Africa by e-Motorcycle
10 May 2023
Sine Gottwald has successfully completed a top-to-bottom ride of Africa on an e-motorcycle, without a support crew.
Electric bikes and long distances aren’t something you tend to associate together. Let's face it, most e-motorcycles lack the energy density to haul long distances, especially with charging infrastructure still developing. Add the developing world into the mix and it seems like a recipe for disaster to even think about travelling by EV.
Even knowing this, Cake rider Sinje Gottwald didn't let this deter her, and as a result, she's laid claim to the first unassisted African continent crossing on an electric motorcycle.
A Cake insider as the brand's B2B Account Manager, Gottwald achieved the remarkable milestone of riding the longest distance ever on an electric motorcycle, after completing her 124-day journey along the West Coast of Africa on the CAKE Kalk AP.
Starting from Spain and ending in South Africa, Gottwald rode the entire journey completely unaided by technical or medical support. Take that, Ewan and Charley - although their trip through South America on modified Harley Davidson Livewires was a fun watch on AppleTV.
Faced with daily challenges ranging from the continent's inclement weather and terrain, to her ability to charge the bike and the risks posed by dehydration, Sinje's triumph on the Kalk AP is seen by some as a significant breakthrough for many technological and social aspects.
As part of her preparation, she readied herself with two batteries, two chargers, spare parts including a controller, display, throttle, chain, and fuses, tools, a laptop in case her bike required a software update or remote support, a camera, and personal belongings.
Starting on October 14, 2022, in Spain and ferrying across to Morocco, Sinje's African exploits began, with the deep Moroccan sand causing the first technical difficulty with a fuse burn out. Before long she entered the hallowed rally terrain of Mauritania and Senegal, famous for their roles in the iconic Paris-Dakar Rally of yesteryear.
From Gambia she entered Guinea Bissau, where the entry into Guinea presented the challenging, but supremely rewarding combination of muddy and waterlogged jungle tracks where no car could venture. Sinje continued down the Ivory Coast, onwards through Ghana, which included a 24-hour wait at the border, Cameroon and Angola amid the endless African majesty on the way. She finally arrived in South Africa to complete her unforgettable 13,000km journey which saw her meet countless people and experience nature in ways only possible on two wheels.
"My dream was to see the world with my own eyes. No matter how much I learn about places, seeing and experiencing them myself will always give me a better understanding. This I feel is particularly the case for Africa. With this adventure I not only wanted to open up my own and other people's views and ideas about this continent, but also give an example of what is possible even if the challenges seem too big at first. We are capable of a lot more than we think."
With the Kalk AP she has demonstrated the previously-thought impossible effectiveness, durability and versatility of an electric motorcycle, overcoming the array of vehicular challenges presented by charging, mechanical care and spare parts. Together they achieved a feat that was far beyond the bike's intended purpose. Originally designed for short bursts of fun riding, the Kalk AP exceeded expectations by completing the 13,000 km-long journey in just 124 days, without experiencing even one flat tyre, and requiring less than 140 charges.
"The Kalk was simply amazing! Maintenance was almost zero, adjusting and lubing the chain was basically it. Some minor issues that could be fixed, and I didn't have a single flat tyre. It drew so much attention, wherever I stopped people would come and ask about it, many said it was the first time for them to see an electric motorcycle. They couldn't believe I came from so far away!
Finding places to charge was the hardest part, in some areas it was extremely difficult, and I had to plan the day very thoroughly. Many times, I didn't know if I would find a place to charge at all! Thad a couple of minor crashes in difficult terrain at low speed, but more than once I was almost run over by cars; traffic is crazy and cars that overtake don't leave any space!"
This article is kindly supplied by kiwirider.co.nz
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