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electric bike

michael

Member
I was out bending the peddles the other evening when another cyclist appeared from a converging path alongside. I was state of the art air sprung light weight aluminium he was well oldish looking riding in a sit up and beg position with panniers in the back and peddling at a lower cadence. On the next hill I struggled and was left for dead despite 27 gears. I did however identify his bike and have discovered it was an electric assist bike which left me both puzzled and amused.

In order not to be abused by purists in should state that I have no intention of ever riding an electric bike - at his time but just in case a few questions:

Anyone done Santiago on an electric assisted bike?
Anyone know the longest recorded journey on one?
What sort of maintenance issues are there?
Do they need a service every ten miles?
I think I could sort the charging using solar but not looked at it in detail.
What about spares?
Are there any universal brands?

Its only a wild idea but you never know.

michael

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
 
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Telluridewalker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (1988)
Better yet, buy a FOLDING electric bicycle, which you can then stow on, say, an airplane, and you can fly into Santiago de Compostela, and not have to worry about the maintenance and operation issues you brought up. :lol:

An admitted purist,

John
 

michael

Member
falcon269 wrote

Re: electric bike
Sent at: Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:26 pm
From: falcon269
To: michael

When I can't walk anymore

falcon you have accidentaly sent this to my private email.

regards
michael
 

michael

Member
John

A later thought was would the office in Santiago accept travelling this way or would I need to appeal to Rome for dispensation? :wink:

The performance was quite impressive though I was just finishing a long gentle down hill when this thing just appeared and glided off into the distance. I think it was a trek t8? but left my mount vision for dead. :oops: This was off road up on the Ridge Way and it was a hard tail.
How pure are you road or off road?

regards
michael
 

Telluridewalker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (1988)
michael said:
How pure are you road or off road?

regards
michael

I would think the question of who gets the Compostela and who does not is a very tough one for the folks at the Pilgim's Office- I am glad I am not in their shoes, balancing peoples' abilities versus peoples' efforts.

As far as purity, I walked the Camino without any electrical devices whatsoever. Part of this was that I walked in 1988 when (for example), in order to use a telephone, I had to look for the phone company building (called the Telephonica) in either Leon or Burgos- I do not believe there were any other public phones along the route then that would let me call home (US). So no cell phone charging worries then :lol: .

Philosophically, I personally believe the simpler the Camino, the better. I've been called "old school" elsewhere on this board, and I wear that designation with a certain amount of pride. I don't deign to tell others how to do their Camino (the First Camino Commandment?), but I do honestly think the overly wired/geared/gadgetted peregrinos are going to miss something.

As for me, I ride a cross country mountain bike here in the hills of Southwestern Colorado. My ride is a fully-suspended Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Pro.

-John
 
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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
michael said:
Anyone done Santiago on an electric assisted bike?
Anyone know the longest recorded journey on one?
What sort of maintenance issues are there?
Do they need a service every ten miles?
I think I could sort the charging using solar but not looked at it in detail.
What about spares?
Are there any universal brands?

I do not know if anyone has done a Camino on an electric bike. I suspect that as they are often used by people with some sort of disability and that as electrically assisted wheelchairs have been used they might have done.

The distance per charge is usually in the region of 20-40 miles depending in the amount of cycling you do and the terrain, up to Roncecvalles and O'Cebreiro less than 15 miles. People have taken their time and travelled very long tours on them.

Depending on type maintenance is much the same as a normal bike most have powered front wheels and the back wheel may have dérailleur or in hub gears. The latest Lithium Ion batteries last 500 charges or so.
Ordinary bikes can be converted.

They do not need a service every 10 miles though if you are cycling to work and do not want to arrive all sweaty and have 10 miles or so to go it is best to charge them at the end of the ride.
They have a maximum speed limited to 15 MPH in most countries with a 20 MPH "off road" boost on many. In the countryside 15 MPH is very slow but in any town especially London it is more than adequate.

You would not be able to charge it fully using transportable solar.

