I Want To Ride My E.Bicycle...
Readers of this publication will often see motoring correspondents jetting off to some exotic location to drive an even more exotic super car, both of which are far removed from reality for most of us.
With both feet firmly on the ground and much closer to home, our cycling correspondent Gordon Phillips, a lifelong cyclist, has been testing an Electric bike from Grand Prix Scooters.
The mornings are becoming colder as October draws to a close and on a crisp Sunday morning I test rode the Byocycle Ibex Electric Bike, on loan from Grand Prix Scooters.
Living in Cossington I am blessed by an off road route running North to South through Leicester by way of the canal, and this seemed a perfect route to see just how good E Bikes really are.
On leaving home it was clear that this was nothing like an ordinary bicycle. Phil at Grand Prix had shown me the controls of the Byocycle and how it worked. This bike has both Pedal Assist (Pedalec) and a thumb throttle (Twist and Go) I began with the Pedelec mode which has 5 levels of power. Level 1 is just a walking pace, with level 5 giving a full blown 15mph. (The legal limit for an E Bike).
It turns out to be very simple, you pedal, the bike joins in! I can’t believe that more people don’t look to E Bikes as a viable alternative form of transport. Suddenly hills hold no fear and
head winds are not a problem as your invisible helper near on doubles your efforts.
If you are in a hurry, the high power boosts your speed substantially, in low power the motor allows you to dawdle, almost turning the pedals as a gesture, rather than seriously working.
The canal tow path from Cossington to Leicester is all hard surface, all relatively flat terrain, and better than our potholed roads across the county! On a quiet Sunday you can expect to see a variety of flora and fauna, and this day was no exception. Horses and cows in nearby fields were unperturbed as I whispered silently by. The Byocycle is virtually silent. Birds were more jittery as were squirrels. A few canal boat owners were out and, of course they wave and say hello.
If I had to commute to Leicester this could be a very pleasant way of achieving it, but my test was purely for leisure. This route is one of many available across the county. The South side of the city has the Great Central Way and there are a great many cycle ways. If you pop into the Information Bureau you will find free maps with the cycle ways shown for the whole County.
I pass Belgrave Hall, the Space Centre and Abbey Park on my route and stop for a cuppa at the cafe in the middle of the park, before continuing south. It is possible to get right across the city without going near any motor traffic and it is a joy. A few photo stops to catch the bike and historic landmarks and I leave the canal to join the aforementioned Great Central Way. This is the old railway, now levelled for commuters and leisure riders. Where the canal was all flat, now the railway line has gradients! This is where the Byocycle really comes into its own. Mere mortals pedalling regular bikes will be out of breath and dismounting but an E Bike rider becomes Bradley Wiggins!
Select level 4 and we are actually accelerating uphill without any loss of breath or raising a sweat.
I continue to Blaby and drop in to see some friends for lunch. John and Carol are quite impressed by the Byocyle and, of course, he wanted a quick go. That appears to be the way, many people are curious about E Bikes and once ridden they are usually smitten.
Lunch over it was time to make my way back with a minor detour by King Lear’s Lake to add a bit of variety instead of a straight same route return and I was home for tea.
As for the E Bike, I had to return it to Grand Prix next day. The Byocycle is a nice bike, finished in green and black with a good level of equipment. Disc brakes and 7 speed SRAM gears complement it well.
The battery will give well over 30 miles on a charge and a recharge, apparently, is about 12 pence.
This model of Byocycle is not cheap at £1,199, but Grand Prix Scooters have a wide range of E Bikes from as little as £499 in a great many different styles to suit your taste.
Would I buy one? I already have several ordinary bikes and enjoy them immensely, as I am a serious cyclist so this would be yet another in the shed which would be hard to explain to the wife......
Probably is the answer. In truth, I feel it is cheating, but some of us do cheat occasionally don’t we?