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  • Susanne Bruesch & Nora Manthey

Hitting Highway 1 on ePerformance Bikes to Reach the Redwoods

The Pacific coast is cliffs, sand, and ocean. But in car-centric America, it is also the Highway 1, easily one of the most scenic roads in the States. As its other name, Pacific Coast Highway suggests, it hugs the Californian shoreline. It opens up to reveal the silent sea’s wide panorama with occasional coastal access to sometimes sandy, sometimes rocky, and always breezy but most beautiful beaches.

Do not be misled by its name - the highway is not a German Autobahn or British motorway, those would be called freeway in the U.S. - but a road that leads through the country with speed limits ranging from 25 - 65 mph (40 - 104 kph). This means our brave pedelec pedallers are allowed on the strip alongside Highway 101 and the lane is wide enough for a bike with panniers to safely ride next to the cars.

Highway 1 most famous parts are in Northern California. We travelled from Monterey Bay up north towards San Francisco with a stop-over in the Redwoods. This part of our route actually offered the chance for both cyclists and our support vehicle to travel together or to easily meet up. Which we did rather often as the sights and beaches were just too great. We were thus delayed already, when the e-bike crew left the highway to take a detour, deliberately.

The new path led along a narrow MTB Trail with bumps that were a little deeper than expected. Super tall grass made it very challenging to ride this trail with all our luggage and at times we had to get off the eMTB.

When finally we cycled out of the wilderness it was dusk. Upon arrival at a most beautiful campsite deep in the Redwoods, two things were missing: our support crew and a network connection.

In fading light, I went to find a ranger to ask for a telephone. He pointed to a payphone but my few coins were wasted as the crew did not pick up - they had no connection either.

With no way of knowing if the camper with supplies would find its way up, Andreas and me started to forage our bags to see what supplies we had left. While we carry a tent and our sleeping bags on our bikes, dinner would become a problem with the few dates and a powerbar we had left.

As the night fell, we heard an engine humming. The crew had arrived.

By now the team is used to setting up tents and preparing dinner after dark. The Nigor equipment is straight-forward and our Escape camper van opens up in the rear to reveal a readily installed kitchen that comes very handy. For extra comfort and family feeling we rely on our improvisational skills.

Riding Data Day 2: Distance: 94 km Energy consumption: 640 Wh, 1.5 x 400 Wh batteries Assistance level: High Average speed: 24 km/h Elevation: 600 m Riders: Susi, Andreas

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