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On tour with Pat: 10 tips for your first e-bike adventure.

Cologne native Patrick “Pat” Schönichen has drawn a large community on YouTube. He throws light on e-bikes in his videos – with a focus on tour videos and test reports. We asked Pat for his top 10 tips for your first e-bike tours.

Pat’s Top 10 e-bike touring tips:

1. Just do it. My first tip is based on my attitude to life: think less and instead put your energy into doing things. You should do what you really want to do – even if you might be a little worried at the same time. You’ll learn everything else on your first tours and can then optimise things in future.

2. Plan your route: I am certain that every single one of us knows a nice place in their local area that would be worth visiting on an e-bike. I recommend an online outdoor platform, like Komoot, to plan your tours. Many Bosch displays, like Kiox or Nyon, can be synchronised with Komoot on your smartphone and are wonderful navigation aids. But should you not have such a device to hand, just spontaneously get on your bike without much of a plan and ride around your local area. This brings me back to my first tip – because adventures generally come from spontaneous ideas.

3. Themed routes and cycle paths: once you have completed your initial rides, you can now turn your attention to the cycle routes in your region. Simply Google your own home area and enter the keywords “cycle paths” / “cycle routes”.  That’s how people get ideas for new tours. Generally the well-known cycle paths in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are well developed and pass by interesting sights.

4. Vary the start and end of a tour by bus and train: for a change, I recommend looking at bus and train connections and combining them with e-bike tours. That way, even far-flung places become within reach. Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) charges only about 6 EUR per day for a bike ticket. That way you can entirely do without a car. You don’t need a bike carrier for your car, don’t need to look for a parking spot, and can relax or have something to eat on the train journey.

5. Choose the right clothing: you are generally filled with enthusiasm when you have bought a new e-bike and are keen to set off on it straight away. But it’s a pity if it’s raining or very cold on the day of your planned tour. Nonetheless, highly motivated, you look for the right kind of clothing and realise, with a shock, how expensive high-quality cycling clothing is. My tip is don’t buy anything at all at first but look to see what you already have in your wardrobe. Long johns, a thermal top and a second pair of socks can already make a big difference to get started. Then buy new gear gradually and only when you are sure that you really need it.

6. Food and drink: it is worth arranging some tasty snacks in advance for longer trips. A couple of granola bars, porridge, fruit or even a stew are a few good options. Less is generally more because it’s no fun cycling on a full stomach. So, start off with smaller snacks and, over time, invest in equipment, like a camping stove or cooking gear. Once again, I recommend gradually buying only what you really need.

7. Battery capacity and range: it is difficult to say in advance how far you can ride with one battery charge. A whole host of factors can have an impact: total weight, altitude, headwind, choice of assistance, tire pressure, riding mode, temperature, etc. It’s therefore best to start off with shorter routes to get a feel for the range of your e-bike. It is good to start with lighter assistance, so that you can select greater assistance later on your ride. But don’t worry, you can still cycle a few kilometres with a depleted battery with ease.

8. Overnight stays & battery charging: day tours are ideal when you are just getting started. However, if you are keen to have more exciting e-bike adventures, then sooner or later you will want to do a tour with an overnight stay. There’s no better feeling than setting off on a cycling tour in the knowledge that you won’t be home until the next day! Camp sites, guest houses or hotels are ideal, as e-bike batteries need to be charged overnight. Admittedly, the latter are more expensive, but they are easier to organise and so I would recommend them.

9. Emergencies and breakdowns: of course, things can always go wrong when you are cycling – that’s why good preparation pays off. You can deal with a flat tire with a puncture repair kit and the right tools. My tip: practise changing a tire at home, otherwise even the best tool will be useless. You might get caught in a storm when you are out riding. Take enough money with you to organise your return trip in an emergency. Inform someone close to you about your route and use your mobile phone to check in with them from time to time. Do not hesitate to speak to someone if you need help when you are out and about: most people are very willing to help and would be happy to do so in an emergency.

10. Higher, faster, further: my last tip builds on my first one. I would like to have happy and healthy memories of riding my e-bike. Therefore, set yourself realistic targets that suit you. Happiness does not lie in covering the most kilometres or visiting far-flung countries. You can also have lots of fun with your e-bike in your own area. Focus on your own personal goals and enjoy the moment.

About Pat

What Pat says about himself: “Hi, my name is Patrick Schönichen. I am 30 years old, live in Cologne, and am a passionate YouTuber. I hope to inspire as many people as possible about e-bikes. Everything started back in 2018. I published my first video series then in which I documented my switch from a car to an e-bike. I still don’t have a car today. In terms of content, I have now focussed on e-bike tour videos and genuine e-bike test reports. My aim is still to share my enthusiasm for e-bikes in a lively and practical way with as many people as possible.”

Pat eBike on YouTube
Pat eBike on Instagram


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