Travellers' Tales: Free and e-zee

E-bikes have opened up Stuart and Pauline Graham’s touring horizons again

Oour e-bikes have given us back our cycle touring freedom. When we were in our 40s we had some great trips, our favourite being the Route des Grandes Alpes from Thonon on Lake Geneva to Menton on the Med. We’re in our 70s now and had begun to look for flatter routes; we could no longer ride where we liked.

Then a year ago we bought Cube e-bikes. We rode them in the Lakes and Dales, revisiting fell tops that we hadn’t managed for years. Then, in September, we returned to the Route des Grandes Alpes.

We cycled 840 miles over 25 cols. The downhills were fantastic on such stable bikes with disc brakes. We didn’t use more than half of each bike’s battery during the days, then charged them overnight.

We had only one day of bad weather. There were a few flakes of snow on the Col d’Izoard, and we were so cold we put everything on. The rest of the time it was perfect: warm, dry, with light winds.

Many of the people we met were amazed at what you could do on an e-bike. They thought they were just for riding around town and shopping. We took three weeks in all, cycling back via the Gorges du Verdon, then north through the Chartreuse and back to our campervan, which we had left near Annecy.