Sales manager rides "longest distance ever on an electric motorcycle"

The journey took Sinje Gottwald and an electric Cake Kalk AP motorcycle from Spain to South Africa - over 13,000km - in 124 days.

Sinje Gottwald at the equator with Cake Kalk AP

An account manager from Cake, the Swedish manufacturer of electric motorcycles, has become the first person to ride across Africa on an electric bike

The crossing of the African continent is not an achievement only in itself, but also in that it is the "longest distance ever [ridden] on an electric motorcycle," according to Cake.

The crossing took 124 days, and saw Cake’s account manager, Sinje Gottwald, ride a Cake Kalk AP from Spain to South Africa without any aid or technical support. 

For Gottwald, her crossing of Africa is another impressive achievement in adventure motorcycling, after completing a solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2017. Gottland has also completed overland journeys from Europe to Asia and from South America to North America; as well as another African adventure from Morocco to Mali. 

As with her other adventures, this cross-Africa journey is one that is viewed as an important one for social reasons as well as technological ones. 

In part this is because of Gottwald herself, since it unfortunately remains a novelty for women to complete such challenges. With respect to this, the hope has to be that the achievements of people like Gottwald will give confidence to others that they can accomplish similar achievements, should they wish to. 

On another side, there is the intentions with which Gottwald undertook this journey. “One key factor of Sinje’s motivation for the trip, and one that she aspired to for the duration, was to showcase Africa and highlight the positivity of its blend of languages and cultures,” a Cake press release reads. 

Sinje Gottwald said: “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.”

The journey’s significance was also enhanced by technical and logistical challenges. Documentation had to be in order for each border crossing, and the tough conditions presented by Africa put a strain on the motorcycle. Even relatively early on in the journey, the deep sand of the Moroccan dunes saw a fuse burn out on the Cake Kalk AP, and finding places to charge the bike presented a significant challenge.

Nonetheless, the journey was completed on one motorcycle and with only two batteries. Cake says that less than 140 charges were required to complete the adventure, which totalled 13,000km (8,000 miles) in the end. 

“The Kalk was simply amazing,” said Sinje Gottwald. “Maintenance was almost zero, adjusting and lubing the chain was basically it. Some minor issues that could be fixed, and I didn’t have a single flat tire. 

“It drew so much attention, wherever I stopped people would come and ask about it, many said it was the first time for them to see an electric motorcycle. They couldn’t believe I came from so far away.

“Finding places to charge was the hardest part, in some areas it was extremely difficult, and I had to plan the day very thoroughly. Many times, I didn’t know if I would find a place to charge at all.

“I had a couple of minor crashes in difficult terrain at low speed, but more than once I was almost run over by cars; traffic is crazy and cars that overtake don’t leave any space!”

Cake CEO Stefan Ytterborn added: “At a company dinner during fall 2021, I sat next to Sinje, when she told me she had the dream of riding electric, by herself from Spain to South Africa. 

“Besides being amazed by her courage and spirit I was thrilled about the ability for us to support her, while truly getting a chance for extreme field testing. We agreed that Sinje would change position for a few months from being the Cake German B2B sales manager to become our most precious field tester and Africa Explorer. 

“Now as she is through, and yes we have been worried, it's extremely rewarding that she and the bike arrived in perfect shape.”

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