The joys of crossing Italy coast 2 coast on an eBike – by Andreas Credé

Introduction

A quick of note of my experiences riding a Moustache Dimanche eBike, kindly provided by Fully Charged, on a spectacular 4 day trip, coast-to-coast across Italy. Overall, an amazing experience in terms of the quality of the ride, the scenery and the new experience of quite painless climbing of the many steep hills.

I was part of a group of 13 cyclists that started in early June on the Mediterranean coast in Cecina, south of Pisa and ended up on the Adriatic coast, in the seaside resort of Riccione, near Rimini. The ride was fully supported by the organisers, Cycle Friendly. We had the benefit of a couple of support vehicles and stayed in hotels along the way.

About the eBike – Moustache Dimanche

The Moustache was stripped down to essentials but was fitted with solid puncture resistant Schwalbe tires. I started each day with the 500Wh battery and then switched at midday to a second 400Wh battery that I had brought as back up. I used clip on pedals which proved invaluable on the steeper climbs and also on the descents.

The Route

We especially selected to avoid main roads as far as possible and to take advantage of some of the more spectacular views. Each day started around 9.00 am and finished by the late afternoon. We generally only stopped once mid-morning and mid-afternoon and a longer break for lunch. Total distance covered was 320 kms, averaging 80 kms each day.

Climbing the Hills

What was particularly impressive about the Moustache was its ability to climb at any gradient. Everyone else on the ride were on very light road bikes which were able to master the climbs but only with a lot of effort. The Moustache was able to outrun even the strongest rider when faced with anything above a 6% ascent. Some of the sections were 10% or more, where the Moustache could have managed up to 20 kph compared to the 8-10 kph the other riders were able to achieve on their super-light bikes. While the ‘Turbo’ and ‘Sport’ settings were great if you needed a quick burst of additional power, most of the time it was sufficient to stay in ‘Tour’ or ‘Eco’. Wherever possible, I switched off the Bosch electrics and relied on pedal power. This helped to conserve power but throughout the four days there was more than sufficient capacity left in the combined 2 x battery packs.

Once at the top of a section, the sturdy design of the Moustache and its solid puncture free tyres ensured a comfortable descent where I felt fully in control. Given its higher mass, the eBike quickly achieved significant momentum, so the disk brakes were key to controlling speeds that reached up to 55 kph. Going downhill at speed is all the more pleasurable when you know that you will not have to expend massive effort in climbing on the other side!

Complete Comfort

Finally, what was particularly reassuring about spending a whole day on the Moustache was that there was little in the way of saddle weariness. Avoiding strenuous effort to climb meant that my heart rate was kept under control by a comfortable margin. On an earlier similar cycle trip in Corsica in 2016 (on normal bike) I was getting up to my maximum which is around 160 bpm and averaging 120 bpm. In contrast, on this ride, the average was down to less than 100 with peaks of 120-130. Overall according to my Garmin, the ascents came to a total of circa 6,000 metres over the 4 days, with 40% on day 3. Maybe not the standard of a professional bike race but nevertheless the equivalent of climbing Ben Nevis more than 4 ½ times over the course of 4 days which for someone about to turn 65 can’t be all bad.

Thank-you Moustache! My highest compliments to you for coming up with such an excellently engineered eBike.

Special thanks to Ben, Dan, Max and everyone at Fully Charged for making the trip possible.

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