Electric Bike Adventurer

Final Q&A With Electric Bike Adventurer

Electric Bike Adventurer

Jon Langille is the first Canadian to ride an electric cargo bike 3,000 kilometres on one journey, which is why he was dubbed the Electric Bike Adventurer. He left his home in Nelson, BC, on Sept 4th and rode a Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike 3,000 kilometres  to Indio, California to attend the Desert Trip rock concert that featured the Rolling Stones, the Who and others. He spent 132 hours sitting in the saddle and rode over 19,145m of elevation gain ( more than two Mount Everests) and arrived Oct 7th.

He navigated a desert, past lakes, over mountains and through cities until he reached the Coachella Valley of California where he met his wife (who had flown down) and attended the rock concert. The couple flew home again after Jon shipped his electric cargo bike back.

We caught up with Jon after he returned to Nelson and asked him a few questions about his trip.

Hi Jon. What was the overall highlight of your month-long trip?

The grounds at Desert Trip in Indio California

That’s a really really tough question. I guess it would have to be reuniting with my beautiful wife Laurie for the Desert Trip shows. It was also incredible seeing the concert venue for the first time with the setting sun and desert colour palate in the sky. We snuck into the primo seats for the Rolling Stones and silly danced with thousands of other fanatics, which was great. Plus Neil Young’s 22-minute “Down by the River” was a highlight as was the Who – they gave the fiercest performance of the weekend! Since I’d been so occupied and thrilled with the ride to Indio, the notion of this amazing weekend was really in the background. When it finally arrived it was a bit of a “Whoa!” experience.

What was the biggest challenge?

To be honest with you everything went so well on the trip (once I got the flat-tire issue sorted out) that the only real challenges were things like finding a good slice of pie. I did find a few but it wasn’t always easy.

How did the bike perform?

How did the biker perform

Really well. As I mentioned before, there were some flat tire issues and a few broken spokes but that is typical of any long ride. The Pedego itself had zero issues as far as the frame, motor or batteries. It was strong and stable throughout the trip. I kind of expect this bike to be with me on many more trips.

Did you make a lot of new friends along the way?

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A bunch! Besides our campmates at Desert Trip I met a lot of sincerely gracious Pedego store owners, all of them real characters and a ton of fun! I expect to see some of them up here for a visit so I can reciprocate their generosity. They all seemed to like the sound of Nelson and they’re intrigued by how Pedego bikes are transforming our streets. And meeting the team at Pedego HQ was a treat – a great and inspired bunch. Besides new friends though, I reconnected with several old friends along the way, several I hadn’t seen in decades.

Looking back would you have done anything differently?

I would have taken one less battery and a few less spare parts – since this type of journey had never been done before on a Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike, we wanted to make sure I was prepared for anything. I was over-prepared. My general packing would be smarter too; quick-dry fabrics, light and compact clothing and not much of it, and a folding cooking pot. I would also plan my route around campgrounds a bit more, if possible. Motel stays get expensive and take away the true independence I like when bicycle touring. Knowing now what a typical travel day looks like on a Pedego, I could plan out a route more effectively. Having said that though, one always needs to be flexible. One thing I would really like to do before the next trip is find, or build, the ideal panniers for the Pedego Stretch. Traditional panniers are too small for the task and fit a little awkwardly on the rails. A few other packing features could be improved on as well; something for the spare battery that would keep the centre-of-balance low.

Would you do another trip like this again?

I intend to. I’m thinking about the Rockies or across Canada, perhaps with the family!

What’s next for you? Any more adventures in the works?

I’m working with some very cool owners at the Dancing Bear Inn here in Nelson who have some great ideas on further developing mountain bike tourism in the area. I’m excited to get on that project. And after seeing all the great bike paths and dedicated bike trails in the USA, I’d like to study what we could do here in Nelson to make cycling a safer and more viable way of commuting. We’ve got a tight and hilly town but I can easily imagine Nelson being a “bicycle town,” especially now that electric bikes like Pedego are increasing in number. If we could get significant number of Nelsonites out of their cars and onto a bike a lot of our traffic congestion issues would be solved.

To learn more about Jon’s journey, included the day-to-day updates, log on to the Pedego Canada Roadtrip page.

Pros & Cons of the Pedego Stretch

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Pedego president Don DiCostanzo (left) with electric bike adventurer Jon Langille on their Pedego Stretch cargo bikes.

 

Electric bike adventurer Jon Langille rode a Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike 3,000 kilometres from Nelson, British Columbia, to Indio, California and spent about 132 hours sitting in the saddle. He surmounted over 19,145m of elevation gain (over two Mount Everests), his longest ride was 157.3km (98 miles) from Klamath Falls, Oregon, to Dunsmuir, California, and his biggest single climb was 1,053m (3,545 feet) to Idyllwild, California. He navigated past lakes, plains, mountains, cities, rivers and canyons in temperatures ranging from 5°C to 35°C. And all of this to attend a rock concert in Indio, California.

So who better to tell us about the strengths and weaknesses of the Pedego Stretch cargo bike!?