Spares are easy enough to obtain from specialist retailers.

Pedelec is in its infancy but there are a range of makers here are some links to start you off.
http://www.electricbikesales.co.uk/
http://www.pedelecs.co.uk/forum/electric-bicycles/

William
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
I was not there when one of our clientes stopped by with the bike, but we have a type of electric bike at the Camino Travel Center right now... waiting to be shipped to Holland.

The batteries are not too heavy, the bike is a bit heavier than a normal bike, but not by much... so I imagine that is is only supporting the pilgrims on up hill climbs maybe?

Other than this, I do not know much abut bikes... but it seems like it can be done!!

Saludos,
Ivar
 

Andres Cano

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April 9 - May 3 2018 on regular bicycle.
Better yet, buy a FOLDING electric bicycle, which you can then stow on, say, an airplane, and you can fly into Santiago de Compostela, and not have to worry about the maintenance and operation issues you brought up. :lol:

An admitted purist,

John
the batteries have to be shipped separately in a lableled box under special conditions as a DANGEROUS GOODS under IATA rules. Failure to do so is a felony in the US and many other countries because the batteries are fire hazards.
 

freeflyer123

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
I have done a lot of research into e-bikes recently because I had to resort to buying one if I was to carry on cycling

Doctor: you have to give up cycling.
Me: What? Why?
Doctor: Because your x-ray shows that it's not doing your knees any favours.
Me: I couldn't give up. I thought cycling was good for your knees.
Doctor: Yes, they normally are but in your case it's the distances you ride that gives you problems.
Me: Ah, but I'm now down to 30 miles or less because I can't ride any further without my knees bugging me.
Doctor: Exactly. Well, you could always consider an electric bike. I've heard they are less strenuous on the knees.

And so that's how it came about that I parted with the best part of £2,000. But it's probably one of my better decisions because now I can get out on the bike, get up those nasty hills (that I was having trouble with), and am even back to doing 50 or 60 miles. Please don't for one moment think that an e-bike means you don't have to do any work. To be honest, I can get a sweat on even cycling uphill with the motor on as much as I used to on my conventional bike. What the e-bike gives you over the normal one is the ease to climb the hills. I know you will often see people on these bikes and they don't seem to do much work at all. But to be honest, they're not going to get very far that way. I am always exhausted by the time I get home, but no longer have painful knees. Which is the primary object to my way of thinking.

Paying so much meant that my battery will easily last 140 km (not that I've tested this theory, so far). You simply turn off the motor on the flats and carry on as though it's a normal bike. Hills, and even inclines, are now a pleasure rather than a nightmare.

I rode the Camino de Santiago back in 2013 with my husband and, although it was very hard work, we both enjoyed it very much. And both felt justified in accepting our Compostelas when we reached Santiago. After all, we had ridden all the way from Bayonne to Santiago in 19 days

I do not know how having an e-bike would be reflected if you do the distance and hope for a Certificate once you reach Santiago. But it still takes a lot of effort so I'm sure this is taken into consideration. I see that someone riding the Camino on a horse needs to only cover 200 km in order to receive the certificate. So it seems fair that someone with a bit of assistance on the bike would be treated the same.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Wow! An interesting revival of a 2010 thread.

I think that the Cathedral authorities views on eBikes are published and clear but I’m sure @t2andreo can put us straight if I stray.

In order to obtain a Compostella Pilgrims on foot must walk at least 100kms to Santiago (easily done from Sarria) and with the other qualifications as a given. Pilgrims on Horseback or Bicycle must have journeyed for at least 200kms. Pilgrims who ride on a Bicycle with electric motor assistance, for at least 200kms, may qualify for a Compostella provided that they were required to pedal their eBike at least occasionally ie. their eBike requires rider impetus to create forward motion.

All the rest is but fluff and seems to skirt around the authorities view that a Pilgrim, seeking a Compostella, should have made their journey "with religious intent or in a sense of search".
 
