There’s no question that in 2020, the world of bike tours will continue to radically evolve thanks to the availability of e-bikes on many trips around the world. That’s the word from leading tour operators as they continue to introduce e-bikes on an increasing number of itineraries. They’re proven so popular that some industry leaders are now organizing e-bike-only trips.
E-bikes have been widely used for more than a decade in Europe but are still something of a novelty here in the U.S. For the uninitiated, e-bikes are bikes that have been custom-built with an electric motor that assists the rider’s pedaling efforts and a heavier frame to compensate for the battery and motor. That does add to the weight of the bike. Pedaling, shifting gears and balance is the same as with any other bike. But on these bikes, pedaling signals the e-bike’s motor to start. The best e-bikes measure your exertion level and add power accordingly by driving the rear wheel. The motor usually cuts out around 15-20 miles per hour. Typically, you can choose from multiple levels of assistance.
For the purists who decry any sort of motorized help, the good news is that they can continue riding a conventional road or touring bike, because e-bikes weren’t aimed at them. E-bikes are for other people. Like the couple of mixed biking ability – she rides a lot, he does not — to ride together. They open up hillier destinations to riders who perhaps couldn’t handle such inclines without assistance. They allow occasional riders to join multi-day bike trips and help older riders stay in the game. They’re a boon for multi-generational riders, such as a family with abilities all over the place. These machines are also clean, efficient, and quiet.
Here’s are five new e-bike-only tours in 2020:
The demand for e-bikes on many of their trips has led this Vancouver-based company to offer an e-bike only trip, their first dedicated e-bike departure. Croatia to Montenegro is an 8-day trip by e-bike only, starting at $3,099 per person, based on double occupancy. Covering the western Balkans, the ride dips into Bosnia as well, with distances of up to 42 miles per day and is rated moderate. A highlight of the trip is that you ride through three countries, while staying in two.
Butterfield & Robinson
One of the first companies to offer e-bikes on their regular tours, the luxury bike tour company B&R is unveiling their first e-bike-only trip in 2020. The Alsace E-Biking trip starts in Strasbourg and goes to Dachstein, follows the famous Route des Vins and goes to Colmar, with a final dinner at Frères Haeberlin, a two Michelin-star restaurant. The level is “Recreational,” with 25 to 31 miles of daily riding. The 6-day trip is priced at $5,995 per person.
DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co.
This deluxe biking outfitter is offering an e-bike only trip on the July 26, 2020 departure of their signature Provence Bike Tour. It’s six days of wine, olives and lavender fields, rated 3 out of 4 for difficulty, a deep dive into the hilltowns of the Luberon, starting at $5,195 per person.
Edelweiss E-Bike Tours
This Austrian company that’s about to celebrate its 40th anniversary only offers e-bike trips. They started back in 1980 with motorcycle tours, but expanded to e-bikes in 2015. Now, they have a roster of e-bike-only trips to many destinations in Europe, as well as to Asia, South Africa and the Pacific region. Their Telemark tour is a 9-day tour through Norway, a mixture of glaciers, goat farms, and stave churches, with distances of 20 to 45 miles per day. Priced from $3,560 per person.
Mountain e-bikes are a logical extension of the street e-bike craze, and H+I Adventures, which offers some pretty challenging rides around the world, has a series of E-MTB tours. Such as their E-MTB Tour in Switzerland, where you ride through the Graubünden region from north to south. This 8-day tour for $3,988 may be rated “intermediate” and have e-bike assistance but you’d better be good on single-track climbs and descents, switchbacks, rocks and roots and real backcountry adventure, which includes taking the IMBA Epic Trail.