This month we had a family vacation to the beautiful Tekapo for some skiing and hiking. I decided to take my new eBike with us, a Riese & Muller Supercharger2 with the Enviolo Hub gears and a Gates Carbon Belt Drive fitted out with a Bosch Gen 4 High Speed motor (thanks to the team at Christchurch Electric Bikes)

I have been considering some eBike Touring / Bikepacking and wanted to use this time away to test some longer rides that included far more hills than we have in Christchurch.

You can see the rides (and one hike) below

Fairlie to Tekapo

This was almost a spur of the moment decision to jump out at Fairlie and bike through Burkes Pass into Tekapo. But with the weather good and a full charge on the dual batteries on the Supercharger 2 I decided to give it a go!

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It ended up being thoroughly enjoyable and the climb was really just a steady gradient with only one steep-ish section. My Garmin bike computer recorded 583m total elevation across the 44km ride and there were lots of amazing views along the way:

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It was cold departing Fairlie, but I soon warmed up and ditched the gloves

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The small township at Burkes Pass is quite a step back in time – and culture – to a bygone era of Americana

Burkes Pass itself required a photo at the high point, and there was an awesome stone tablet commemorating one of the first settlers in the region

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It was cloudy on the plateau but the views were still impressive

One of my goals with this ride was to test out the range of the batteries, so I deliberately mainly rode in Eco mode on the bike. I did not have any luggage so the bike was lighter than if I was touring, but I could still easily zip along at over 20kph for the flats without feeling like I was putting in any effort. On the one steep climb I did jump into Sport mode to get me up easily.

There was steep downhill into Lake Tekapo that was fun to ride down – the bike handles speed really well and came in at over 55kph. I was staggered to see that after 44km the bike was still indicating a range of 133km in Eco mode, thus confirming my suspicion that very long distances could be covered in a day provided I stuck to Eco.

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For a first test, Fairlie to Tekapo was really fun, not arduous and despite the road being busy with holiday traffic, everyone gave me a wide berth when passing and my high visibility jacket, combined with the integrated lighting systems on the Supercharger 2 meant I felt safe at all times. Here’s the Strava data:


Mt John Observatory Long Route

I’ve blogged in more detail about Mt John hiking here, so won’t go into detail apart from to say I did the extended hike this time with Theo which was 10km and was thoroughly enjoyable with incredible views across the lake and surrounding mountains. Here’s the map:

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And here are some photos:

No trip up Mt John would be complete without a photo of the Trig Station:

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Exploring Tekapo “Power Station A” Outlet

This bike was less a chance to test range of the Supercharger 2 and more to scout out the entry point behind Tekapo for the Canal Road which would be the link to get me down to Lake Pukaki the following day.

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Nevertheless it was an enjoyable ride with Evangeline that presented some cool photo opportunities.

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A perfect mirror image in this small lake which is part of the run off area beside the Tekapo A power station

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Tekapo To Lake Pukaki

On the final morning in Tekapo the kids were going to head to the thermal pools so I decided I’d try to bike along the Canal Road and down to Lake Pukaki and, if I had time, return back to Tekapo along the main road.

As it turned out, I didn’t get all the way back as the thermal pools were closed with technical problems and so the family picked me up about half way back to Tekapo. You can see the route below:

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The Canal Road was simply amazing with pristine blue water flowing silently (and at great volume) from Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki. There was a chilly wind keeping me honest so I did not stop too often, but did capture some photos:

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The mountains were a magnificent backdrop to the ride and a constant companion along the way

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For the first 25-30km, the view really did not change

I saw a number of people fishing for salmon in the Canal as I biked along but it was mostly a solitary ride. I decided due to time to power on the Touring Mode and see what the battery consumption would be like. Given it was riding on gravel rather than tarseal it was definitely a little slower and the additional boost in Touring mode compared to Eco mode was welcome in light of the chilly head wind on the way south.

At the end of the Canal Road there is a steep 150m descent to the shore of Lake Pukaki which was delightful:

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Mt Cook clearly visible in the background as I biked along the edge of Lake Pukaki

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At the southern end of Lake Pukaki looking back towards Mt Cook

I ended up capturing quite a bit of video footage of this ride on my GoPro which I’ll tidy up and publish here as well.

The ride around the bottom of the lake ended up going through a small wooded section and then following the road towards the Salmon Farm and outlets that links the Alps 2 Ocean pathway (a multi-day bike I intend to do later this year once it warms up). Around this point I got a call from my wife saying the pools were closed so I decided to beat a quick trip back towards Tekapo and meet her along the way. Throwing the bike into Turbo mode I made a very quick return journey on the main road:


Exceeding 50kph in Turbo mode with slight downhills was no problem at all

Here is the Strava data in total:


Final Thoughts:

It was great to test out the range of my new eBike, the Supercharger 2 from Riese & Muller and I feel confident that this will take me comfortably very long distances. I plan an overnight camp in Akaroa soon, so I’ll pack my tent and a few other things and head around 85km with 700m elevation climb to test that out soon.

It does feel a bit like cheating however – zipping along at 26kph for over 67km of undulating territory did not tire me out in the least!

I’m looking forward to more eBike adventures soon