Tuesday, 3 March 2020

G4OBK 1st E-Bike SOTA Activation G/TW-001 Round Hill

©Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey Media 010/20
Whilst I have cycled to summits several times in England and Scotland to activate them for SOTA, this ride was the first on my Bergamont E-Horizon 6 hybrid Electric Bike, which I purchased last September after hiring an E-Mountain Bike as a try out when I was on holiday in Austria. The bike is standard, except I have fitted a saddlebag which carries my radio and a few bits. I also upgraded the tyres to a more knobbly grade - Schwalbe Smart Sam. My travel pole and aerial parts were carried in a rucksack. Here is my trusty stead before it got covered in sand from the track:

The route chosen was from Bransdale, starting at SE633960, parking roadside on the moor. A track built for shooters goes north from here passing grouse butts (with many grouse calling). The direct distance to ride to the summit of Round Hill on Urra Moor from the Bransdale Road is just under 6 miles. I set off on my ride a few minutes before 1400 UTC. A steady ride (with a 1.5 mile routing error) which took me 50 minutes to cover the 7.25 miles and there I was on the summit. The e-bike has 4 levels of power drive available from the Bosch 11AH 400WH 36V Powerdrive battery. These levels are ECO, Tour, Sport and Turbo, easily set by a control on the handlebar. It also has 9 gears which I use all the time to match my effort with the amount of E-drive. So you can make your ride as easy or as hard as you wish....  On the ascent I ran the power at around 50% Tour, 20% sport, 20% Eco and 10% Turbo. On the downward leg I used mostly Eco and Zero on downhill sections, Tour setting provided a little help on the few short uphill sections on the return. The track surface had to be observed closely on the ride at all times, so as to pick the best line, as with any riding on rough surfaces. On the sand sections of the track where it was not so well compacted, there was some drag on the tyres. This route was approximately 60% compacted sand and 30 % rough gravel and 10% cinder - which was the short section of the old Rosedale iron ore railway line from Bloworth Crossing.

On the summit 

It was a decent day for a ride and comfortable whilst sat doing the activation on the highest point of the North York Moors. I used an Elecraft KX2 Transceiver (as used now by Special Forces) with an inverted vee link dipole on a 5m high pole. I also carried a Yaesu FT4 handheld with RH770 whip, however this only produced one contact with M0SMP in Middlesborough. On HF I first tried 20m CW (Morse) and 10 CQ calls produced no callers, so trusty 40m CW it had to be, followed by a short session on 30m CW before my time ran out and I had to leave. The log contained two summit to summit contacts on 40m with HB9IIO/P Dan and HB9CBR/P Bruno - both stations in Switzerland. 
G4OBK/P Station log 03/03/2020 G/TW-001 Round Hill 
On my ride back the maximum speed of 25 mph was achieved with a more direct ride down without my earlier navigational error, taking 31 minutes. I saw just one person on my 2.5 hour expedition, a singleton trials bike rider on Westside road, which is one of the the few legal off road tracks on the North York Moors which 4X4 vehicles and motorbike riders are permittted to use. Westside Road joins into the better known Rudland Rigg byway, which continues down into Farndale. The range on my bike's digital read out read 65 miles in eco mode when I started the ride, however due to me using up extra power in Tour, Sport and Turbo mode, the range was down to 25 miles on my return to the car, despite having ridden just 13 miles and not 40 miles. This was as expected.