Electric Experience: E-Biking
E-bikes really have moved into the fast lane. They help increase the accessibility of cycling and bring people closer to nature. In and around Seefeld there is a great future for it. An article about the electrifying experience that is e-biking – with the apt slogan “we like e-bike”!
More than just a means of transport
The bicycle is not just any old means of transport nor is it just a piece of sports equipment. Everyone who has swung themselves onto the saddle and stepped onto the pedals has experienced this. Cycling in the great outdoors affects body and mind equally and the Tyrolean mountain countryside offers great conditions for it: impressive surroundings, roads with traffic restrictions and trails of varying degrees of difficulty and steepness.
Escape the hectic pace of everyday life
The connection between dreaming about it and doing it can rarely be experienced more directly. Only the bicycle has fulfilled mankind’s ancient dream: to travel faster than previously possible under your own power. The switch from the office chair to the saddle is also so worthwhile and fulfilling because it is a return to movement, a natural state of mankind. The beautiful quote “You have only really been where you were on foot” can with every justification be extended to the wheel. Cycling means not only being at one with yourself but is also an escape from the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life, reducing things to the essentials.
Set new limits with an e-bike
While the development of the bicycle has been rather evolutionary up until new, the introduction of the e-bike has been a small revolution. The e-bike is a machine that allows us effortlessly to exceed the limits of what has until now been feasible for the average person. Nevertheless, the e-bike does not break with – and does not contradict – the ethos that has always been part of the overall cycling experience and which has made it so popular. Instead the e-bike is the democratisation of the sport of cycling. It enables groups, families or partners with different physical conditions to choose more demanding tours together. There are plenty of them in the Olympiaregion Seefeld, which is set to become the number one e-bike region in Tyrol in the coming years.
Explore more places with the e-bike
The e-bike is also a great incentive, an invitation for the occasional cyclist to dare to go where so far only the most stubborn mountain bikers have been seen.
Perhaps the biggest revolution in the sport of cycling
But as with any new development, there are still sceptics. Opposition to e-bikes, something which was particularly strong from more athletic cyclists, can now be seen as an odd attitude. Very soon, no one will frown when they see an e-biker. “I consider the e-mountain bike to be the greatest opportunity and revolution that mountain biking has ever had. It will completely renew itself from its base and grow strongly. Stop being a niche, gain social relevance and thus bring about positive changes,” says Christoph Malin, a core member of the Tyrolean mountain bike scene, with conviction. The increasing use of e-bikes also means a decline in the use of private cars in leisure time. An ecological collateral benefit that is welcome.
E-bike: here to stay
E-bikes are also very attractive for professional cyclists because training can be controlled extremely efficiently. Depending on your mood and training plan, you can either push your boundaries or head off on a completely relaxed tour. An additional advantage is that it is simply more pleasurable to climb an ascent with an e-bike where previously a degree of suffering was involved, ideal for recreational athletes who still want to go to a hut or conquer a mountain after work. Nobody seriously doubts that the e-bike has come to stay!
The Austrian top athletes used the e-bike for their summer training and the preparation for the upcoming World Championship in Seefeld 2019. Ski jumper Stefan Kraft and Michael Hayböck as well as the Austrian nordic combined athletes Mario Seidl, Dominik Terzer and Christian Deuschl rode to the Rotmoosalm and said: #Welikeebike!
“Up and away”
The e-bike is still a very recent development and advances are being made at a great rate. This is particularly evident in the performance increase of batteries and electric motors year after year. The motors are also optimally adapted to the bike frame and its geometry, powerful and at the same time minutely adjustable. This makes the e-bikes good-natured and easily controlled. An athletic biker can achieve a respectable 1200 to 1500 metres in altitude per hour with one battery charge. “In terms of handling, the new models with the so-called plus tyres, low centre of gravity, balanced suspensions and powerful engines are real fun machines that take the fright out of rough climbs uphill. They also make trail adventures possible and are, all in all, simply a lot of fun,” enthuses Malin. This means that the fun factor when riding uphill and downhill is almost the same, which makes the overall mountain biking experience even more balanced.
Innovation on the increase
The impressive sales figures of the well-known manufacturers show that the electrified bike is no longer a hype, but rather a megatrend. By 2024, e-bikes are expected to have a global market share of around 40 percent, more than any other bicycle category. The interest in the long-running topic of electromobility has played a major role in the fact that e-bikes are now the ultimate benchmark. Interestingly, the bicycle industry in the electric mobility sector is one of the driving forces behind innovation, making new and more environmentally friendly technologies accessible to a wider public even faster. The increasingly powerful batteries are now partially integrated into the frame and are no longer, as only a few years ago, an ugly foreign body.
Strong motors, trendy design
In terms of design the e-bike is in no way inferior to the conventional mountain bike. In fact, it looks even more futuristic due to the additional components. The engine, which sits near the bottom bracket, is a basic component of every e-bike. Riding dynamics and performance depend significantly on it. Every bike has its own characteristics with advantages and disadvantages. How lively the bike is uphill and how agile it is on descents depends not only on the drive unit, but also on the frame geometry, the ratio and dimension and the profile of the tyres. So check what is attached to your electric horse. Of course, the driver himself also plays an important role. The power performance depends on the way the pedals are used. It is impossible to generalise when it comes to the distance that a single battery charge will cover as it depends on several factors. It varies according to gradient and the level of power chosen. Ideally, the e-bike becomes an extension of one’s own body after just a few kilometres.
In the flow
Anyone who has ever experienced how the boundaries between rider, bike and terrain gradually begin to blur knows what this means. These are the ingredients flow is made of. When cycling, you grow beyond yourself and everything comes together. That’s why it’s important when renting or buying an e-bike to choose one which fits the requirements exactly and is optimally adapted to the rider. When it does, riding pleasure is pre-programmed.
Onto the bike, start pedalling and enjoy yourself
The Olympiaregion Seefeld is aiming to become a top-class e-bike destination. There are plans for an ever-expanding trail concept which will suit the demands of all levels of biker and open up the as yet unfamiliar beauty spots that exist on the plateau and its side valleys. There is also a modern practice trail for e-bikers with differing levels of difficulty that will test both beginners and experienced cyclists. The previous signposting has been replaced with standards-compliant e-bike panels and all routes are equipped with the new Tyrolean SOS reporting system. The wide-ranging partnership with the German manufacturer CUBE should help to push the region even further forward in electrified cycling. At any rate everything is ready in the Olympiaregion for electrifying sporting and outdoors experiences on an e-bike.
Just hop on, start pedalling, and enjoy.
This story is an article of the magazine zeit.los. You can also find the full magazines with many more stories online!
Fotos: Thomas Steinlechner; Jump and Reach; Cube Bikes: Ronny Kiaulehn