A couple from Australia have biked 12,000 kilometres throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, and they’re still on their way. Their goal? To set a new world record for the longest distance traveled by electric bike—and as of press time, they’re more than halfway to that ambitious achievement.
The cyclists—the husband and wife team of Gary and Rachel Corbett, who set out in April—aim to put 20,000 kilometres under their tires by the end of their trek.
Clocking such kilometres would destroy the previous record for long-haul e-bike riding, set in 2012 by German rider Maximilian Semsch who, biking around Australia, established the current high water mark of 16,047 kilometres. Then there’s the standard of Canadian e-biker Dan “The Hurricane” Halmo, who holds the official Guinness World Record with 6,721 kilometres, also set in 2012. Currently, the Corbetts are in Portugal as they roll towards their objective, enjoying a much warmer winter of touring than those on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s not just about the joy of the ride for the two e-bikers, though. Taking to the EuroVelo European cycle route network—a path that traverses the UK, Europe and Scandinavia—the spirit of their trip is to demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of e-bikes in general, something the two believe in deeply.
With each kilometre traveled, they intend to “show conclusively that electric bicycles are the future of personal transportation,” to quote their website—a low energy, reliable form of transportation, they say, in which age is no object.
The matter of age carries particular importance for the Corbetts, who note that many of those who have tackled such ambitious rides in the past, on or off an e-bike, have been in their 20s and 30s, often with support. The Corbetts, on the other hand, are “on the wrong side of their mid-50s,” to use the words of their website, with Gary at 60 and Rachel at 56. By undertaking the journey, they hope to demonstrate that a long-distance, world record e-bike ride isn’t a Herculean thing. It’s something accessible to anyone of any age, and indeed of any fitness level.
“People of all ages,” said Mr. Corbett, “even those who currently think that riding a bicycle is impractical or impossible because of hills, distance, fitness levels, health reasons, knee problems, aging, or even because of the inconvenience of having to shower and change clothes at work following the morning commute, will be able to see that riding an electric bicycle is not only possible, but the best thing they can do for their health and lifestyle.”
“By successfully completing the ride,” he added, “we will show that electric bicycles are a reliable and practical form of transport in addition to providing all the advantages of a regular bicycle: fun, exercise, freedom from traffic jams and, as a bonus, never having to worry about finding a parking spot.”