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Old 9 May 2015
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Electric bikes

Hi all, I hope you have been enjoying some good rides. I am doing up a business plan and am just seeing if anyone has some advice.

I have moved from Australia to Norway, and live near one of Norway's most popular natural tourist attractions - Trollstigen (a mountain). We get between 750,000-1,000,000 visitors (including about 6-70 cruise ships per year) here per year (mainly between May-mid Oct). Currently the tourists either have to drive their car up the mountain, or catch a bus, which means there is alot of traffic congestion on the narrow mountain road. I am looking at the option of starting a business to tap into the tourist market. In short I am looking at hiring bicycles, electric bicycles and electric scooters to the tourists. The electric bikes are limited to 250watt and scooters to 45km/h. The range for each of the ones I am looking at is about 60-100km depending on weather, amount of hills and the riders weight. This suits my requirements.
Trips would mainly be up/down Trollstigen mountain, but there is also the scope to benefit other local tourism companies through my customers being able to ride to the other tourism businesses to undertake activities.
I would welcome any advice as to business considerations, including other ways to generate income. I have through of the hiring-out of go-pro cameras so customers can record their ride up/down the mountain; also potentially a photo transfer business where they can get a photo printed onto a mug or mousepad. Also the possibility of hiring out backpacks so they can take food, camera, water bottles etc with them. Also hiring out hi-viz vests for the safety conscious customer. Helmets are provided free of charge.
I would not conduct tours, but there is the scope to sub-contract these later so tourists can have guided tours (depending on the market)
The business is initially focused on green tourism, but I would like to grow the business to include motorcycle trips up the mountain for customers, on either a harley or a triumph.
Any advice as to business considerations, other potential sources of revenue, etc are welcome.

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Old 9 May 2015
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which means there is alot of traffic congestion on the narrow mountain road.
Add a few bikes on that 10% grade and I imagine the problem might get worse.

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Old 9 May 2015
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Cheers Tony, but bikes are a bit more maneuverable on the mountain, plus they can stop on the side so the riders can take photo's, and not slow the traffic.
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Old 9 May 2015
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Perhaps we are talking about different roads.

Keeping control of a bike on steep slopes isn't easy. Bikes going up steep hills aren't manoeuvrable at all because the rider is struggling to maintain steerage speed and gets the wobbles and stops. Can even fall over. Hairpin bends just add to the problems
Said to be up to 3000 vehicles a day so that is one vehicle every few seconds on a narrow road with more than a few being tour buses driven by people with a timetable to keep to and not all that much consideration for other road users..

I've only driven up it once in good conditions, but I would say that the prospect of having any bikes of any sort under control of novices intent on the view riding on whatever side of the road suited their desire for a picture, plus a steady stream of cars and small buses doing the same, might result in problems.

Still , you are right to do research first and one thing I'm sure you will look into very carefully is whether your bikes under the control of your typical average customers will be able to get going again up hill once they are stopped, and more important, whether they will be able to get down the hill again in once piece.
Perhaps the road has been improved a lot since I was on it, but I made the mistake of stopping part way up - above the bridge - and pulled off onto the loose gravel, and had a hell of a time getting mobile again.

I know there are very steep grades on parts of the Tour de France but even during practice there is a rule specifying minimum passing clearances between bikes and cars and my observations show the rule is generally respected. I didn't get the impression that that sort of respect applies in Norway

but amateurs on a 10% grade might be pushing it and anyway, I'm not sure there is enough road width to ensure safe operation of bikes and cars on that road..


Nice movie and I can see they have improved the road surface and it is wall to wall bitumen now, but it is still essentially a single lane road in parts and a lot of it has no continuous safety fences that would be needed for safe operation of bikes of any sort.

Got to see the scenery this time. last time I was too damn busy driving.

Checked whether you will be able to get insurance cover for the proposal? I'd say that might be the show stopper.


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Last edited by Tony LEE; 9 May 2015 at 20:41.
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Old 12 May 2015
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Sure looks different from the last time i was there, though that was a long time ago and in the middle of winter. My opinion would be that this is a non starter. a, i doubt that any average tourist would want to cycle up the side of the troll wall, that would be a pretty serious physical undertaking especially on a narrow road with cars and coaches all trying to get passed you. b, electric bikes offer little advantage over a car since the speed of the other traffic would govern your own progress, you can't carry as much stuff( picnic gear etc) and frankly it wouldn't be a shared experience in the same way that people who travel in cars would perceive it to be. c, the weather, I've been to Norway often enough to know that the weather is quite 'changeable' and who would choose to go up on a bike if it even looked like its about to pee down? Sorry if this seems like I'm trying to rain on your parade but i think that given the amount of capital outlay in obtaining all the kit necessary to get this off the ground, the financial risk versus reward equation doesn't work out in your favour. Whatever you do, good luck to you! M
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Old 13 May 2015
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Hey Matty, thanks for your reply. All points of view are worth considering. The local tourist office and business development centre both think there is a market for this business. I agree the weather is my main concern.
We get approx 60-70 cruise ships here per year and I am in the process of trying to get in touch with the operators to see if they would be interested in selling a guided ride to their passengers. There response will be a big indicator as to the viability of this. I am also after their input as to what would be preferred; electric bikes or electric scooters.
Thanks for your point of view.

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