It was super exciting to ride up to Jaca for the 5th Electric Night Ride even though it was on my GS. The last two years it had been cancelled due to the pandemic so I think everyone taking part was super excited too. I got a good opportunity to look at the different versions of Zero and the different set-ups too – off road, sport, touring. In total, I think there were 25 bikes and scooters. All bikes but one were Zeros, the odd one out was an Energica and it didn’t look too different from the Zero. It was a bit disappointing not to see anyone with a Johammer, as they look like nothing else I’ve ever seen, and I had hoped to see one for real. There were a handful scooters, all but one were large scooters, one was a small city scooter. Don’t ask me about brands – I never even checked – sorry, complete lack of interest I’m afraid.
I had hoped to better organised and be on an electric bike myself to be able to join the event and the ride but, alas, not this time. I still enjoyed watching from the shadows, the shade really – there was a heatwave in Jaca at the time – observing and taking photos.
Electric motorbikes first caught my interest a few years back and when we were able to test ride the Zero in Finland at the WIMA rally in 2019 I was thrilled. They were really rare then, the e-bikes, I didn’t know anyone apart from Trui Hanoulle, aka Electro Girl, who rode one. She’s an electric pioneer who rode a Zero from Belgium to Turkey in the very early days of electric. She was there at the rally on a Zero and as always very happy to discuss electrics with anyone who was interested. Influenced by her story and with a great portion of healthy curiosity, I signed up for a test ride.
How do I turn it on? I asked. It is already on, the instructor replied. Funny that, when you can’t hear the engine and you can’t feel the engine. There is no feedback to tell you that it is on, until you turn the throttle and feel the speed in the pit of your stomach. It took some time for me to get used to the acceleration and ride smoothly but when I got the hang of it I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I loved the silence and the stillness. I could hear other things, the tyres on the road and the birds singing. I knew then that I wanted an electric bike, I just didn’t know when I could get one for practical reasons. I still don’t know when and it is a bit disappointing. I will not be a pioneer. My reasons for hesitating are threefold, the electric bikes on the market now are not suitable for me ergonomically. I need more legroom as I need a rather open knee angle for health reasons. Practicality is another factor, I need longer range for travelling and I wouldn’t want to have to ask people for permission to charge from their home. Lastly, economical. Any e-bike is a big investment, just as buying a new petrol bike would be. However, I’m not exactly in the market for buying any new bike and I’m happy owning an old and reliable bike that is comparatively cheap to insure. Thinking about the economic side of things, it would be interesting seeing a breakdown of costs for owning and running an electric bike. I haven’t seen any insurance comparison for example. With my very good reasons for not splashing out on a new e-bike, I still wonder what the reasons other women have. I couldn’t help notice that at the Electric Night Ride in Jaca, only 4 out of 29 people were female, 1 girl and 3 women. Only one woman was piloting, the rest were pillions. Where are all the female e-pioneers? My agreement with myself is that I’ll ride my GS until the end of its days, then I’ll go electric.