Cycling is one of the things that really makes me Dutch. Cycling is part of daily life, a usual thing.
And because you don’t change when you emigrate, I cycle here in Portugal too.
Thanks to my electric bicycle, because otherwise, I can’t do it.
No way.

Nuno brought his 9-gear Gazelle from the Netherlands. Once we tried it to get up the mountain. Standing up, with an ugly face, putting all forces on the pedals! Four or five times we made the pedals go round and then we simply fell aside.
Going down was easy. Although not much was left of the brake pads…

My e-bike is a Haibike Sduro Trekking 5.0 from 2018 with a Bosch performance CX motor, a 500Wh battery and 9 gears. And it does most of the work when I go uphill. The first ride was a great experience: I could cycle up the mountain, unbelievable!
I must admit I needed the highest support level, turbo. Now that I’m more trained, I can also do it with a lower support level, sport.

Tips on electric biking in the mountains

If you are thinking about riding an e-bike in the mountains, a few tips based on my experience:

  • opt for a mid-drive system with the battery on the frame. In the mountains it is important to keep the weight in the middle
  • opt for a strong motor, the performance Line CX (torque up to 75 Nm and up to 300% support) is really needed in the mountains
  • choose a bike with more than 9 gears, occasionally I miss a larger or smaller gears
  • choose a bicycle with a very reliable and durable brake system
  • always wear a helmet
  • bring extra clothing, because in the mountains the temperature differences are sometimes large
  • choose clothing and helmet with a striking color, so you stand out more in traffic.

Do not ask me how far I can cycle with a full battery in the mountains, because I have not made long tours yet. I mainly bought the bike to occasionally make a round of 1.5 to 2 hours. And that is long enough. It is very tiring to cycle here. Not so much because of the climbs, but rather because you have to be alert all the time. If I go down, I drive at 50-60 km/hour. You don’t want to overlook a hole in the road then, or a sheep or a dog. And those are the surprises. But the sharp curves, bad tarmac and other road users unaware of cyclists, are always there. So after 2 hours, my concentration is finished.

But did I already tell you how great it is to cycle in the mountains? Looking over the landscape you think “I can’t do that“. But you can, even if you have bad knees and you’re not a trained semi-prof-cyclist.
And it is definitely not a usual thing! It’s fantastic!

Portuguese traffic rules for cyclists (regres de transito):

Note: updated 27-05-2019

  • a bicycle helmet is mandatory on an electric bike (not on a regular bike)
  • allowed to cycle in pairs, but only if situations allow it: clear site and less traffic)
  • forbidden to hold a telephone while on a bicycle
  • a headset is allowed, provided it is only used in 1 ear
  • use arms to show which direction you turn on crossing
  • the bicycle must have light, reflectors on the side and a bell
  • only allowed to take passengers in a special seat
  • children in a seat are required to wear a helmet
  • cycle on the right side of the road, as much as possible
  • if there is a cycling path, use it.

Portuguese words on the bike:

electric bikebicicleta elétrica
to cycleandar de bicicleta
to climbsubir
to descenddescer
cycling helmetcapacete de bicicleta
Look out!Cuidado!


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