In this article we quiz Jon about his favourite (and least favourite) features and what his (and other’s) reactions to it were during his trip. (For a background of his journey check out our “First Of It’s Kind Roadtrip” blog.)

Hi Jon. You spent a lot of time on your Pedego Stretch – what is your favourite feature?

Besides the sheer stability of the bike I’d say I like the easy adjustability of the handlebars and seat. Through a long day in the saddle, it’s nice to reposition your body for awhile.

What’s your least favourite feature?

Not much I don’t like about it. I do wish it was lighter though. Maybe with styrofoam batteries that recharge in an hour? (laughs) But really, besides that and water on Mars, I can’t think of anything. Perhaps Pedego could develop a line of precisely fitted panniers and other travel bags?

How has it lived up to your expectations?

Very much so. The Pedego Stretch has provided all the power I’ve needed for the hills and the headwinds. It’s comfortable to ride and remarkably agile for it’s size.

stretch-blackWhat did you primarily use it for before embarking on your epic journey?

To and from work, A to B, shopping trips. I point out to people that I live in a town with 20%+ grades.

What have people’s reactions been to the bike?

People love it. They’re impressed by the design, classic Euro cargo styling, and the strength of it when they see the load.

If you could change anything about the Stretch, what would it be?

It’s so versatile now with the various configurations of the racks that the only improvements I can think of are, as mentioned, some add-on bags specifically designed for touring, including a spare battery case.

Would you recommend this bike to anyone and if so, who and why?

I would and I do. For anyone who’s wanting to use their bike as a car replacement, this is it. I can pack a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four up a 20% grade for many kilometres. I can give my kids a lift. What more could you want? And if you just want to go for a long ride, a lot of the racks can easily be removed to lighten the bike.

To learn more about Jon’s journey, included the day-to-day updates, log on to: pedegoelectricbikes.ca/roadtrip.

Welcome Party For Pedego Adventurer

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Pedego adventurer Jon Langille has almost completed the first-ever electric bicycle tour from Canada to Indio, California. Tomorrow morning (October 6th) he will roll into the Pedego La Quinta store and be congratulated by friends and followers for finishing his journey.

Jon left Nelson, British Columbia on September 4 on his Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike and since then has ridden through four states, over mountains and volcanos, along beaches, beside rivers and the Pacific ocean to reach south-central California. He’s travelled 2,850 kilometres and spent 127:37 hours on the bike. He’s also exceeded 18,634 metres of elevation gain, which is higher than two Mount Everests!

The 54-year-old Canadian decided to pedal his Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike to attend the Desert Trip concert in Indio, California (just a few miles away from La Quinta) and see six of the best musical acts of all time including the Rolling Stones and the Who. (The concert starts October 7.) He says he had the time off work and used to bike tour a lot in his twenties and thought a bike ride down the Western United States would be a fun adventure. (Jon elected to take his Pedego because the extra assist provided by the electric motor would help him get up the many mountain passes along his route.)

Jon’s since done many media interviews along the way and recorded his journey with videos and photographs, all of which you can see on our Roadtrip page. He says that aside from the occasional flat tire and head wind, the trip has gone amazingly well.

If you are in La Quinta on October 6th, be sure to stop in at the Pedego store, meet Jon and offer him a heart-felt congratulation for having completed a world first on a Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike.

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man with pedego electric cargo bike

Media Attention For Pedego Adventurer

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Before Pedego Adventurer Jon Langille set out on the first-ever electric bicycle tour from Canada to Indio, California, CBC Radio interviewed him to find out why he was so keen to do the journey. That was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to media coverage featuring Jon, however. When he pulled into the Pedego branded store in Bend, Oregon on his Stretch electric cargo bike, a KTVZ television crew was there to interview him about his journey. The footage featured Jon and his bike standing in the store and began with the reporter saying, “What would you do to see your favourite band in concert? Whatever it is, it’s probably not this: 54-year-old Canadian Jon Langille is riding his electric bicycle from Nelson, British Columbia all the way to Indio, California.” Click the play button in the video below to see the interview in its entirety.

The following day, Jon was interviewed by an editor at Mountain Culture Group, the Nelson-based parent company of the award-winning Kootenay Mountain Culture and Coast Mountain Culture magazines.  The resulting Q&A article showcased Jon discussing his highlights and his challenges, which included 60km/hr headwinds and no less than seven flat tires caused by various factors including highway detritus. These other question and answers were included in the piece:

What can someone who’s thinking about bike touring learn from your experience?

Be well prepared for flats! Always carry a patch kit, good pump, extra tubes, tire levers, and Fix-a-Flat for bikes. Also, be sure to pack easy wash, quick dry clothes and not many of them. Consider gel seats and handles specially shaped for long rides.

How does this bike tour compare to other ones you’ve done in your twenties around Asia, Australia and the UK?

Even though the electric bicycle I have (a Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike), the actual riding is easier. Hills and wind are not nearly as big a battle as they are with a conventional bike. The route I’ve taken would not be advised on a standard bike. I think an ebike opens up more of the map for bike touring.

