Darlene, John & the Superdelite
01.06.2023 | Travel & Adventure
People all around the world are making our bikes an essential part of their life. In this series, we let them tell their story.
Hi, we're Darlene and John, and we're here to tell you that bike touring is for everyone.
We do enjoy following the adventures of young bikepackers and others touring on bikes. But at one point we decided we were not going to let them have all the fun. So we set off on our own bike touring adventure in Europe. In the Spring and Fall of 2022, we cycled 2,400 km in 8 weeks on each trip, in Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Italy. Whatever your age or level of experience – you probably can, too. The great equalizer is E-Bikes.
Yes, E-Bikes are heavier. Our Superdelites weigh 32 kg, panniers add another 20 kg. We met a couple of typical bikepackers along the way. Their bikes are significantly lighter than ours and they’re carrying half the gear. Why? Because they have to. On our E-Bikes we don’t. On flat sections they passed us. On the big climbs we passed them. At the end of the day we arrived at the same location at roughly the same time.
Cycling purists often say riding an E-Bike is cheating. We say it’s only cheating if you are competing. We are not competiting against others or ourselves. E-Bikes make climbing even the steepest passes not just easier, but possible. We even climbed the Vrsic Pass, the highest and most challenging of all the passes in Slovenia with relative ease.
One of the main reasons why we chose our Riese & Muller Superdelites for this adventure was that they come with two batteries. Our longest single day trip was 140 km and 1,800 meters of climbing from Garmisch, Germany, across Austria over the Brenner Pass to Vipiteno Italy. At the end of the day, we were as dead as our dual batteries, but happy to have been able to do it.
Taking the Bikes onto the train? No problem.
We don’t camp like many bikepackers. We stay in an Italian pensione or German Gasthaus. At the end of an 80 km day with 1,000 meters of climbing, you can’t beat a warm shower in a nice room. After a good night’s sleep, our days begin with emails from friends and family back home in Canada, then breakfast at the guesthouse. Some are better than others, yet nearly all are better than instant oatmeal on a camp stove. In Italy breakfast might be just a croissant. In Austria and Germany however, you can’t beat the enormous buffets they spread out each morning.
Touring about Europe on any bike is by far the best way to do it. Hiking is too slow; driving is too fast. In addition, many historic city centers do not allow cars to enter at all; but they have no problem with bikes entering. On our Superdelites we just ride into town and stop in front of whatever attracts our attention.
Similar to bikepackers we carry our lunch to eat along the way. A fresh baguette, some cheese, a bit of meat and fruit are easy and inexpensive to come by. They make for a delightful lunch at scenic locations away from the crowds. We even carry compact folding camping chairs and a small table.
If we need to jump past a region that is less scenic, we simply jump on a train. Europe is very accommodating to those traveling on trains with bikes, even E-Bikes.
We are all out there cycle touring in our own way and to the best of our abilities. If an E-Bike helps you to explore the world – then by all means do so.