Today was a perfect day bicycling in the Luberon. I actually had a blast cycling on a Sun-e-Bike electric bike. To be honest, it was as much or more fun as a day at Disney World, Provence style! While I will be the first to say that electric bikes may not be for everyone, after today, I can tell you that they are definitely perfect for exploring hilly areas such as Provence and the Luberon. This technology has the ability to radically change recreational cycling, opening up whole new areas for people of all ages to explore.
The day began with a short walk to the Sun-e-Bike shop in gorgeous Bonnieux. There we were met by Florian Machayekhi who manages the Bonnieux location for company. Florian is personable, extremely knowledgeable and very sensitive to first-time e-bike riders. There is definitely a learning curve to riding these e-bikes, fortunately it is well under 5 minutes! A quick lesson in the details: how to shift, using low gears when going uphill, how to use the three different levels of e-power and you are good to go. Believe me when I tell you that within 5-10 minutes you will feel like a pro on the Sun-e-Bike!
For today, we opted hill bicycle to a series of hill towns in the Luberon: Lacoste, Menerbes, Maubec and Oppide Le Vieux. There are not enough superlatives to describe the scenery and the adventure of traveling on a Sun-e-Bike. No matter how hard I try to put the experience I words, nothing seems to capture the experience adequately. I found it unbelievable. There’s no question that you still get plenty of exercise cycling, but when you need that extra oomph to get up the hills, the power just magically kicks in. As a matter of fact. Depending on the level of power that you use, it can really kick in!
The batteries on the Sun-e-Bikes last for just over 30 km, and there are a series of exchange partners located throughout the region. You simply go to an exchange partner, turn in your old battery and pick up a new one for the rest of your voyage. You can cover a lot of territory with the Sun-e-Bike, so, depending on how early you start, you may need to make one or possibly two exchanges during the day. Florian will make sure that you know where to exchange batteries, depending on your itinerary for the day.
Our exchange point for today was the very old village of Oppede-le-Vieux, alone of the prettiest villages I have ever seen. We made the exchange, had a glass of wine and were on our way!
For the Luberon area, there are about 10 possible itineraries, so there are numerous opportunities to explore this fantastic area of France. Tomorrow we will explore the lavender fields enroute to Saignon, then on to Apt and Roussillon, returning to Bonnieux. I can’t wait for another day of e-bicycling!
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