Solar Ebike

An earlier discussion about a camping trip with friends led to the innovative idea of an electric bike with trailer powered by solar panels. This provided the perfect opportunity to test our ebikes and perhaps develop a new product.

We decided to have an Ebike camping trip along the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail from Wangaratta to Bright via Beechworth then back to Wangaratta from Bright via Milawa. The electric bikes we took were Hirun ETU with 11Ah Lithium battery which carries approxamatly 10kg in the panniers and the Jamis E-Coda Comp with 11Ah Lithium battery and 60Watt 36V solar panels fitted to a trailer weighing about 45kg.

Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Map

Murray 2 Mountain Taylor Gap & Bowman Station
YouTube Video

Murray 2 Mountains Tarrawingee Station
YouTube Video

The rail trail goes through a beautiful part of North East Victoria with both hard climbs and easy flat sections. It was a challenge to test our products under all sorts of unexpected weather and road conditions. Our confidence has been reassured when we finished this 5 day 250km trip, with 1,250 meters of climbing, successfully at Wangaratta.

Detailed Ride Profile of This Trip Here

Day 1 Friday, 6th Jan 2012

Had to reduce trailer weight by 10 kg from 55 kg.
Stayed in tent at Wangaratta Caravan & Tourist Park, warm and dry.

Day 2 Saturday, 7th Jan 2012

Wangaratta to Beechworth via Everton
(49km total)

After a nice lunch at Everton General Store, we started a 15 km climb from Everton to Beechworth in the heat with a climb of 370 m over 15 km averaging 2.5% gradient with peaks of 6% plus.
At the top of the climb we visited Pennyweight Winery, 2km from Beechworth. ETU battery charged at caravan park reception office, Coda battery charged by solar panel as we travelled.
Stayed in tent at Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park, hot and dry.

Day 3 Sunday, 8th Jan 2012

Rest day in Beechworth
It rained most of the day from early morning, wet and cold. We had to cancel the plan of riding to Stanley. Instead, we went for guided tour around historic Beechworth town. Back to caravan park, we used the outdoor fireplace shelter to dry the cloth and had a BBQ underneath.
Weather improved in the afternoon, we had a nice walk around the pretty lake Sambell before sunset. Coda battery barely charged by solar panel due to the weather but topped up the next morning once the sun came out.
Stayed in tent at Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park, windy but not too cold.

Bike Arts RMB on Diffey Road towards Everton

Day 4 Monday, 9th Jan 2012

Beechworth to Bright via Everton and Myrtleford
(69km total)

Lunch at Alpine Gate Cafť beside Information Centre, highly recommended. Local wines are sold at Information Centre with very reasonable prices. Just out of Myrtleford, the Trailerís wheel almost fell off due to the loose wheel release but it was an easy fix.
Close to Porepunkah, the Solar panel frame broke. We managed to ride into Bright. With the help from Zack at Crispy Hardware & Timber, we fixed the broken frame just before they closed. And we learn something we can improve on the solar panel fitting in the future.
Coda battery was charged by solar panel through the day, good weather for it. ETU battery still had a lot of energy, so didnít need to be recharged.
Stayed in tent at Bright Holiday Caravan Park, un-seasonally cold at night, feeling like winter.

Camping site at Lake Sambell Caravan Park, Beechworth

Phoenix Tree Sculpture at Myrtleford Spot the Bird

Day 5 Tuesday, 10th Jan 2012

Bright to Myrtleford (30km total)
Showers at the time, strong head wind most of the trip. Out of Bright, we had a cup of coffee at Porepunkah Rail Trail Cafe and visited Gapsted Winery on the way.
Later in the afternoon, we arrived Myrtleford and settled in Ardens Caravan Park. Didn't want to miss the chance to explore Myrtleford, we had a 1.5hr walk around Reform Hill historic mining site, overlooking the town from the top before sunset.
ETU battery charged from main in cabin, Coda battery charged by solar panel during day.
Stayed in a cabin at Arderns Caravan Park Myrtleford, which was a luxury for us.

Visit to local bike shop at Bright

Overlooking Myrtleford from the top of Reform Hill

Day 6 Wednesday, 11th Jan 2012

Myrtleford to Wangaratta via Milawa (61km total)
Rain and shower in early morning, cleared in late morning but windy all day. Had lunch at Everton Station with the stuff we carried and very nice to meet some people there from Wodonga who work for the High Country Rail Trail Development.
After fighting with extreme head and side wind on the way towards Milawa, our effort was rewarded by the delicious Cheese and coffee at Milawa Cheese Factory.
Because the rail trail was difficult to identify, we rode along road back to Wang with the delightful tail wind. The yummy local produces we bought on the trip made up a luxurious banquet at camping site to celebrate the finish of our successful ebike camping trip.
Stayed in tent at Wangaratta Caravan and Tourist Park, cold and dry.

Banquet at Wangaratta Caravan &
Tourist Park camping site

ETU with 11Ah Lithium Battery, carrying panniers
(approx. 5-10kg)

ECODA with 11Ah Lithium Battery and 60Watt 36V solar panels, hauling a trailer weighing about 45kg.

Little break out of Bowser, on the way to Beechworth

Zoe on ETU with full loaded panniers

Where are we?

We are here!

Beautiful sunset at Lake Sambell

Fixed our solar panel frame at Crispy's Hardward &
Timber shop, Bright

Water break at Eurobin Station

Overlooking Myrtleford from the top of Reform Hill

Steve fighting head wind through plains towards
Bowman Station

Lunch at Everton Station

Sculpture made with recycled materials at the
back of Milawa Cheese Factory