Cruising down to OG Electric Avenue

It was great hearing Andrew’s riding adventures and mileage updates at our morning team meetings over the past month….all in the quest of a nice glass of Pinot.

Over to Andrew to explain why he’s increased the kms and decreased the wines....

- Tristan


By a happy coincidence 1 February 2024, the first day of my 1000km Cruise to Booze Challenge, was also Wellington City Council’s Go by Bike Day. So a simple commute to work would start things off - great! Unfortunately my commute that day wasn’t an easy roll down to the Wheelworks workshop,- instead I had a bunch of tools to drop back at the hire shop 30km away after a busy weekend pouring concrete. So my first effort at getting back on my bike and building some decent miles, having had a few months break from any major riding, started with a 3 meter concrete screed and bull float strapped to my bike and a bunch of oversized tools in my backpack.

I find riding serious distances much easier if I have a goal in front of me. When Karl from Ride Holidays sent round a newsletter about the proposed 1000km Cruise to Booze challenge, something clicked for me and I signed up immediately. The challenge required participants to ride 1000km during the month of February before they could enjoy an alcoholic beverage. If you had some special occasion for which you wanted a night off the wagon before your miles were done, you could pay an appropriate fine and then keep riding. I also set myself an “e-bike road user charge” to account for riding most of my km with some pedal assistance. All of the money raised (around $8000 so far across all the participants) goes directly to getting bikes to kids in areas who could not otherwise afford them.

Karl does amazing things at Ride Holidays. Along with providing outstanding guided cycling holidays throughout New Zealand and all over the world, he has partnered with Te Awakairangi Access Trust (TAKA Trust) to bring hundreds of bikes and helmets to tamariki at schools throughout New Zealand through the Bikes4Kids initiative. He’s constantly thinking up new riding challenges for his community of riders to raise money for the Trust - next up is a Climbing for Charity challenge in March/April. He also organises bike maintenance programs in Auckland and Wellington, going into schools and keeping their bike fleets up and running. He’s currently looking for more volunteers in Auckland, so please get in touch with him if you’re able to help out.

I managed to knock off most of my 1000km on my e-gravel bike (which cost me a fair bit in “road tax”!). I’m a huge fan of e-gravel - Tristan’s not yet convinced, but I firmly believe gravel bikes are ideal for lightweight, low power pedal assistance. My Strava indicates that overall I didn’t ride any faster than I would have on my lightweight road bike, but instead I was able to ride at road bike speeds while carrying a heap of gear on the bike, in all weather and wind directions, and with wide 45mm tyres that ate up rough surfaces and mixed terrain without fuss. I still ended up riding hard and significantly improving my fitness over the month.  

I built my e-gravel bike by converting a Turbo Vado SL flat-bar bike to drop bar and fitting lightweight components, including my less-than-subtle lime green and purple OG Carbon wheels with Berd Dyneema spokes. We’ve talked often about how Berd spokes and gravel bikes are a match made in heaven, and the OGs provided a magic carpet ride for my 1000km of mixed terrain riding. The high-frequency vibration damping is really noticeable when ripping along rough bike paths, and it significantly reduced body aches and fatigue, despite me being distinctly non-bike-fit at the start of the month. And of course the spokes build into super-lightweight wheels, meaning my e-gravel bike weighs in at just 14kg, including the motor, the battery and of course the kickstand!

I completed the 1000km on 23 February, and during those 1000km I discovered a heap of new gravel road goodness around my local district, a bunch of new bike paths between my home and work, and most importantly I rediscovered the joy of riding early mornings and long days. Thank you Cruise to Booze 2024, can’t wait for 2025!

- Andrew