To read the Mountain Culture Group article in its entirety, log on to: mountainculturegroup.com/electric-bicycle-adventurer

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A few days later Jon had biked from Bend to Redding, California, where he again pulled into a Pedego branded store and was met by a television crew, this one from the KRCR News channel. Reporter Tiffany Wong took an electric bicycle for a spin to see what Jon’s experience was like and then asked him about why he wanted to ride his Stretch to Indio. Jon replied, “After a year of dedicated riding on the Pedego I thought, ‘let’s just take it as far as I can and see how it does.'”

He then goes on to describe the benefits of having an electric bike on this journey versus a regular one: “It comes into play when you’re going up a hill. Basically you don’t feel the hill. When you’re going in the wind it will assist you. And you’re still putting good effort into your work but it’s there to take care of the troublesome parts…I was having so much fun with this Pedego bike that I wanted to test it out on a true long tour.”

To watch Jon’s interview with KRCR, log on to the following page: krcrtv.com/news/local/shasta/canadian-bikes-through-redding

To continue following Jon’s progress on his way through California, log on to: pedegoelectricbikes.ca/roadtrip

Q&A with Electric Bike Adventurer

welcome-to-californiaElectric bike adventurer Jon Langille has been on the road for the past 16 days and travelled over 1,500 kilometres from one province through three states past lakes, plains, mountains, cities, rivers and canyons. He’s ridden his Pedego Stretch electric cargo bike up the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest, into 60 km/hr headwinds and in temperatures ranging from 5°C to 35°C. And all of this to attend a rock concert in Indio, California.

For a background of Jon’s trip, check out our “First Of It’s Kind Roadtrip” blog and to follow along with his journey, log on to Pedego Canada’s roadtrip page here: pedegoelectricbikes.ca/roadtrip. We managed to catch up with Jon in Sacramento, California and had a chance to ask him some questions about his experiences so far:

Hey Jon, congrats for reaching Cali!  What did you pack that’s been invaluable?

I’d have to say tire pump, extra batteries for the ebike, sunscreen and sunglasses.

What did you pack that you wish you hadn’t?

A rain jacket. It was good windbreaker for a few uses but ultimately just kept the moisture in! And the bulky fleece. Both items were necessary at times but ultimately too bulky. I’ve sent them home along with a pair of cycling shorts that were also too bulky and actually caused some numbing you know where. Also, my old cooking pots and pans – one silicon folding pot is enough. And the electric screwdriver – that was just dumb. It’s also on it’s way home.

How has social media impacted this ride for you (compared to your other excursions around Asia, UK, etc)?

When riding in the 1980s there was no such thing as social media. The benefits are clear as far as communicating with friends and family though. Knowing what’s ahead and making plans on the fly is a polite thing to do for the people who are hosting me as well. Having said that, one can become a slave to their device, especially if you’re trying to control cellular charges. Seems I’m forever going into my settings – I’ve come to hate that button! In the pre-device era you had your map and your watch and all day to see what’s down the road. You dealt with finding food, shelter and social interaction in an entirely “of-the-moment” way, and frankly, it was much more real. But in those days my friends and family might not hear from me for months at a time.

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Are you meeting a lot of people along the way who are curious about your trip?

Tons! Every time I stop I get questions about where I’m going, where I started, and, “Wow, cool bike!” People are increasingly more startled at the story as I get further south.

What’s the most interesting conversation you’ve had?

Roadside conversations are usually brief and on the “trip” subject. The best stories I’ve heard are from my great hosts along the way such as the Pedego shop owners in Bend, Redding and Sacramento. They’re real characters with remarkable life stories and a passion for a sustainable planet. They all walk the walk, or I suppose, pedal the talk, promoting a biking lifestyle and pulling more and more people into it with Pedego e-bikes. Lots of passion!

How’s the Pedego Stretch been performing for you?

Really well. The only issues have been exactly what you would expect on any long ride, on any bike: tire punctures and broken spokes. As far as the motor and power, though, it’s been flawless.

Jon’s route:

What’s been your favourite stretch of road thus far?

Without a doubt from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Dunsmuir, California. Stunning landscape changes from high dry country, through marshland, vast farmland, a climb to 5,200 ft around the base of Mt. Shasta and then 50 miles of downhill through a series of groovy little burgs off the highway south of Weed. Perhaps the funnest part of the day was riding 10 miles of newly paved lanes on the I-5 that were closed to all other traffic. The barriers weren’t keeping me out though!

How have the media interviews been going? Are you surprised by the high interest?

It has been curious to me. Something seems to spark interest about this journey. Perhaps it’s because this isn’t a typical bicycle touring route:  there’s nothing unusual about a ride down the coast, but this is the upside of the Pedego Stretch, It’s opened up more of the map for touring. I suppose the fact that this trip has been tied to a significant destination/event has made it interesting too. It makes me appear to be some kind of “Super Fan,” which I’m not really. For me the concert was just a good excuse to do what I’ve thought about for the past year: going on a a good long ride on my bike.

To follow Jon’s journey and see day-to-day updates, log on to: pedegoelectricbikes.ca/roadtrip