It’s actually a really cool concept! A bike that is equipped with a rechargeable battery connected to a small and silent bike motor that helps you to traverse the rolling hills and, sometimes, steep terrain of Switzerland.
I had wanted try out the e-bike ever since I read about it in the New York Times and finally had my chance as part of the Adventure Travel World Summit’s Day of Adventure. We were a group of 20-weekend bikers that were ready to explore Luzern’s castles, villages, and lakeside.
The e-bike itself was heavier than I expected it to be (about 50 lbs) – some of the men even had to strain to keep their balance when stationary. Nonetheless, it did not take very long to get used to its mechanics.
The e-bike has 9 gears with 3 power-boost modes, namely “Eco”, “Standard” and “High”. I found my grove easily in Gear 7 “Standard” allowing just enough exercise without having to strain myself too much given I still had some jetlag – while still allowing me opportunities to enjoy the lovely views!
What was fascinating to overhear though were the comments about the e-bike experience. While everyone enjoyed it, the men generally felt like it was a bit sissy saying that if they were going to spend the day biking, they wanted to feel like it was an extraordinary workout and not be helped along the way.
However, I took a different view in that families and boomers would do quite well with an e-bike experience since everyone could participate in this type of activity at their preferred pace. For example, the adults could decide to not use the power boost while the children could ride in “High” mode (you need to be at least 16 years old to have your own e-bike as it is considered transportation that is operated by a motor; otherwise you ride a “bike” that is attached to an adult e-bike).
The trails are well maintained, marked (sometimes confusingly, but they are marked) and pass through lovely Swiss villages where there is always a recharging station, hot meal, and comfortable room to stay for the night.
So, if you have a penchant for making your own way without a guide or a set itinerary and want to experience real Swiss hospitality, cuisine, and culture, try out the e-bike. We won’t call you sissy, we promise!