Austin-Lehman Adventures Introduces Electric Bicycle Option On European Biking Tours

9 March 2011

‘World’s Best’ Tour Operator Again Breaks New Ground For Guest Enjoyment of International Cycling Adventures

Billings, MT– Award-winning tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA), the active travel company setting adventure tour standards in Yellowstone National Park, Europe, Africa and beyond, announces that it is charging up its European biking tours this year by being one of the first US tour operators to introduce electric bicycles as an option on all of its European cycle tours.

This move has already made a difference for business. One New York couple who have taken 54 Austin-Lehman Adventures biking vacations were ready to hang up their helmets until they learned that electric bikes would now be an option. They’ve just booked three more adventures this summer. Tour alumni Patty and Brian Hohner always had a Tuscany biking adventure on their bucket list but they were intimidated by the hills. Once they heard about e-bikes they immediately signed up.

The company’s cycling tour veteran and director of European operations, Ron van Dijk, explained that e-bikes can enhance an experience and widen the appeal to travelers who were once intimidated by cycling hill terrain or moderate distances.

“With e-bikes now anyone, regardless of age, strength or ability, will be able to take on even the most strenuous tour itinerary,” said van Dijk.  Over his 40 years in the industry he has witnessed many changes in the way bicycles have been used in European vacations, from the use of increasingly lighter touring bikes and gears moving from 10 to 27 gears, as well as high-tech brakes and now, battery-powered bikes.

“Electric bikes, originally the rage of bike commuters, are quickly becoming the next major evolution in recreational cycling, with Austin-Lehman Adventures leading the way in Europe by offing an e-bike option to guests on all of their multi-day cycle tours,” said Dan Austin, founder and owner.

Essentially e-bikes level the playing field, Austin said. Couples can cycle together without fear of leaving a companion in the dust. For the first time the arm chair/casual cyclist thinking of an Italy bike tour can do a challenging trip like Tuscany without fearing long ascents. The bikes are ideal for multi-generational groups and families.

The use of e-bikes has grown in popularity with European commuters over the past several years; statistics show that there has been an 83 percent increase worldwide e-bike use since 2007.

Austin-Lehman Adventures will use the latest model Diamant electric bikes with Trek Ride+™ technology. This is a lightweight aluminum frame bike with a lithium ion battery-operated motor that when engaged boosts a rider’s natural human power, enabling him/her to pedal with less effort farther and faster. When the course gets steep and a rider is ready for extra power, the rider hits a button and selects an assist level I to IV and continues pedaling. At day’s end batteries are removed and charged for tomorrow’s ride.

Those opting for an environmentally friendly e-bike option will be assessed $25 per day per e-bike on European itineraries. Plans call for adding the same service on US itineraries in the near future.

Austin noted that the 2011 season is beginning to fill up and that people who want to travel with one of Travel + Leisure’s Best Tour Operators in the World should consider booking their plans now.