An 80th Birthday Gift - A Half Day eBike Ride.
He is a fit dude, used to biking the Queenstown Trails but for some time I had been wanting to take my father, Bernie on the only section that he hadn’t ridden - the Twin Rivers trail from Lake Hayes Estate (LHE) to Morven Ferry Rd.
The day prior to the ride, I visited the Charge About Queenstown guys at their base at the Hilton and they gave me a good run down on the options. I pencilled in an eBike and then at lunch that day told my father what his gift was. He was as excited as we were about it. I then asked him which route he would like to ride and, as expected, he mentioned the Twin Rivers from LHE and then he decided that we might do the entire loop back through Millbrook Resort and over Slope Hill! That’s when I started to have concerns…….for myself. Although I am a competent biker, being early in the season I wasn’t at my usual fitness level for the steeper hills and I could visualise my 80-year-old father taking off up the steeper hills and having to wait for me at the top while I paced myself up! So I phoned Charge About and booked an eBike for myself. Solved - now we would both be able to maintain a more consistent pace.
The day dawned cloudless with a forecast high of 22 degrees. We headed to the Hilton for the briefing on how to operate the bikes. They were just like mountain bikes with a dropper seat post with the addition of an easily detachable battery, so once we knew how to operate the motorised assistance, we were ready to go. Given that it was my father’s 80th birthday, there was a very generous discount on the price to hire two bikes – thank you Charge About Queenstown.
We started at the LHE entrance to the Trail and used the flat section to get used to brakes and the different levels of assistance. I suggested a rule that we couldn’t use ‘turbo’ for at least half an hour until we were totally used to the bikes. I’m not sure that we made it to half an hour because we came to the first uphill relatively quickly and were away! It was such an exhilarating feeling that we were both laughing out loud as we ascended. Dad had to keep reminding himself to take the time to enjoy the views!
The Charge About guys had cautioned us to turn the assistance off on the downhills and that was very good advice. I added an additional note of caution because the corners are sharper than most other areas of the Trail and gravel always adds a bit of interest to the equation, so we descended at a comfortable pace.
Often we didn’t use the assistance for a while after a downhill because it was easy riding on the flat without it. Hence, after 2 hours riding (including photo stops!) we were still on the second of maybe six bars indicating the battery capacity.
The second big uphill was Thompson’s Hill and, once again, we were spontaneously laughing out loud as we ascended using the motor. Out in the beautiful wilderness, comfortably ‘riding’ at pace up long steep sections of the Trail - absolutely amazing.
Depending how things went, we had agreed that we may be turning back at Morven Ferry Rd but when we arrived there in no time at all and still with plenty of battery power left, I could see that we would easily be able to complete the entire circuit in the allocated time. Also, we were under no pressure at all because the guys at Charge About had been extremely flexible about our return time. We even had a relaxed coffee in the sereneness of Millbrook, which is always a treat.
We returned down Christine’s Hill, up & down Slope Hill, down Coronary Hill, along the river and then up Old McDonald Hill and back to the car at LHE.
What an incredible treat for both of us. Dad is extremely proud to have now ridden all of the Queenstown Trail and had enjoyed a wonderfully exhilarating day out in the process.
By Di Williams.