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Australian couple break e-bike long distance world record

Alia Parker's picture
Rachel and Gary Corbett set new e-bike long distance world record.

An Australian husband and wife team have successfully set a new e-bike long distance world record and continue to push the kilometres higher as they pedal their way around Europe.

Gary and Rachel Corbett, also known as the E-Bike Cycle Tourists, surpassed the old record of 16,047kms (9971 miles) after 220 days of cycling at an average of about 75km a day. Beginning their world-record attempt in late April, they pedalled out of London, riding for 901 hours across 12 countries to hit their target on January 20, 2016 in the Algarve region of Portugal.

“There are a lot of adjectives that describe how we felt after finally reaching the record: relieved, satisfied, exhilarated, excited and elated would probably best sum up the mixed feelings,” said Gary.

“It has been an amazing journey, at times we feel as though we are in sensory overload such are the amazing sights we see on a daily basis.”

The world-record ride has taken the couple on an exciting journey through England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Spain and Portugal. Now having beaten the record – previously held by German Maximilian Semsch, who circumnavigated Australia in 2012 – they plan to continue to push it further, cycling Australia and the United States.

“We are delighted to have reached the record so far in advance of schedule and are equally excited about the adventures that still lay ahead,” said Gary.

He said they now aim to reach at least 25,000 kilometres by the time they return to Australia in August 2016.

But with at least two more years of e-biking in front of them, Rachel said there was no knowing what their final kilometre total will be.

“Basically the bottom line is to set a record that will take someone else a hell of a lot of cycling to break,” she said.

To set the record, the Corbetts chose to ride Haibike xDuro Trekking RX e-bikes with Bosch Performance crank drive motor and 400wh battery system. They've been carrying their gear using a Tout Terrain Mule single wheel trailer.

Gary said both e-bikes had performed brilliantly in all sorts of terrain and temperatures ranging from below freezing to above 40 degrees.

He said that other than a long list of consumable parts – such as brake disc pads, brake rotors, tyres, chains, chain cassettes, pedals, a SRAM hub and an entire rear hydraulic back brake system – Haibike/Bosch combination had been very reliable.

Part of cycle touring on an e-bike requires access to electricity, so the Corbetts have been camping at caravan parks throughout their adventure so that they can hook up to the mains and recharge their bike batteries overnight. On occasions where no caravan park was in reach, they've had to look for alternative options, recharging at cafes, asking farmers or residents and even the odd e-bike recharging station available in Europe.

“When you have to get out of your comfort zone to get your batteries charged it is amazing how many wonderful people you meet who you would otherwise have never spoken to,” Gary said.

“On different occasions this led to complete strangers offering us accommodation, meals, showers, coffees, maps, bike servicing and in Ireland a call out was even put out over Facebook for the e-bike community to show us a “real” Irish welcome. The result was a long list of people throughout Ireland who selflessly offered all sorts of assistance.”

Above all else the e-Bike Cycle Tourists claim they are delighted to have proven conclusively that it is possible to cycle tour on an e-bike, something many people claimed would be difficult before they set out.

The E-Bike Cycle Tourists’ ongoing e-bike adventure can be followed at www.ebikecycletourists.com

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