I am a regular cyclist, usually for short commutes under ten miles to work or when I am out and about in the local area. I love it, especially in towns, where it can be all to easy to clamber aboard a bus or a train. It is no surprise to me, that cycling has become so popular across the UK. The benefits are obvious. Firstly, it’s free and often quicker (particularly in London), so no more complaining about overpriced trains plus your bike is never delayed. Until you get the agony of a puncture anyway.
The other happy benefit is your health. You are snatching a workout wherever you go, the intensity of which, is up to your choosing! You can imagine I was aghast when my father informed me that he had purchased an electric bike. To me, it was cheating and lazy. What is the point of cycling if the bike is doing all the hard work, global warming a side, you may as well just grab the car key. Frustrated puffs and sighs flew out of my cheeks every time the electric bike subject arose.
Maybe, just maybe, I was wrong.
A gloomy somber September Sunday had me feeling rather unimpressed at cycling from Brighton to Shoreham for lunch. So, I decided to take the easy way out and sneak off with the Emu Electric Bike I have heard so much about. I am not ashamed to say, that it was great.
I hopped on, peddling off towards Shoreham, very quickly selecting top speed on the keypad. Which, of course, was met with a heart pumping moment, avoiding a car’s back end followed by angering the lycra clad cyclist next to me. He was pretty slow of the mark from the traffic lights in my defence.
Once the bike had been tamed, I hit the seafront where I was greeted by great conditions for the hundred or so kite surfers out on the water. A big strong head wind. The slog that would have been in front of me was softened by my new steed.
One thing to note is that you still have to pedal for the electrics work as an assist rather than power. It still took some effort cycling into the wind but with the bike it made the whole journey far more pleasurable, particularly with some extra power keeping up with the racing bikes out on their Sunday rides.
Once up to speed the bike will leave you to power yourself, dropping in and out to help when it feels you need it. I still felt like I was getting the blood pumping and getting a bit of exercise for my efforts.
Where I felt the electrics really helped is reducing the energy sap that riding in a town can create. Normally stopping and starting at traffic lights is the most frustrating part when riding, as I know how much energy I’ve got to output to get back up to speed. Riding to Sunday lunch I had no interest in energy expenditure or fitness, I just yearned for that roast beef, so to have the assistance really was a welcome addition.
”As a way of commuting around town, I am sold. You can still get all the cycling enjoyment and arrive places in decent time without needing an energy bar and a shower at the other end.”
I can also see the benefits to the injured and the elderly. Certainly, in a hilly area, it gives an option for people who would otherwise not be able to regularly cycle a chance to be out and active without over extraneous activity.
As for me, I will still enjoy peddling under my own steam but I will definitely be grabbing some electric help when I am not looking for the burn.