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Howard's Coromandel Mission

April 23, 2021

 

Shop friend Howard Greive recently brought his bike in for a service and mentioned that he had completed a 700km bicycle touring epic from Wellington to Opito Bay. ⁠

We asked him to give us a quick write up about his trip as we thought it was a great example of the potential that the Riese und Müller Superdelite has for long distance touring. Read the full story about his Coromandel Mission below.

 

  

In November last year I decided to ride the 700kms from Wellington to Opito Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula on my Riese und Müller Superdelite.

Many years ago I had done this on touring bikes, but time had taken its toll on my body so I switched to the Superdelite.

I had done bugger all training so anticipated doing no more than 100kms a day. Yes, I thought, a leisurely 7 day ride through the North Island would be perfect.

That was until on the second night I got to Marton and looked at the forecast. A weather ‘bomb’ was due in the Coromandel in three days’ time and I was still 500km short. The only choice I had was to stay somewhere around Tokoroa for several days or put the hammer down. I chose the latter. Three days later after averaging 160-170kms a day I was in Opito Bay just as the rain arrived.

 

The Route

I’m a fan of fast, light touring. Don’t take any more gear than you need, pack a credit card and stay at motels. So apart from manoeuvring through the northern suburbs of Wellington and Elizabeth Park around Kapiti, I stayed mostly on Highway 1 until I turned east at Tirau. I find Highway 1 is a safer bet than going via Hawkes Bay and Highway 2 which is a dangerous narrow road.

 

 

Charging the Superdelite

Although the Superdelite comes with a massive 1125 watts of battery power, if you are doing this sort of touring you need to keep it topped up. Particularly when I was doing the longer days over the hills of the volcanic plateau. So my rule is every time you have a break make sure you can charge. I didn’t find a single café owner who didn’t welcome me and although I said I’d happily pay for the power they always gave it generously. A couple worth mentioning is the Relish Café at Hunterville and the Sweet Rose Café in Tokoroa. The food is great and I always tipped heavily in appreciation.

 

 

However the best power you can get is free power loaded with irony. Yes big oil power. Most of the big Z and BP stations have a 240 volt outlet somewhere out the front around the places where they keep the chest freezers for ice etc. Find them. Plug in. Walk inside and order a short black. Sit down, read the paper, clear emails basically kill an hour and you’d be surprised how much power the R&M fast charger has put in.

 

 

Given the daily kms I was doing and my basic lack of endurance fitness, I became very good at judging power remaining and distance remaining. My basic day would be a relaxing pace in ‘Touring’ mode. After lunch when I could feel my energy flagging, then I’d push on in ‘Sport’ mode. About 30 kms from my destination I was a flogged horse so, judging that I had sufficient power left I cranked it to Turbo. My mission was to arrive at my motel just as the battery drained.

 

The Bike

This bike is a beast. It is made for long distance touring. Yes it is very heavy but with that weight comes a comfort and rolling ability that is almost magical. I had it completed with the Rohloff internal hub which is brilliant. Interestingly R&M suggest that there is no need for a puncture kit as the massive tyres are basically puncture proof. And they are. After 700 kms I didn’t even have to put air in them. I had one moment where the gears didn’t engage but managed to power reset and everything was fine. I got to Thames and there is a R&M dealer there (Jolly Bikes) who plugged it into Germany and checked it over. It was fine.

 

 

Overall

This was a great trip to get a feel for long distance touring on an e-bike. Whenever I stopped I always found someone who wanted to talk about the Superdelite. The bike did all the work and I really was a happy passenger. You can’t ask for much more than that. A special thanks to Dan and his team at Bicycle Junction. They set me up perfectly.

 

Thanks for the story Howard! If you have any of you have good adventure stories from your time with one of our bikes, we'd love to hear them so get in touch and we'll go from there.