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Blog 106 Plei Can to Pleicu (Vietnam)

10th January

Tommorow I'll be blogging about having entered Vietnam - it takes a short while to get my bearings and frankly have anything of any value to say, so just to continue a bit of background to this project as follows....

Yamaha didn't immediately confirm their readiness to go ahead with such a big journey - it is around the world and in travel road test terms nothing comes bigger. It is a 'road test' for an important product and whilst the Wabash along with their respective small range of e-cycles have been available in Japan and the USA for some time, no one suggested they do what we are doing now. Reluctantly I did sound other manufacturers out in case Yamaha's response was negative but the best of the rest were not keen.

There is a mountain of broken electric cycles somewhere in the world, maybe Taiwan, as testament to a simple fact; electric bicycles do break, even those selling at $15,000's plus. It's not about the money, it's about the technology and what an electric bicycle is built to do. There are excellent e-bikes on the market but they were not made to be ridden 160kms plus every day for months and in the toughest of environments. A manufacturer will spend millions of dollars perfecting an impressive piece of kit only for someone like me to come along and break it real world style, and so trashing a hard won reputation.

Around the world is the harshest test any vehicle can be put through, I should know, this is what I do and have done for 40 years. We can talk Giant, Specialized, any number of brands but journeys like this put brand awareness and management onto a different level. Listen to ex e-cycle boss at Yamaha Europe tell you what he thinks....

Altino Laurenco talks about the difficulties of road testing the Wabash

So I had to come up with an alternative plan, which was to prove to Yamaha that if I could demonstrate the Wabash was strong enough for me to ride it around the world, I could create a ride that might persuade them it had the engineering strength that we needed.

The Initial Plan - Nordkapp to Tariffa

I hatched an idea to ride the bike across the longest mainland distance in Europe, from Nordkapp, the northern tip of Norway down to Tarifa, the southern point of Spain - 7000kms

So did it match up to the criteria we needed to even start what is without doubt the toughest journey an electric bicycle has ever been asked to do? And secondly, were Yamaha brave enough to trust their flagship e-cycle to me to bust it's guts on the Highway of Hell on a daily bases for 30,000 kms over 240 bone shaking, mind jarring dusty pot-holed days. What do you think?

Map of the Day

Back to the more mundane matters of everyday riding on what is proving to be the strongest electric bicycle in the world, based not on bias but fact. Today's ride was actually really nice. Undulating roads that were not too busy, traffic that was respectful, surface rather good and I was as usual surrounded by very friendly people with the sun on my back. A lot more tomorrow:) Time for grub then early to bed.

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