Bicycle tours with electric bikes in Chile
Estancias & Ebikes in Patagonia
I just returned from an epic bike tour in southern Chile: Estancias & Ebikes in Patagonia.
I was invited to test a new e-mtb tour with one of our key partners in Patagonia. After two years of planning and designing the perfect bicycle tour in Patagonia, we finally were able to put it to a test.
One of the biggest challenges of cycling in Patagonia is the weather, especially considering the windy conditions that can at times reach up to 60 mph gusts in the summer months (mid-December to early March). We made several previous attempts and learnt our lessons the hard way. So, along with my friend Gonzalo “Pampa” Fuenzalida, an expert outfitter in Patagonia, having studied every corner of the map and knowing the key vendors throughout Ultima Esperanza province, (as well as my expertise in bicycle tourism), we were eager to finally hit the backroads on brand new electric hard-tail mountain bikes.
The plan was to put together a bike tour that not only will include the amazing landscapes of Patagonia, but also the fantastic cultural aspects of its many Estancias, which are the cattle ranches that still operate in the surroundings of Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park. Gonzalo has been working with the “estancieros” (ranch owners) to become a tourist attraction without losing their cultural roots, and he certainly did a wonderful job.
In 2001, Gonzalo started his company focusing on his #1 passion, horseback riding, and this ebike tour follows the same routes made by horseback. Even the first European explorers such as Lady Florence Dixie and William Greenwood rode in awe of the wilderness of Patagonia, so there is a strong historical heritage on every pedal stroke we took.
During 7 days, we ebiked 215km (133 miles) and stayed in comfortable Estancia guest houses, all simple and very cozy, located in front of jaw-opening natural settings. This well-supported and guided bicycle tour included a private chef that cooked all our meals and snacks. I didn’t feel guilty about all those extra calories, as biking on ebikes is still an active sport; you need to push through and get your heartbeat going since this pedal-assisted bikes will only work if you keep pedaling.
Bicycle Tourism, the smart way
The one thing I love the most about bicycle tourism is that I consider it the smart way to travel and discover a new (or already familiar) destination. While travelling on your saddle, you can cover long distances (between 40km and 100km per day) and take-in all the elements that are surrounding you. You can enjoy the views, hear the sound of nature (animals, wind, rivers, bugs, etc.) and smell all the aromas (good and bad alike). You are completely immersed in the landscape, and only after you experience an adventure like this, you realize how much you miss out when you are in a car or van.
The most fabulous part? You start your morning by biking from one hotel to the next one, and as such you can stay active all day. That way, in the evening you can eat amazing local food and indulge in local wine and beer to your heart’s content, turning your weight watch app on airplane mode with the knowledge that you’ll burn off all those hard-earned calories with tomorrow’s ride.
The magic of pedal-assisted electric bikes
All things considered, I’m a pretty average cycling enthusiast, I’m in my mid-forties, I don’t train, and you will never see me taking part in a bike race. That said, I genuinely love biking and try to do it as much as possible. I feel so lucky that biking tours are part of my job, and I take each and every opportunity to get on a bike.
In 2018 I started experimenting with electric bikes. It was with my friend Gonzalo that we took a self-guided bicycle tour in Italy, with the twist of including ebikes as part of the experience. That trip really blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how pedal-assisted bikes worked. You sweat and your heart beat faster, but on the hills or windy sections, you just press the button to sport or turbo mode and you are flying uphill at 25 or 30km/h.
You can keep all the fun and take the pain you put into your body out of this equation of happiness – no more pain or suffering and just fun and joyous biking. I used to take painkillers and muscle rub cream for my knees after every ride. I was sore, tired and happy with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, and now with the ebikes I’m still so very happy but can forget about my aching joints. The Estancias and Ebike tour in Patagonia was no exception; just as much fun, and without the pain.
Ebike tours in Chile
At Amity Tours we are convinced electric bikes will bring in more and more people into bicycle tourism. Knowing that a pedal-assisted bicycle is available on all our tours will take away all your fears. You’ll definitely won’t be at the tail of the group, and those hilly roads will not be an excuse to skip the “book now” button. That’s why we have partnered with Specialized bicycles and now we offer the most modern bike fleet for your next bike tour in Chile, with both analog and electric bike options.
Check out our curated bicycle tours in Chile here (including the one in Patagonia): https://www.amity-tours.com/tours/bike-tours/
See you on the road !!