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First unassisted African continent crossing on an electric motorcycle

A Swedish woman has made the first unassisted ride across Africa by electric motorcycle. Sinje Gottwald, a sales manager for Swedish e-bike manufacturer CAKE, rode a Kalk AP trail bike, covering over 8000 miles in 125 days. An experienced overlander, having ridden round the world by bike in 2017-20, she decided to take four months out of her sales job to ride the CAKE from Spain to South Africa.

“My dream was to see the world with my own eyes,” she said, “and open up my own and people’s views and ideas about Africa” – she also wanted to show that the 8,000 mile journey was possible on an electric bike without assistance. In 2019, German-born Thomas Jakel did ride the length of Africa on a Zero DSR, albeit with a back-up van (until that broke down irretrievably in Cameroon). Sinje’s CAKE had a couple mechanical problems – one burnt out fuse and a loose cable, but fortunately, any problems were easily fixed.

Charging was clearly the biggest challenge as the Kalk AP is designed as a short-hop trail bike with a small 2.6kwh battery and a claimed range of 53 miles. Sinje charged it less than 140 times on the trip. Charging could also bring unwanted attention – in Liberia, she was forced to take the bike inside a building to charge when the watching became uncomfortably large.

After riding from Morocco through west and central Africa, including the unmade tracks of Cameroon, Gabon and Congo, she arrived in Cape town on 15th February 2023. “The Kalk was simply amazing!” she said. “Maintenance was almost zero, adjusting and lubing the chain was basically it. The bike drew so much attention, wherever I stopped people would come and ask about it – they couldn’t believe I came from so far away!”

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, was impressed: “ A fantastic adventure, with impressive reliability. Mind you 8,000 miles divided by 140, comes out at 57 miles per charge, so that range figure looks reasonably realistic, which makes a nice change. Perhaps Sinje is very easy on the throttle?”

Read the full press release  – Press Release – CAKE’s Sinje Gottwald

Written by Peter Henshaw

All images courtesy of CAKE and Sinje