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ADV NewsRider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On E-Motorcycle

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On E-Motorcycle

Challenging 13,000 km journey across Africa lands rider in the records books.

Published on 01.04.2024

It’s one thing to cross a continent on an electric motorcycle, accompanied by a fleet of support vehicles and your buddy riding next to you (see “Long Way Up”). It’s quite another to do it solo with no assistance, no back up bikes and no generator chasing you. That’s how veteran adventure rider Sinje Gottwald crossed the length of Africa, completing a 124-day journey along the continent’s West Coast on a CAKE Kalk AP. Starting from Spain and ending in South Africa, Sinje rode the entire journey completely unaided by technical or medical support.

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On E-Motorcycle

Faced with daily challenges ranging from the continent’s inclement weather and terrain, to her ability to charge the bike and the risks posed by dehydration, Sinje started her journey with two batteries (each giving a range of roughly 40 miles), two chargers, spare parts including a controller, display, throttle, chain, fuses, tools, a laptop in case her bike required a software update or remote support, a camera, and her personal belongings.

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On E-Motorcycle

Offering 7.87 inches of suspension travel, the Kalk is equipped with an external charger for standard 110 V outlets that allows for full recharges in three hours and up to 80% in two hours. To increase the miles she could cover between charges, Sinje would swap batteries after riding about 50 km (31 miles) and continue her ride until her spare was nearly depleted. She would then recharge both batteries simultaneously and repeat the process which she says allowed her to cover as much as 200 km (124 miles) per day.

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On Electric Motorcycle

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“Finding places to charge was the hardest part, in some areas it was extremely difficult, and I had to plan the day very thoroughly,” explained Sinje. “Many times, I didn’t know if I would find a place to charge at all! I had a couple of minor crashes in difficult terrain at low speed, but more than once I was almost run over by cars; traffic is crazy and cars that overtake don’t leave any space!”

In total Sinje’s journey covered 13,000 km (8,078 miles) in just 124 days and required less than 140 charges. Besides the challenges of finding a place to recharge, she shares that the bike had some advantages such as its extremely low weight of 176 lbs, plus the trip was significantly cheaper since she didn’t have to spend money on fuel. 

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On Electric Motorcycle

Repairs were also minimal. “Maintenance was almost zero, adjusting and lubing the chain was basically it. Some minor issues that could be fixed,” adds Sinje. “It drew so much attention, wherever I stopped people would come and ask about it, many said it was the first time for them to see an electric motorcycle. They couldn’t believe I came from so far away!”

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On Electric Motorcycle

Starting on October 14, 2022, in Spain and ferrying across to Morocco, Sinje’s trans-continental adventure began, with the deep Moroccan sand causing the first technical difficulty with a blown fuse. Before long she entered the hallowed terrain of Mauritania and Senegal, famous for their role in the iconic Paris-Dakar Rally.

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On Electric Motorcycle

From Gambia she entered Guinea Bissau, where the entry into the country presented the challenging but rewarding combination of muddy and waterlogged jungle tracks where no car could venture. Sinje continued down the majestic Ivory Coast, onwards through Ghana (which included a 24-hour wait at the border) Cameroon and Angola. She finally arrived in South Africa to complete her unforgettable 13,000 km journey.

Rider Makes First Unassisted, Solo Crossing Of Africa On Electric Motorcycle

“With this adventure I not only wanted to open up my own and people’s views and ideas about this continent but also give an example of what is possible even if the challenges seem too big at first. We are capable of a lot more than we think.”

Photos by Sinje Gottwald

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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