The bike battery acid test – a big hill climb

It felt a bit like heading off to battle with a pea shooter as we loaded our gear onto the little F19 folding bikes. 250 km over five days is not that far but heading into the hills when your co-captain is seriously allergic to them is a little daunting.

Of course we now have battery assist for those “ups” but would the battery life be sufficient. Today would answer that question.

I had told Ruth that we would cross the mountains, she was a little anxious as to where.

The weather obliged and we set off under partly cloudy skies, heading in the general direction of the sky, well that is what it felt like. 25km of unbroken hill climb up to 540m before we could coast down the other side. My calculations indicated that we should reach the summit with 2/5 of our power in reserve.

She was happier as the road veered towards the lowest point.
We were surprised at our altitude, the climb had not been that obvious other that the legs suggesting that we were pushing the bikes uphill.

The slope was barely perceptible but the legs quickly told us that we were biking up hill.

I dropped my first battery charge bar a mere 0.8km into the ride after climbing a very steep “rise” away from our bed and breakfast.

As we hit the top I decided a bit of battery nursing was in order early on, I did not want to be walking the bike up the steeper sections later in the morning. Given the lighter load Ruth’s bike was carrying I told her to “battery away” and she was soon but a speck on the horizon.

Ruth zooms across one of the many streams tumbling off the mountain.

Wow, this ride was pretty spectacular. Before too long New Plymouth appeared to be a long way below us and we were in mountain forest crossing rock strewn streams, it was feeling very adventurous. The road was deserted, the batteries were performing as expected and we were suddenly at our high point on the road, Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust.

The next few pictures don’t really do justice to Pukeiti


We Spent two hours wandering around this splendid  garden before returning to the F19s for an unbroken 14km downhill coast.

Our overnight accommodation was an unexpected “gem”. An old country pub that had been given a fresh lease of life by an Austrian couple. The food was superb but despite the battery assist, we knew we had done a decent day’s riding and did not need any rocking to sleep.

The Stony River Hotel – a welcome sight at the end of day 1.

Tomorrow promises another dry day and a longer ride. After today, we are feeling a lot more confident.


  1. Super: well done on a tough day – and then even some IT work for Carbon Neutral Waiheke… Have a good rest with the Austrians and give a kiss to your batteries 😉

    Besides working on a funding application to WWF for Carbon Neutral NZ Trust, we are working the gardens with 3 wwoofers from Hungary and Israel plus the renovations of 2 of our cottages. And I am happy with my new MacBook Pro: smaller, lighter, faster, much better sound and all the keys work 🙂

    Cheers Rolf


  2. Cliff, Are you you going up from the Inglewood side or Straford side. I think your bikes should handle the ride from either side and the ride back down is exhillerating. Cheers Geoff And Christine

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10



    1. Hi Geoff
      We are doing a five day tour around the mountain. This post was heading from New Plymouth to Okato via Pukeiti. We stayed in Kaponga last night, currently in Stratford then make our way back to New Plymouth via the roads east of here. Batteries have been great.
      Cliff & Ruth


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