ABOUT eBiker Diary

There are many blogs and websites that describe rides, but most are by and for younger cyclists brave enough to ride on roads. This blog is different in two ways: it is for road-averse riders who place high priority on safety, and it tries to show what the ride looks like rather than worry about maps and riding data. This means all posted routes avoid riding on roads and there are lots of photos of what to expect.

I was inspired into eBiking after riding the 152km Otago Rail Trail in New Zealand in early 2018. Since then I have had several ebikes which has been a learning experience as my riding preferences developed. My current ebikes are a Merida eOne Sixty 800 Full Suspension and a Smartmotion X-City, both bought from Sydney Electric Bikes.

Why do I have two bikes? A  hip replacement in early 2020 made it difficult to hitch mount the Merida for a while so I bought the step-thru X-City. I’m now lucky to choose which bike I’ll ride on any day, and the differences are explained in Choosing an eBike.


Sydney has a patchy bike path network and it’s not always easy to find safe and scenic rides. So hopefully this blog will inspire others to try these tours and maybe share their riding experiences.

Each tour is described in terms of start and finish points, scenic highlights, overall length, approximate time taken, plus a map. With 20 years of professional photography behind me, there are also lots of photos.

In addition to Sydney-based routes, there are fabulous rides further afield, including Melbourne, Albury, Wollongong, Newcastle, Thredbo, Jindabyne, Uluru. There are over 120 rides posted, and twenty of these are in my own neck of the woods: Sydney’s Northern Beaches. There are also posts with practical suggestions, including Choosing an eBike, Keeping your eBike Healthy, Transporting eBikes and Tips for a Softer Ride. I hope you find these useful.

Feel free to comment on anything that attracts your interest and share your own favourite rides.


Richard Alaba, Visual Storyteller


PS: if you would like more detailed route information and you have a Strava account, please feel free to connect with me via my account name: Richard Alaba

PSS: keen movie goers are invited to visit my film review site at https://cinemusefilms.com

32 replies »

  1. Hi Richard. I have been very busy last couple of years in “retirement” HA! delivering real estate advertising flyers in local area. ( Compass Bicycle Couriers ) Finished up with total of SIX agents until getting too much for me. Now have just one agent for my paid senior cycling exercise, which is comfortable. My middle range Velectrix ebike lasted four years with over 10000 stops/starts ( letterboxes) until the motor blew last week. That’s one recommendation for the bike, but what followed was very disappointing. I walked into two local ( Penrith ) bike shops with $2.5 – 3K on my card ready to update. In both shops I was the only customer with two shop assistants pretending to be busy. Not one of those shop assistants approached me to help me part with my money and to choose a suitable e bike. Sad state when you have money to spend and no, generally crying poor small business wanting it. Sorry for the whinge. My question to you is, do you think a electric road bike would be suitable delivering letterbox advertising material on both concrete, but mostly grass footpaths. Any advice would be great. Thanks Bill Griffith


    • Nice to hear from you Bill; you’re an inspiration. The attitude of mostly younger sales staff IMO is based on their fear of not understanding the needs of older riders. I’m no expert but most electric road bikes are designed to be ridden on smooth surfaces with little suspension and often a low-bend position. If you are riding on variable surfaces I’d stick with a hybrid or a MTB. cheers, Richard


      • Thanks Richard great advice. I will persist in trying to spend (tax payers money, ie; my pension) in a bicycle shop that realises my needs and understands my motive in wanting to assist in paying their wages and rent.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Richard,

    Are you still doing this?

    We would like to showcase you across our magazine.

    Please get in contact with me.

    John Vickery
    Beaches COVERED.
    0412 415 657


  3. Hi Richard
    More from the local confusing cycling public, namely my local postman. Says Australia Post is testing out ebikes and when I asked how long do they hold their charge for starting and stopping at each letterboxes. His answer was ” while we pedal the battery charges” and lasts all day. On a good day I get 3-4 hours before needing a charge. That’s roughly 700 stop/starts. Asking my local cycling shop this question the answer was, NO the battery doesn’t charge while pedalling. Do you have any ideas about this.
    PS, am still delivering real estate flyers. Now have THREE local agents. This is turning into a full time job, and I’m retired. My problem is I can’t say no. Even when I tell them I’m having a day or two off they UNDERSTAND and wait.


