I live in the Chilterns, UK, a picturesque collection of old villages and woods joined by quiet lanes… and hills. Because of the hills, it’s virtually impossible to get anywhere unless you’re Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome.
Admittedly, on my weekend rides, I see plenty of cylists who clearly are Bradley Wiggins or Chris Froome powering up the 1 in 5 or sharper inclines around where I live. But I’m not one of them. It became clear I needed.. assistance.
And so it was I bought an electric bike – and my life changed. In the past, essentially I could either ride in one direction or t’other along the busy and polluted valley floor main road, or climb a valley wall and practically suffer a heart attack in search of vistas new.
Now, with my electric motor turned up to no more than is required to achieve a climb comfortably, or even just fight a particularly recalcitrant headwind, I can go anywhere I want. I sail by cricket pitches, thatched cottages, country pubs and the like – and the hills in between them hold no fear for me. Love handles may soon be a thing of the past!
A professional type I met on one ride liked my bike and said he fancied one – but that it felt a bit like cheating. As he departed up a steep hill, he said nervously he hoped I wouldn’t overtake him. I gave him a slight head-start and, as it happened, kept up comfortably with him – but at a distance. Didn’t want to deflate the poor fella any further.
The bike I purchased, pictured above (suitably soiled following a good ride this morning) is a Volt Pulse. It’s a handsome design from a small British bike firm. They’re very pleasant to deal with, and helpful. I had one or two issues shortly after purchase – all now resolved – and they were more than willing to offer support.
As well as looking great, the ride is smooth, including when the electric motor kicks in. My lower capacity battery (36V 12A – there’s a 16V version) has never dropped to less than half full, even following my usual 40km rides. I have no doubt it’d last 80km/50 miles (I’m working up to that). All in all, I thoroughly recommend this bike.
I’m convinced electric bikes will become very popular, particularly when prices reduce, and battery technology allows for lighter models. As usual, in the UK we’re well behind the Continent, where electric bikes sell in significant numbers. But I’m telling you it’s only a matter of time before they do over here, too. In the meantime, it’s nice to be a revolutionary!