2 February 2020

E-bike adventures taking off with special school holiday deal for Canberrans

| Glynis Quinlan
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Natasha Quinlan riding an e-bike around the lake with Glynis Quinlan riding behind her. Photo: Graham Tupper.

Canberra’s first electric bike adventure tours have sped off to a strong start, with city visitors taking to a ‘heart of Canberra’ tour and Canberrans now offered the chance to create their own adventures by hiring the bikes at a discount rate for the month of January.

The new e-bike adventures offered by Canberra Urban Adventures open up a new world for Canberrans who don’t fit the ‘lycra-clad’ cyclist mould but are keen to ride around Lake Burley Griffin and enjoy the beautiful scenery of a city with the rare blessing of having a cycle path all the way around its lake.

The special January offer for Canberra families also provides a good value outdoor school holiday attraction with groups of Canberrans able to hire the electric bikes for three hours for as little as $27 per person – and children aged 6-11 able to ride on the back of a specially equipped e-bike for free (see details later in the article).

Graham Tupper of Canberra Urban Adventures trialled the electric bike guided adventures late last year but has since revised his offerings and recently launched a range of tours available to visitors and locals alike – adding to the pedal kayak adventures he also has on offer.

His special holiday offer for Canberrans adds to the local appeal of the electric bikes and is aimed at making the city’s outdoor attractions more accessible and affordable for Canberrans – regardless of their fitness level or the equipment they own.

Already he has seen bike-riding in Canberra open up again for a woman recovering from breast cancer, people who thought they were very unfit and someone recovering from a knee injury.

“It makes accessible these types of adventures/experiences. You can do something you didn’t think was possible,” Graham said.

“My prices are set at reasonable levels which is another part of being accessible.”

Graham Tupper discusses some of the features of the area at a lookout. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.

The electric bikes are easy to use and riders can adjust the power settings as they ride in order to receive different levels of pedal assistance depending on how much exercise they want to get – or to get more help when going up hills.

Graham provides a briefing on how to use the e-bikes, along with helmets and safety tips.

The experience

Glynis Quinlan (left) and Natasha Quinlan enjoying the e-bike experience. Photo: Graham Tupper.

My 20-year-old daughter Natasha and I tried out the electric bike adventures recently with Graham as our guide and spent several hours exploring Canberra in a fun new way.

Starting at Black Mountain Peninsula, we completed the 16-kilometre western lake loop along with side trips to Parliament House (covering much of the ‘Inside the Heart of Canberra’ tour), Yarralumla Nursery and more.

With old pushbikes sitting in a state of disrepair in the family garage, cycling around Lake Burley Griffin hasn’t been much of an option before – and I doubt that my level of fitness would have held up to the task even if it was.

I have completed the bridge-to-bridge walk a couple of times but this was the first time either my daughter or I had cycled around such a large portion of the lake and it was a delightful experience.

We saw rowers practising on the lake, enjoyed cycling through the old cork oak forest, visited the site of the proposed National Rock Garden, stopped at lookouts, cruised around Scrivener Dam, checked out the kangaroos ‘guarding’ Government House, navigated Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and generally had a wonderful time really getting to know some of Canberra’s best outdoor attractions.

Rowers practising on the lake as we cycled past. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.

Graham had instructed us on how to change the power settings and the gears at the start – meaning we could get as much or as little ‘electric’ pedal assistance as we wanted. For us, this meant that we could comfortably ride the bikes and get a good amount of exercise while getting more assistance for the hills or if we were tiring.

Most of the time we were riding on easy-to-navigate cycle paths, moving safely off the paths at a range of places to stop and take in the sites or find out more from Graham about the area around us.

A side trip along a back path to Parliament House added to the adventure and had us playing tourist in our own city for a brief time – but from the very different vantage point of an e-bike.

Arriving back at where we had started, both Natasha and I were thrilled to have experienced a relaxed but fun outdoor adventure which revealed so many new and interesting things about our city and its beauty.

Special offer

Under the special school holiday offer for Canberrans for the month of January, the electric bikes can be hired for a three-hour self-guided adventure around Lake Burley Griffin or either the western or eastern lake loops.

E-bike hire includes helmets, maps and advice on routes and stopping points and starts at $160 for up to six e-bikes (the equivalent of about $27 per person). Extra bikes are then $20 per e-bike up to a maximum of 10 bikes.

Two children aged 6-11 can ride for free on the back of a specially-equipped EZEE ‘Expedir’ e-bike. An electric trike is also available for anyone who feels unsteady on two wheels (for shorter trips only).

Ben and Lucy from Canberra kangaroo-spotting on the back of the Expedir bike at Weston Park. Photo by Graham Tupper.

Groups can start and finish at a number of points around the lake including a lakeside picnic area.

Contact Canberra Urban Adventures on 0421 140 401 (mobile) or info@canberraurbanadventures.com to make a booking and advise on your preferred start/finish point.

Electric bike tours for visitors

Although only recently launched, a 1.5 hour ‘Inside the Heart of Canberra’ electric bike tour and a 2.5 hour ‘Nature of a Nation’ tour are already growing in popularity with interstate and overseas visitors to Canberra.

The ‘Inside the Heart of Canberra’ tour runs from 9 am to 10.30 am from Tuesday to Saturday when there are bookings and costs $38 per person, with children aged 6-11 free. It gets up close to Canberra’s iconic national buildings, tree-lined boulevards and some of the parklands around Lake Burley Griffin.

The ‘Nature of a Nation’ tour runs from 11 am to 1.30 pm and helps visitors discover why Canberra is known as the ‘bush capital’.

Trish and Vanessa at the Botanic Gardens during a ‘Nature of a Nation’ tour. Photo: Graham Tupper.

The itinerary includes journeying through the parklands around the lake to the Australian National Botanic Gardens for a short walk to the red centre garden, past a waterfall and along the rainforest gully – spotting wildlife along the way. There’s also time for lunch and to explore the National Museum of Australia. The cost of this tour is $68 per person with children aged 6-11 free.

Graham Tupper enjoying the rainforest mist during a ‘Nature of a Nation’ tour. Photo: Deb Melaluca.

Graham said these tours can be booked 12 hours in advance online at www.canberraurbanadventures, with a guaranteed departure. In case of bad weather, the tours are rescheduled or refunded.

Visitors or Canberrans can also arrange tailored trips or group charters by phoning 0421 140 401 or emailing info@canberraurbanadventures.com.

The writer of this article went on the e-bike trip as a guest of Canberra Urban Adventures.

Do you like the idea of making cycling around the lake more accessible for Canberrans and visitors? Do you think more needs to be done to build on and promote opportunities to enjoy the city’s outdoor attractions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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