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Morning Waters

Celtic Lass
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
My husband and I have purchased ebikes that fold up into a smaller package as we travel a lot in our vintage travel trailer. The ebikes fit easily into the back of our truck. The batteries are heavy, but remove from the frame of the bike so we are able to recharge them inside. Ebikes come in two versions, one are pedal assist which means you have to be moving the pedals for the motor to assist or pedal assist/free motor where you can use the motor to propel you and the bike without doing any pedaling. Both versions have several levels of "assist" so one can adjust as needed to extend the battery length. Our bikes, with average use can go 30 miles before needing to be charged. There are 7 gears to use with or without the battery. While I can walk a comfortable 10 miles a day my sweet husband cannot manage even a city block without severe pain. The bikes have been a good compromise to being able to get out and see nature with our different abilities.

IMG_2058 (1).JPG
 

Xali1970

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
I bought a hybrid touring/trekking pedelec ebike 3 years back.
The price tag depends a lot on the battery capacity, engine type and component quality. The engine on it is a pedal/crankshaft orbital rather than a hub drive, 10 gears. I'm quite happy with it.
I clocked 8800km on it, needed a break because of an injury, but lost 30kg in 6 months commuting to work.
Servicing is recommended every 2500km, but I'm thinking of putting it off to every 5000km.

Something to keep in mind: high weights and using high assistance wears out the chain fast. I get about 3000km for 1 good quality chain. When I started using highest assist only I barely got 1800km from one. Replacing the chain on time saves the gear cassette, and the expensive drive sprocket.

Range: depends. The battery is a 500Wh. On flat ground I get 120km, using lowest assist setting and cruising 27km/h. In mountains I get 45km thereabouts, being selective with the assist levels (I.e default is economy setting, and using the higher assists like additional gears).

I use it on a variety of terrains with touring tyres: road, gravel, grass and trails without issues.

This bike changed my life for the better!!!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
As of the last time I worked in the Pilgrim Office (August 2019), the policy on e-bikes was this:

If the bicycle has an electric ASSIST motor, that REQUIRES that you pedal to move forward, you have pedaled the Camino, albeit with assistance when needed. The 200 Km minimum limit applies, and you would be eligible for a Compostela.

If the bicycle has a battery-only capability, and can be ridden like an electric scooter or powered moped, without the requirement to pedal to continue to move forward, with the speed controlled by a throttle / speed control, you are riding an electric scooter and would NOT be eligible for a Compostela, regardless of the distance traveled. Conceptually, this is like riding a motorcycle powered by electricity.

Clearly, the COVID pandemic effectively stopped the Camino, until recently. It is quickly coming back. If the policy has changed since then, I am unaware of it.

As I am recovering from a very serious illness, that has laid me up since early February, I hope to plan my next Camino in 2022. If I can do this, it will likely be an e-assist bike Camino on a rented e-bike, from Sevilla to Santiago.

I could walk it, but my wife will not allow me six-weeks on Camino. Her tolerance for me going walkabout is about three weeks. No, she does not do Caminos with me.

This - cycling - will cover the more than 1,000 km in about 18 days. I would plan to follow the N-630 until intersecting with the Sanabres. From there, whatever the guide books say.

One logical point in doing a Camino with an electric assist bicycle or any other bicycle. Many bicycle rental firms have drop-off locations in Santiago. You bring the bicycle there and turn it in. The company arranges return of the bicycle to your starting point. Alternatively, the Correos adjacent to the Pilgrim Office will ship your bicycle anywhere in Europe.

If you turn in your rented bicycle BEFORE going to the Pilgrim Office to seek your Compostela, no one knows what kind of bicycle your rode to get there. Just sayin...

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Corned Beef

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
This - cycling - will cover the more than 1,000 km in about 18 days

That's a bit ambitious for an e-bike. The battery range may be less than you think especially if you go onto the Sanabres. Would check with the renter whether they can furnish a second back-up battery ... or plan to have shorter days (unexpectedly if the battery gives out)
 
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