A vote for ebikes – before, during and after the pandemic
I discovered the joys of using an ebike over 10 years ago when various diagnoses meant that using an ordinary bike was no longer possible. At that time batteries would not last beyond about 10 miles (less with hills to climb). Since then I have had all kinds of different types and makes of ebikes including a Trek, a Kalkhoff, a nano Brompton, a Roodog, a Go Cycle, an Access bike and latterly a Volt Metro. All have had their advantages and disadvantages.
I am not an expert but do have some experience – and have now cycled round most of the IOW (on and off road) and so hope to provide some tips if you are new to the wonderful world of ebikes and considering purchasing one. Some issues to bear in mind:
1. What will you be using the bike for? Leisure, commuting – or both?
2. Will most of your riding be on or off road?
3. Can you ride from your home or will you need to put your bike in a car to travel to a cycle path?
4. What distance do you intend to cycle?
5. If you have any kind of disability that affects your ability to ride, is this a temporary problem and you intend to use an ebike to increase your fitness or do you have the type of disability which means some days you will need more help from your ebike than others?
Last June we had a bad fire in our garden (travelled from our neighbour’s property) which destroyed all three outbuildings, including our bike shed. I had to make a quick decision on which bikes to save – and I chose to save the two Volt Metros (the other belongs to my husband) which I got out before the shed went up. Not my wisest moment but I simply could not bear the thought of being without an ebike to ride. It also showed me which type of ebike I really enjoyed. The rest went up in smoke.
I like my Volt Metro because (a) on most terrain it is very comfortable and stable to ride despite having 20 inch wheels(b) if you purchase the bigger battery it will easily go for 35/40 miles – far more if you need less assistance from the motor (c) it has a simple system which allows me to just use a higher level of assistance on less good days. The Metro also folds up and can be put in the boot of most cars.
My Metro is very happy riding up hills with me on board (I’m no lightweight!) – including steep hills like Lime Kiln Shute. Most of my riding now takes place on roads (quiet ones preferred) and cycle paths and I love finding new routes.
Volt now has a dealer on the IOW – TAV in Ryde. TAV have been brilliant in resolving issues, servicing, supplying parts etc., including during the lockdown. They also supply other makes of ebikes as well as ‘ordinary’ bikes.
Having an ebike during the lockdown has been really helpful as going out for exercise has been allowed so I have been able to cycle to Ryde to get some essentials while also getting some exercise.
Just before the lockdown I had started a review on behalf of CycleWight of the list of places (cafes, pubs etc.) on the IOW which are happy to offer charging facilities for ebikes. If anyone knows of other places that might be happy to provide a battery charge, please let Tim know and we can add it to the list.