WINNING the PR contract for my latest client brought the biggest test of customer commitment to date.
It was quickly apparent upon meeting Karl Haden from the new Electric Bike Shop in Hatton that he is passionate about his trade. It was quickly apparent as well, that he’d accept nothing less from me.
Luckily his love of e-bikes is so infectious, it’s hard not to walk away feeling ‘pumped’ at the prospect of climbing into the saddle (I’ll apologise now for the irresistible smattering of puns throughout this blog!)
‘I’m going to let you have a bike to try for yourself,’ he gleely announced.
Now, while this isn’t exactly what I’d signed up for, it sounded like a fantastic opportunity to me. After all, a good PR should be prepared to do what it takes to gain a solid understanding of their client’s products. (Which is also why I’ve signed up to the gin school at Moores of Warwick’s new distillery next door! Professional to the last!)
So, with that in mind I set off on my physical and metaphorical journey to explore electric bikes on behalf the fellow novice. . .
I was presented with a Lapierre Overvolt Urban 400 Road Cruiser bike sporting a Bosch 36V battery and nine-speed gears.
It was a source of, at least some, confidence that I have ridden an electric bike before – albeit fleetingly during a Centerparcs break with the family. During said break I also became the butt of their wearisome jokes!
My husband and two teenage sons were smug in their mockery of my ‘cheating’ – as they put it – while they made their merry way around the resort with traditional road bikes – and an air of pomposity.
But Karl, like so many, is keen to bust the myths surrounding this disdain of e-bikes which are, in fact, an officially recognised source of health benefits, from weight loss through to a cardiovascular workout.
Research has proved that electric bikes do improve fitness. They encourage people to ride more often as well as increase the journey distance. These more frequent and longer journeys make up for the lower energy expended thanks to the motor.
With e-bikes being a lot heavier than conventional bikes, the effort required whilst pedalling, coupled with the increased difficulty manoeuvring it, will ensure the less fit among us still get a decent workout. But you won’t be purple faced and gasping for breath at the end of it!
It’s also been demonstrated that the same increase in heart rate can be achieved from riding an e-bike as from a conventional one – because they are covering a greater distance.
And as your fitness levels inevitably improve, you have the option of reducing the level of pedal assist to maintain those health benefits going forwards
So, ‘put that in your pipe and smoke it,’ I told the family after returning from a very informative visit to see Karl at his newly opened unit at Hatton Adventure World.
I apparently fall into one of the main categories of rider for whom e-bikes are growing in popularity over recent years – the person of a ‘certain age’ whose fitness, as well as confidence in the saddle, has waned.
I have a conventional bike in the garage – in fact I’m not confident it’s ever been OUT of the garage – if I’m being completely honest! It was a purchase made with the most earnest of good intentions.
Some years – and several inches of dust – later and with my fitness levels at an all-time low, Karl may have come into my life at just the right time.
So then, I didn’t take much convincing to don my helmet once more – and give this a proper go. . .
Armed with my new set of wheels and a renewed sense of purpose, I was definitely coming around to this whole elect-powered assisted cycling idea. After all, the weather was improving and the nights would soon to be drawing out. Who knows – maybe I would even learn to enjoy my time on the open road again!
Karl’s simple summary of the experience was hugely reassuring when he told me: ‘Everything is flat when you’re riding an e-bike!’
This is true. Hills no longer need to be a hurdle to reaching your destination. The prospect of going out for a ride no longer fills me with dread in the reassuring knowledge that the pedal-assist function will kick in when I need a boost up those hills.
And as my confidence – and fitness – continues to build, maybe I’ll even venture to take the motor out of turbo mode!
See how I fare on my first week of riding in part 2 of my blog COMING SOON.
Plus, looking ahead, I investigate the following areas: Cost, security, environment and maintenance.
Read about the new Electric Bike Shop in Hatton plus an interview with Karl Haden here