8077 miles across Africa in 124 days on an electric motorbike? Piece of Cake…

16 Feb 2023

Here’s the ultimate proof that electric motorbikes can be used for more than short urban commuting: an intrepid adventurer has just completed a 124-day, 8077-mile trek down the West Coast of Africa on a Cake Kalk AP.

The epic journey is the first unassisted crossing of the African continent on an electric motorbike – and believed to be the longest trip yet undertaken by an e-motorbike. It was completed by Sinje Gottwald, and while her day job is a B2B account manager for Cake, the German is a veteran two-wheel adventurer: in 2017 she completed a solo circumnavigation of the world. 

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Gottwald’s ride for her epic journey was the Cake Kalk AP, a variant of the Swedish firm’s off-road bike that was developed specially for anti-poaching patrols in Africa. The 56mph machine uses an 11kW motor mated to a 2.6kWh battery that offers a range of up to three hours.

For the expedition, Gottwald carried two batteries and two chargers, along with spare parts including a controller, display, throttle, chain and fuses. As well as tools she also carried a laptop in case she needed to do a software update on her bike.

Gottwald’s journey began on October 14 last year with a ferry from Spain to Morocco, where the country’s deep sand presented the first of many challenges – and caused a fuse burn-out.

From there, Gottwald journeyed through Maurtiania and Senegal – hallowed ground for intrepid bikers from its user in the Dakar Rally – and then into Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Travelling through the tropical country meant using muddy and wet jungle tracks, which Gottwald described as one of the most memorable moments of the trip.

“It was a challenging journey through the jungle on a track that was not accessible to cars,” she said. “Despite the difficulties, reaching the other side provided a great sense of accomplishment and boosted my confidence in the motorcycle, as it was able to navigate deep water, mud, and sand with ease.”

The route then progressed through Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast and – after a 24-hour delay at the border – Ghana, before progressing through Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Gabon, Cameroon, Congo, Namibia and Angola. Gottwald finished her journey in Cape Town, South Africa on February 15.

The exact route and overnight stops were largely determined by where Gottwald could find electricity to charge the bike. Still, the machine was an able companion, with only minor mechanical issues. As well as the burnt fuse in Morocco Gottwald also had a fix a loose cable connection, fix an issue due to an overtightened screw in Guinea, and a burned fuse on the battery, likely caused by a dodgy power outlet.

“The Kalk was simply amazing,” said Gottwald. “Maintenance was almost zero, adjusting and lubing the chain was basically it. Some minor issues that could be fixed, and I didn’t have a single flat tire.”

Gottwald said that the aim of the trip was to showcase e-motorbike technology and to experience the African continent. She added: “ 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.”

It certainly proved that e-motorbikes are capable of a lot more than some sceptics think…


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