Electric bike!

This weekend I had my first go on an electric bike, and goodness me is it whizzy!

Shout out to Dave and Debrah for an excellent lunch on Saturday, finished off beautifully by letting me zip up and down the street on the bike – only to be topped by offering to lend it to me for a couple of days!

The main reason for borrowing this little beauty was because I needed (/chose*) to cycle to Hornsea today for a meeting. [*No train, and no functional bus service. I was offered a lift but kind of liked the idea of the challenge… I did need to get there, but I chose to cycle – even when it was raining. Totally self-inflicted discomfort]. This is a distance of about 15 miles each way, which I reckon I could probably manage with my regular bike but I would definitely arrive as a hot and sweaty mess – not such a professional look. If there was an option of getting a wash and changing at the other end then it might not matter, but there wasn’t today. So cycling on my regular bike wasn’t really an option. But on an electric assist bike… Well now, that is a different matter.

Most electric assist cycles (including the one I borrowed) help you along – adding drive from an electric motor to your regular leg energy. It is excellent fun! It also means that you can easily keep up a steady pace of 15+ mph (the motor cuts out at 15.5mph, the UK speed limit for this), even up hills or into a headwind.

On my ride today I powered along very nicely. Hills and wind were no problem. The ride took me nearly an hour, but it wasn’t strenuous effort – just steady, gentle pace. The weather wasn’t with me though, so my hopes of arriving fresh and dry and looking professional were a total wash out. I knew within about 2 minutes of setting off that I probably should have accepted the offer of a lift (I did take a lift home – gratefully). My waterproofs did ok I suppose, but even they couldn’t cope with the constant rain. My feet were soaked through (literally squelching), as was the bottom 6inches of my trousers, and my bum! Even with all this though it wasn’t an unpleasant ride – especially once I got off the major road, which had a lot of heavy goods vehicles (a little hairy at times).

Having a go with one electric assist bike has set me thinking again on whether to invest in an electric bike myself – probably a cargo bike to keep up with the capacity I’ve got used to with the Elephant bike, and to keep the option of carrying the kids along. In fact a bike like this would make it even easier to carry the kids along! I love the Dutch designs – like this Babboe ‘Big E’:

I love the idea of zipping around town with the children in the bucket on the front, or piling in everything for a day at the beach while they ride by my side. Having the electric assist would also stretch out the distance that I could cover. The only big downside of this style of bike is that I could definitely not take it on a train – which really limits its use to our immediate area.

Then there is this one – the Tern GSD S10 – which I can only describe as the bike of my dreams:

It is cool, it is efficient, it is adaptable, it is brilliant – and it is expensive. If you aren’t already sitting down then please do take a chair before you look at the price… It is a lot (in fairness so is the Babboe, but the Tern really pushes the boat WAY out). But from where I’m standing it looks like it could be well worth it. I think. I just need to finish convincing myself (and my dear wife) that this would be a good and responsible way to spend all our savings. On the plus side it would let me carry not just our toddler but essentially most of the family (either both children or a second adult) on the back, or a massive amount of cargo. And with the frame being basically the same as a normal bike I reckon I should be alright to take it on a train too – which opens up a whole world of possibilities.

After today’s adventure on an electric assist bike I’m one step closer to at least going out to book a test ride… What do you think?

Published by oikoslife

I am married, father of 2 young children (2014 and 2017), pioneering priest in the Church of England, surfer, climate activist and much more. Born in Yorkshire, and currently living on the Yorkshire Coast. Doing my best to live in good connection with God, self, neighbour and creation - working it out as I go.

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