There seems to be a movement taking place on the roads and that is for electric powered bicycles, or 'E-bikes' for short. It makes climbing steep hills a breeze and opens up a whole new world to cyclists and non-cyclists alike. In short, the world of hilly or even mountainous terrain.
My first encounter with an E-bike was on a trip to Italy. It was a 3 week site-seeing holiday where I would spend the last week in the Dolomites to ride the 'Maratona' Granfondo. Keen not to gain weight on 'aperitivo' leading up to it, I was rising early and riding before the day's eating and drinking adventures.
Hans and Katrijn, Jan-Klaus and Lieze from Belgium joined us during the summer. They are veterans of cycle touring, having ridden in far flung places around the world. Their preference was to come to Hokkaido for this trip, having heard of abundant back roads and temperatures conducive to cycling for that time of year.
Our first clients from the Philippines joined us over the summer. Buddies from a triathlon club in Manila on their first non-competitive cycling trip abroad.
The guys tell me that they drive out of Manila with bikes on vehicles to escape the dense roads, crammed with diesel cars and trucks. Apparently when it rains the diesel fumes liquefy on to your face. The riding is apparently pretty good once out in the hills around the city though with much fewer cars.