Fun While In Isolation: Dieter & Fiona

Fun while in isolation with ebikes: Dieter & Fiona

Fiona and Dieter own an ebike each and one day, out of the blue, Dieter very kindly sent us some video of him taking his 25kg pooch, June, for a ride. Well, before you know it we decided it would be entertaining to do a ‘You Can’t Ask That’ style video. When you’re at home in isolation it’s a fun little side project hey?

Here is the result. Enjoy the insightful and candid responses, find out why Bunnings is a top destination ride and how having ebikes has helped make life in isolation fun.

Some background

Fiona and Dieter live in Red Hill in Brisbane (ie steep hills). Fiona rides an Orbea Katu E-10 compact electric bike which they shared for a couple of years until Dieter recently got a Riese & Muller Packster 40 front loader cargo ebike.

The ‘You Can’t Ask That’ Questions

  1. Its been tough with the Covid-19 measures but will it ultimately be good for our communities and families?
  2. What have you used your ebike for that you never imagined you would?
  3. How has having an ebike helped you (or not) during the past few weeks?
  4. Many people think front-loader cargo ebikes like the Packster 40 are hard to ride. How has it been for you?
  5. Has having an ebike made you lazier?
  6. What’s your favourite ride or place to visit with your ebike(s) and why?

We Asked: They Answered. The Video. 

It’s been tough with Covid-19 but will it ultimately be good for our communities and families?

(F) It's definitely been tough. I think we've all been challenged and I think it definitely will ultimately be good for our families and communities.

From what I see when I’m out and about on my bike or walking the dogs around the streets is that a lot more families are out and about as a group on their bikes. It’s given people the opportunity to stop and take some time out and do some really cool stuff together. Cycling is definitely one of those things i think people have appreciated.

(D) People have found ways to enjoy their sort of solitude.  And they have found other ways to entertain themselves and have probably increased creativity more. There's a lot more funnier things being created on the internet right now!

But also I think getting outside of the house and off the screens has probably been one of the things that I've noticed that people are appreciating. The outdoors and each other's family company.

What have you used your ebike for that you never imagined you would?


We've got a cargo bike so on a whim we decided to buy a golden cane palm. We put it in the front of the front-loading cargo bike and got a lot of curious looks on the way home. 

Riese & Muller Packster 40 cargo ebike with golden cane palm

(F) For me, I've got an Orbea with a front and back basket.  I went to the shops and literally did a full grocery shop. I managed to fit it all in both the front and back basket. I was really surprised about how much I could carry and comfortably ride - bottles of milk and cans of stuff. That was probably the one thing that i never imagined I would carry.

(D) I've always dreamed of carrying my dogs around and that dream has come to reality now that I've got a front-loading cargo bike.

How has having an e-bike helped you (or not) during the past weeks?

(D) I honestly never thought that it would help me as much as it has the last few weeks. Just getting out instead of jumping in the car, you know dealing with traffic lights and going the same routes that you always go.

Jumping on an e-bike's been fantastic because you can go for longer distances than you would on a normal bike but you get to explore these really cool back streets and bike paths.

There's been so many different tracks that I've never been along before so, yeah, really cool. Most of the time it's just as fast if not faster than being in a car.

It's been fantastic to get the breeze and just really feel alive again and at one with nature and your surrounds instead of being stuck at home or in a little capsule of a car.

So yeah it's given me a few things. I've saved on petrol even though petrol prices are cheap at the moment but they are going up from what I see.

I actually haven't driven my car or taken my car out for an errand in about a month and a half so i'm just using household electricity to to get around, do chores and also get the blood flowing.

(F) I think its also helped me get outside; give me a nice purpose for leaving the house and helps you clear the mind as you feel the breeze on your face. That feeling of a little bit freedom, and being able to do things that you know you wouldn't normally do on a bicycle.

Also when you're out on a bike and people are walking or people are riding you say hi to each other. It's a really nice sense of community that you can do that.

Many people think that front loader ebikes are hard to ride. How has it been for you?

(D) I was initially nervous and it's kind of like learning how to ride again but with the knowledge of how to ride. 

You're re-learning a slightly different skill but not terribly harder. It's just a different way of handling a bike.

We've got a front loading cargo bike, the Riese & Muller Packster 40, and it can fit my 25 kilo dog in the front. It's just common sense. There are a few little tricks that you just need you figure out along the way.

I really wanted one so I didn't let it deter me from trying to figure out how to ride it. If you know how to ride a bike you'll know how to ride a cargo bike. 

(F) You just need to be aware that it's a little bit longer. If you get nervous just walk it through any sort of obstacles. It's perfectly fine.  It's obviously got a bigger turning circle so you need to be a bit wary of that when you're manoeuvring around corners and trying to make u-turns but I've ridden it a few times and it took me probably 10 minutes to get used to it.

