A casual cyclist’s review of an electric bike
Written by Hannah-Mae Trow
After years of running and contact sports, cycling up hills is not exactly my idea of a fun past time. My poor road bicycle has been relegated to the shed, only seeing action during the nicest of weather.
Living in valleys, any direction from my house is an incline, so it can be off-putting to explore very far. Electric bicycles are not a new concept to me, but I was never really convinced they would benefit me, or if they would take away the exercise element by doing all the work for me.
So, it was a surprise when I found myself road testing an electric bicycle from County eBikes on a sunny a spring day. It was an Oxford-style Batribike Omega in British racing green. First thing that shocked me was how streamlined the bike is. The gears are encased, the battery is a long thin unit under the bike rack at the back. All in all, it looked a beautiful bicycle.
Enjoying the step-through design, once I had the bike in hand I was surprised by the weight of the bike. It’s reassuringly sturdy but much lighter than any touring bike I have experienced. I honestly thought with the electric element it would add weight. To be fair, my last touring bike was the steel 1975 Raleigh Chiltern and it only had 3 gears. In comparison, having the 7 speed Shimano gears on this bike combined with the motor provided a smoother, easier and more enjoyable ride.
Setting off was a hoot, as the bike has a standing assist from the motor, that helps you set off as soon as you start pedaling. Great for starting at traffic lights. Using the electric assist is just as easy as changing gears, with the control on the left handle. You don’t really need to look at it when cycling. Just the same as changing gears, it quickly becomes an instinctual action.
The most impressive part for me, as I was increasing the power of the motor, was that I still had to put in work. You cannot benefit from the power the electric motor provides if you are not pedaling. This made me so happy to know I was still exercising. The electric power does make it easier to stay on the bicycle longer and go further. I am sure this is only increasing my exercise.
Going up the hills around where I live with the power on, I couldn’t help but laugh in glee! There are some hills where most would see no shame in having to get off and walk up, but not with this bicycle. It took the effort level from an 11, down to a 4.
Whether cycling through town, or around the hilly country roads, I felt confident that this bicycle would get me there – and in style.
So, am I convinced by electric bicycles? Absolutely, just don’t tell my road bike in the shed…