you plan to eat your main meals, it’s always worth coming prepared with some snacks. Cereal bars, nuts and dried fruit work well for a healthy, instant energy boost – but we also fully endorse chocolate and biscuits in all forms!
Along with food comes hydration. Nearly all Riese & Müller e-bikes come with two Fabric brand water bottle holders mounted to the frame, and if they don’t, we can provide them. You can fill the bottles up from shops or water stops along your route. Campsites often have fresh water fountains for you to fill up for free (if you ask them nicely!)
Let’s get out there!
If you have any additional e-bikepacking tips, we’d love to hear. Tag us into your next e-bike adventure – no matter how long or short!
We are a Riese & Müller Experience Store, meaning we have the entire R&M range in stock for you to test ride – and we’re more than happy to advise which model might work best for your next excursion. Happy peddling!
Just at the start of your e-bike journey? Why not download our Riese & Müller UK E-bike Buyer’s Guide covering everything you need to know about electric bikes.