Like many people I came to adult cycling in middle age, looking for something to compliment gym sessions, and give me some fresh air. Alas being late to the party meant hills – more correctly the strength to cycle up them - were always my bête noir, and this was exacerbated by a knee injury in 2017 that got progressively worse.
In the middle of 2018 I started to think about going electric. TAV in Ryde couldn’t have been more helpful, and I found myself the owner of a Merida electric hybrid.
Best decision ever! My Fitbit tells me I burn around 2/3 of the calories I used to burn from a conventional cycle, but like many electric cyclists I find myself going further and having more confidence. The choice of off, eco, normal and high power outputs allows adjustment for tiredness, road conditions, and gradients, and whereas cycling used to be a distinct exercise / leisure activity for me, now the bike sometimes comes out for a quick trip to the shops, so cycling has become more functional. Dare I say it more enjoyable as well.
A question that I sometimes get is range on the battery – well it depends. On full charge the Eco setting gives a range of 60 miles, but that assumes a consistent power draw which, of course, doesn’t happen. Last autumn I rode from home in Brading to St Catherines and back, outward on the coast via Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor, and back inland via Godshill and Whitwell. Outward the hills at Luccombe meant I used 50% battery on the first half of the ride, but the flatter homeward route only used 20%, leaving me a good reserve at the end of a 30 mile ride.
I was a bit apprehensive moving to an electric bike, maybe it felt like cheating? However it’s meant I’ve been able to cycle again within weeks of two rounds of knee surgery, and I’ve got the confidence to tackle the ups and downs of the Island. In short a decision I don’t regret, and one I’d recommend to anyone else thinking about it.