A lot of people are still wary about using an electric vehicle to take a long trip, but Sinje Gottwald is not one of them. The German adventurer has been to many places using an electric motorcycle.
Earlier this year, she achieved a remarkable milestone, completing a 124-day ride across the length of Africa on an electric motorcycle.
Sinje rode the entire 13,000 km-long journey completely unaided by technical or medical support. Her four-month journey from Spain to South Africa is aimed at highlighting the possibilities of vehicle electrification and a safe, sustainable future. The trip is the longest distance ever covered on a battery-powered motorcycle.
Who Is Sinje Gottwald?
Sinje Gottwald is a tech professional from Germany who works as CAKE B2B Account Manager. A veteran of motorcycle adventures, she got the attention of the world in 2017 when she accomplished a solo circumnavigation of the world. Her other expeditions include travelling overland from Europe to Asia, travelling from South to North America overland and exploring Australia.
Following her journey across Africa, Sinje agreed to change position for a few months from being the CAKE German B2B Sales manager to becoming the company’s most prestigious field tester and Africa Explorer. Stefan Ytterborn, CAKE CEO and founder, has been one of Sinje’s biggest motivations. CAKE is a Swedish maker of premium lightweight, electric motorcycles and mopeds.
How Sinje Gottwald Rode Across Africa on an Electric Motorcycle
Sinje readied herself for the journey with two batteries, two chargers and several spare parts, including fuses, chains, tools, controller, display and throttle. She also carried a laptop in case the bike would require remote support or a software update.
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The German adventurer started her journey on October 14, 2022, ferrying from Spain to Morocco. Afterwards, she set off without any assistance on a route through West Africa‘s coastal countries all the way to South Africa. Different conditions and varying roads impacted the distance she covered in a day.
After going through the deep Moroccan sand, Sinje entered the hallowed terrain of Mauritania and Senegal, which are famous all over the world for the iconic Paris-Dakar Rally. She then entered Gambia where she drove for a few days and then found herself in Guinea Bissau.
The entry into Guinea presented a combination of waterlogged and muddy jungle tracks where no car could venture. Luckily, she was using a motorcycle. She then passed through Ivory Coast and Ghana, where she waited for 24 hours at the border.
When approaching Nigeria, Sinje met up with another solo rider, Anna. Together, they negotiated the border crossing because neither had visas. The two stayed in touch and occasionally met while in Nigeria.
On February 15, 2023, after 124 days on the road, Sinje finally finished her trip in South Africa. She became the first person to cross Africa on an electric motorcycle and also set a record for the longest trip covered on a battery-powered bike.
“My dream was to see the world with my own eyes. No matter how much I learn about places, seeing and experiencing them myself will always give me a better understanding. This I feel is particularly the case for Africa. With this adventure I not only wanted to open up my own and people’s views and ideas about this continent but also give an example of what is possible even if the challenges seem too big at first. We are capable of a lot more than we think.” Ride Cake quotes Sinje.
Challenges Sinje Faced
During the trip, Sinje Gottwald faced daily challenges, ranging from Africa’s inclement weather and terrain to ability to charge the bike. She also risked getting dehydrated.
When the bike’s batteries were depleted, Sinje needed to find a place to plug in. While in remote places, it was difficult for her to find electricity. Sometimes, she used generators, where there was just one in a whole village. Across the 13,000 km-long journey, the only hitch she encountered was a burned-out fuse in Morocco.
Things got sketchy a couple of times for Sinje, especially when crossing borders. At one point, she was stopped at a military checkpoint and one of the officers hit her on the arm for no reason. The officer also grabbed her and yelled at her. It was good that she was in the company of Anna at that time.