Digital agency owner, petrolhead, keen cyclist
“The ride was huge fun. The great thing about the Gocycle is that it’s such a conversation-starter.”
RIDING 100 MILES ON A GOCYCLE. CAN IT BE DONE ON ONE CHARGE? AGENCY OWNER CHRIS BULLICK SET OUT TO FIND OUT WHEN HE RODE THE RIDELONDON-ESSEX 100 FOR CHARITY
Having celebrated my 60th birthday riding the RideLondon 100 (in aid of funds for the wonderful Shooting Star children’s hospices charity) on my trusty Pinnarello road bike, and surprising myself with a time of 5 hours on the nail, I have to admit – I thought it would be the last time I did something like that.
But four years later and a persuasive charity organiser at the Pull Agency talked me into doing it again. I said “OK, but I’ll do it on an e-bike”. It would be fun. And besides we could see how far I could get on one charge. ‘How far?’ is the most asked question about e-bikes – but it is of course a ‘length of a piece of string’ question. There was no record for a Gocycle – official or unofficial.
As something of an EV-sceptic (are electric cars a sustainable solution?) I feel quite different about e-bikes. Especially when a good friend of mine who owned a solar e-bike charging station start-up (Solarcycle) offered to solar charge my battery. Or rather batteries as I decided to take a spare. Short of doing it solely with leg-power, surely a solar-charged e-bike must be the most sustainable way to cover 100 miles?
Not having ridden a Gocycle for more than 38 miles I knew it was going to be an adventure.
To maximise my range, I rode the first 11.5 miles without any e-assistance. A bit of a setback at 12.5 miles with a puncture. Soon mended. (The Gocycle is surely the only bike where you can take the tube out and replace it without even removing the wheel? – thanks to its beautiful automotive-style fork and rear swing arm.)
I rode on a custom mode I set up in the Gocycle app for about 30 miles and then turned the wick up a bit and used the app’s ‘Eco’ mode.
The ride was huge fun. The great thing about the Gocycle is that it’s such a conversation-starter. I didn’t get a single “You’re cheating” comment like I expected. Just questions about whether the Gocycle was electric (interesting that lots of people weren’t sure) or compliments from regular cyclists and other e-bike riders.
So how far did I get on one charge? 72 miles. Shortly after I swapped the battery for the one I had in the front bag.
I think I could have ridden it back without power for the last 28 miles at a pinch. But what a joy to be able to use a full battery. And when I saw that my second battery was still showing 100% with 20 miles to go I realised I could indulge myself.
With 10 to go before the finale on Tower Bridge, I switched to the (very appropriate) ‘City’ mode. I don’t know what most of the rest of the riders thought while I shot past them all up every incline – but those last few miles on closed roads on max power were a blast.
After finishing the course I scooted the short distance through utterly gridlocked London to Waterloo for the train down to my home near Liphook in Hampshire.
Fortunately I had plenty of power in my second battery to get me the 3 miles home from the station. Quite a day, quite a bike.