Gentle pedals. . . big steps!

Gentle pedals. . . big steps!

IT’S been three weeks since I brought home my first electric bike, courtesy of the new Electric Bike Shop at Hatton Adventure World.

The bad news is, I’ve struggled to find the time to get out on it as often as I’d hoped.

The good news is, my relationship with e-bikes is such already that I know the situation will improve  – I’m eager for it to do so.

Amanda Chalmers

You see, this has been somewhat of a mini revelation for me, to the extent where I’m afraid to say three’s now a crowd. And I think it’s time for my traditional road bike and I to part ways.

Purchased as a birthday gift around 10 years ago, the intention was genuine – to hit the road every weekend and transform my deteriorating fitness levels back to something approaching at least average for my age. Genuine or not, I don’t think it left the garage more than a couple of times, but putting the brakes on my cycling days was like admitting defeat to the ageing process.

I now realise, as an e-biker (probably haven’t quite earned the right to call myself that yet, but let’s go with it. . .) that the journey back to increased fitness doesn’t have to be an arduous and painful one.  

The logic is simple – if you’re using your e-bike to do something that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do, it carries great long term mental and physical health benefits. E-bikes can get older or less fit folk cycling again – and that’s what I feel it is doing for me. Without it I can either keep living the lie that my road bike will ever see any traction again in the coming years – or throw my (not insubstantial) weight behind a new biking chapter. . . a chapter that makes cycling enjoyable again, while gradually and gently rebuilding my fitness levels.

Well, you have to start somewhere!

The sunny Easter holidays enticed me out and, in a short time, my confidence in handling the bike and ability to get the best out of it, is improving. I’m keeping distances short at the moment but plan to build on that, especially as the summer months break through.

And thanks to advances in technology e-bikes now last longer between charges (some modern models can last for up to 110 miles on a single charge) so there is nothing to be nervous about when I do decide to tackle the further flung destinations.

And when you do need to charge your bike – what better excuse for a well-earned refreshment stop while the friendly pub’s plug socket does its thing.

The popularity of e-bikes is massively on the rise and it’s widely predicted they will outsell road bikes within five years. – They already do in The Netherlands!

If you’re older, unfit, recovering from an injury or illness or simply lacking in cycling confidence, the arguments for investing in an e-bike are cumulative.

That’s all very well, you say. “Sounds perfect. But they don’t come cheap!”

E-bike prices tend to start at around £1,000 (and up to several thousands) which is undoubtedly heavier on the pocket than a traditional bike. But in the long run they can actually be the most cost-effective option. That’s because an e-bike is more convenient so you’re likely to use it more often.

Cycling instead of driving – even for short commutes – brings big savings on the costs of running a car, including fuel, parking and depreciation caused by wear and tear.

It’s also worth noting that the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme allows you to save up to 42% off your e-bike. Click here for more information.

Included in part 3 of my blog COMING SOON are the subjects of security and maintenance.

Read Part 1 of my blog here

Read about the new Electric Bike Shop in Hatton plus an interview with Karl Haden here

 

Wheels in motion for business

Wheels in motion for business

AN entrepreneur is gearing up for a busy season after opening the second branch of his Electric Bike Shop at a family attraction in Warwick.

The Electric Bike Shop
Karl Haden, owner of The Electric Bike Shop in Hatton. Photos: David Fawbert.

Brummie Karl Haden says it was customer demand that has led him to the region after launching his first shop in Bristol.

“We found we were spending a lot of time bringing bikes up here for customers because this area wasn’t served. And they would complain that there isn’t any after care or support,” he said.

Now he’s keen to dispel the ‘lazy’ myths surrounding e-bikes by encouraging visitors to try them out for the first time at a free test day at Hatton Adventure World, on Saturday, April 13th. Raffle tickets to win four e-bike and picnic experience days will be on sale in aid of Hatton-based charity Molly Olly’s Wishes.

“Some people think electric bikes are cheating but you can work as hard or as little as you want on an electric bike. You just have to adjust the power. If you’re commuting and you want to give yourself a good workout on your way home rather than go to the gym, you can just turn the power right down,” he said.

“The days of it being seen as cheating or not legitimate exercise are long gone. Even pro riders are now using electric bikes to keep fit on.”

The Electric Bike Shop

Typical customers range from leisure cyclists and commuters to caravanners and those with injuries or physical conditions that prevent them from using normal high-impact road bikes.

“They are perfect for customers who have had an injury but who have got all the drive and enthusiasm and really want to get out there but can’t on a normal bike. It opens up a whole new world to them. And it helps them follow on from their physio at the right level for them without impacting too heavily on their joints. And if people just want to lose weight moderate exercise is the biggest fat burner.

“I’m passionate about this because I’ve seen the difference it makes to customers who come in very timid and I put them on a turbo trainer on an electric bike and then we’ll take them out and within literally a minute of them being on it, they get to grips with it and they love it.”

Karl, 52, added: “My whole methodology behind this business is about best advice. If somebody comes in here I’ll be honest with them if I think a bike is not right for them.

“I will also give advice on after care, even if they didn’t buy the bike from me. I am passionate about electric bikes and I just want them to have the best possible experience.”

The Electric Bike Shop

The shop stocks a wide range of makes and models designed for a variety of terrains including road racing, trekking and mountain bikes ranging in price between £1,600 and £8,000. They also sell bike accessories as well as offer bike hire and a service and repairs workshop.

Formerly a recruiter by trade, Karl’s change of career path was inspired by a new-found love for his first e-bike in 2015 and he opened his first shop in Bristol in November 2017. There are already ambitious plans to open up to three more sites around the UK as well as franchises.

In the meantime he’s on a mission to pass on his passion for his product to the locals.

He added: “To anyone who isn’t sure about getting an e-bike, hire one first. There are no excuses not to ride a bike around this area. If when you wake up in the morning you think ‘I would love to go riding but. .  I’m worried about the hills’ then it’s time to consider an electric bike. Hatton is absolutely idyllic and an ideal place for people to just come and have some fun.”

The Electric Bike Shop is open Wednesdays to Sundays at Hatton Adventure World.

Main website is: www.theelectricbikeshop.co.uk

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Last year e-bikes outsold normal bikes in the Netherlands.
  • Some experts predict that there will be parity between e-bikes and road bikes in the UK within five years.
  • It is a legal requirement for the motor on an electric bike to drop out when it reaches 15.5mph, not have more than a 250 watt motor and a throttle that doesn’t exceed 4mph.
  •  There are no legal requirements for Insurance, MOTs or Road Tax. The same rules and recommendations that apply to cycles, apply to electrically assisted cycles for use on the road.
  • The batteries on e-bikes can typically cover between 20 and 100 miles per charge, depending on size.
  • It costs no more than 10 pence to fully recharge a battery and takes around four hours.Part One of Amanda Chalmers’ blog on e-bike riding can be read here