I don't have much cardio fitness so to get up the hills where we are in Red Hill and Paddington is a little bit trickier than with my Orbea but it's a really cool bike and we've found a lot of uses for it.

It's been very handy for us.

What's a tip you give to someone who's learning to ride it?

(D) Practice it in a quiet street and make sure you get your turns down pat. Maybe also try a few hills before you load it with weight.

(F) I think go to a big open field and just learn how the bike steers. It's easy. It'll take you all of five minutes to figure out it doesn't turn as sharply as a traditional bike so it's just adjusting your style.

I like my little Orbea because I'm not as an experienced rider as you so for me the basket on the front and the back is quite handy and enough for me. I definitely would ride the Packster. I have ridden it! Dieter just hogs it all the time so I don't have a chance to ride as much as he does.

Has having an ebike made you lazier?

No. Absolutely not. I think it's just so cool to get out and about on the bikes. It definitely hasn't made me lazy. It's increased my fitness regime if you call it that.

To be able to just quickly jump on the bike and go up the road to grab some stuff or do your Bunnings trip. Or even just jump on one of the bikeways and go and explore has been heaps of fun.

So definitely not made me lazier. If anything it's made me more active and also because it's a pedal assist my Orbea takes a lot of the strain out so you're not too tired after a ride.

(D) Yeah, definitely not lazier. It's obviously not as fitness intensive as a regular manual bike but because they're a little bit heavier you compensate with the amount of the amount of power that is helping you up versus the weight. I made sure we got pedal assist so it felt like you're still riding a bike.

I actually play a little game when I ride my bike. I try to ride and see how much battery life I can conserve. You get a lot of k's out. Good enduro.

(F) To be honest I don't do that. If I'm going up a hill I'll put it in turbo. If I'm flying along the pathway I'll take it down to eco mode but if I'm feeling tired or a bit lazy I'll bump that power up a bit more. It just makes my ride so much easier.

I can still work up a sweat. I'm exercising. My heart rate goes up on my watch so I know I'm doing something but it's just an easier ride. Especially in summer when it does get hot, in Brissie in particular.

To have that pedal assist that so you're not really sweating when you're going out for coffee with friends or going down to the shops it's been fantastic.

Oh and it's nice to be able to do like a sort of a calm workout whilst carrying a case of beer or carrying June, my 25 kilo dog around, or take away food or whatever.

(F) I like combining things if you’re time poor. It helps you get a bit of exercise because you can set it to eco and do a workout if you want while you do the groceries.

There's been times where I've met Dieter at a café and I'm like, yeah I'll meet you at home and I've been in the car and he's been on the e-bike and he's literally like a minute behind me so with regards to time factors, if it's local it's not an issue.

If we're traveling down south like to Sunnybank obviously it might take a bit longer but it's a really cool ride as well.

You've just got to plan it a tiny bit more to factor in a bit of extra time. The cool thing is that you don't have to find a park and wait for someone who's got a massive four-wheel drive to slowly reverse out of their park.

You just ride up to where you're going, chain your bike up to the pole and you're done and dusted which is really cool. I like the ease and use of that.

What's your favourite ride or place to visit with your ebike and why?

My answer to that would be it's actually given me more excuses to go out and find places to ride with an e-bike. I've got a habit now where I'll take June to the park and me and her will just hang out. We walk around a little bit and then ride home so I think that's my favourite at the moment.

Taking June out in the Riese & Muller Packster 40 cargo ebike

And going to the cafe to pick up a veggie box order.

(F) I have a couple. I love Bunnings so I love riding it to Bunnings. It's a really cool ride and you don't have to manoeuvre around car parks . You just go straight in and grab your stuff and go.

How busy was Bunnings the other day, man! Cars lining up to park. It was an awesome feeling to go straight in.

My second favourite place is that I just love riding over the go-between bridge. You look to the right and you see the river and it's just beautiful. Sometimes we're riding with the sun setting. I love the river so it's really cool to ride along it and ride over it.

Brisbane's Go-Between-Bridge at sunset

The new ride out to Hamilton is really awesome too because it's all along the river and it's another new place to explore.

The thing I love about Brisbane is that we are really focusing on bikeways and bike paths and there's always new places to explore and discover. It's pretty awesome.

Oh and Mount Coottha. Taking the bikes there for a picnic. Actually we did that the other day. Just loaded up with a bit of food, the dog, picnic blanket, books and just chilled out. It was awesome.

(D) I just get excited when I've found an excuse to use the bike instead of the car so it's like a game for me.

(F) So far the bike is winning. I washed his car the other week (well no it was probably three weeks ago). It hasn't been used since. Just collecting dust so we could definitely get rid of one car, potentially two depending on jobs.

If you are considering buying a car think about grabbing an e-bike first because you'd be surprised about how much you can use it.

Have you got any other questions? That's all :) 

Thank you Dieter & Fiona. For your time, effort and candid responses. Happy riding. 

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