    • Hi Bill; you must be in great shape with all the professional riding you are taking on. Unless Australia Post has sourced some ‘next generation’ ebikes that self-charge on pedalling, then no, today’s generally available ebikes do not self-charge. It is only a few years away, but all ebikes will eventually have a partial self-charge capacity that will greatly extend their range. You have to expend energy to create energy, so it will never be 100% self re-generating. cheers.


    • Electric motors draw the amount of power they need to push the bike along from the battery. The heavier the load the more power they need to draw from the battery. Going uphill draws more power than travelling on flat ground. If you pedal, the load on the motor is reduced and the motor draws less power so the battery lasts longer. Pedaling does not recharge the batteries, it only reduces the power used. I try to use my pedals as often as possible and actuallt turn off the motor when Im on flat ground. The battery lasts a lot longer that way.


  4. Hi Richard. Heard today at local gossip shop about a recent ebike battery explosion in Sydney? That did considerable damage to nearby building. Have u ever heard of something like this happenning, anywhere? Bill Griffith.


    • It was in today’s Sydney Morning Herald Bill, and included a warning not to leave batteries on charge overnight. Its my understanding (not professional advice) that the problem relates more to cheaper ebikes with generic batteries rather than reputable brands. Lithium ion batteries are not in the high risk group.


  5. Richard, could you give your thoughts & experiences with breakdowns or similar issues? I would be riding on my own, and no NRMA for bicycles!! … Is there???

    Liked by 1 person

    • You could look into the Rider Rescue service offered by bicyclenetwork.com.au But apart from that, my best insurance is tubeless tyres. I’ve not had a puncture in two years and if I do get a thorn I can repair from the outside. Risk management for the unforeseen depends on the terrain you ride on, but a well maintained premium bike is my best bet.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Richard,
    Thanks for your web site, we have tried some of the trails on conventional bikes. Interestingly enough we have just returned fron NZ doing some mountain tracks on hired ebikes ! We had a blast , Now i am hooked and are looking into getting one. You mention you are on your third ebike, we were wondering what caused you to change and end up with the Merida ( good bike btw). Just trying to avoid intrative purchases 😜

    Best Regards Martin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question Martin. I changed from my first bike, a rear drive Spanish made EVO full suspension, because I felt unsafe on what I found to be an aggressive accelerating machine. I could even ride UP Watsons Bay hill without pedelling at all. Even after a new sensor I was not happy, so I upgraded to the polar opposite. A premium German mid-drive hard-tail with only 50mm of front suspension. I believed at the time that all my riding would be on sealed paths but thats not how my preferences evolved. I could not take the Kalkoff onto anything other than a smooth surface or my bones would jangle. It was actually painful. So once again I was in the hunt for a machine that I could ride practically anywhere I wanted. After testing several, nothing matched the ride quality and ergonomic responsiveness of the Merida. I had the suspension tuned by specialists and added the Thudbuster and a brilliant padded Serfas seat and I can now ride 5-6 hours without any saddle or impact discomfort. I’m too old for fast descents or jumping rocks, but if I’m on a footpath and want to go over a kerb to let a mum and pram pass I can ride over anything and many times its proven to add significant margins of safety to my riding. BTW, its smart to challenge people on their bike choices as it will help you avoid the cost of an inappropriate purchase for your particular riding needs.


  7. G’day Richard
    Pleasure bumping into you (numerous times ) out at Lane Cove last Sunday.
    I’m Firefighter Jen. Hope you recall.
    The offer for a guided ride around Ourimbah is there for tomorrow, Thursday 14th if you can make it.
    Otherwise keep my contact details for any other future adventures in the region.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice to hear from you Sam. All rides return to the starting point which are identified in the ride report as well as on a Strava or Google map. Have you ridden any of the ones here or do you have a favourite you can share?


  9. My ebike and me don’t feel safe on the roads around Fairlight, so I use the footpaths, some of which are bike-designated. The police ignore me,as they do anyone riding on the footpaths. However I do respect pedestrians, and slow or stop as necessary

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you Lars; many riders use the footpaths without any inconvenience to pedestrians. But there are omany who have given up riding completely believing that they may incur a penalty for riding on their local footpaths. I have raised the issue with local Council, Bikes NSW, U3A, and the Council on the Aging to gather support for a rule change. Any support from you and your friends very welcome. Thanks for commenting.


  10. Hi Richard, What a wonderful resource you have created!! Thank you. I have owned a Merida EBig Tour 7 300 for over a year now and living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, have traveled over 4,000 km on it, over some of the rides you have listed. Would love to be in contact with other interested riders.

    Liked by 1 person

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