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The advent of the E-Bike

I’m about to shatter a few illusions, so I’ll apologise in advance. Firstly, video did not kill the radio star – Steve Wright is living proof of the longevity of that format. Secondly, the Kindle did not kill off the book, and finally, and the reason for this blog – the E-bike will not kill off good old fashioned cycling. In fact, it could increase participation, as those unable to crank up Box Hill in Surrey through their own steam, can finally join in  the fun with family and friends. 

I was at EuroBike in Friedrichshafen, Germany last week, where a large proportion of the biggest bike expo in the world was dedicated to the E-bike. Every time I wandered between halls, I was passed by groups of speeding E-bikers, testing out the newest models from all over the globe.  

Ironically, a few weeks earlier, I’d been cycling. 1100 km route in northern France, from the iconic island of Mont st Michel, to Bourges in the heart of France, and then back via Chartres. On one particular day, heading from Chartres city centre to a nearby village, a wizzing E-biker came past me at a rate of knots, leaving me in their slipstream. Having cycled over 110 km that day, I wasn’t annoyed or jealous. Instead, I wished I’d had one to help me on the hills I’d struggled up – if you’ve seen Charles Chathedral, you’ll know what I mean! 

Talking about hills, we have a few in North Yorkshire where my family and I live. Our closest area for mountain biking is rugged Nidderdale, with windswept heather moorland and hills to scare a peloton. Taking myself for a spin recently, and delighting in the adrenaline packed descent to Ramsgill village – very steep, very rocky, and lots of fun – I was truly gobsmacked when a very large and rotund cyclist came up the 15% tricky climb, smiling and most definitely not struggling, powered only by the e-technology of their Trek E-mountain bike. He even stopped to chat and to sell me its virtues for the no-athlete. 
Yes, cycling is changing and technology is making it far more accessible. EuroBike was a good indicator of the direction that bike shops are now taking. In London and in the rural counties, technology is taking people further than before, with the latest  E-bikes having the potential for at least a 35 miles  ride out – so you can reach that café where they do that nice carrot cake, which has to be a good thing. 

 And, on the way home, you can tune in to Steve Wright or any other DAB channel, because the future is there to simply make everything easier and more pleasurable – and nobody wants to be a sweat monster on a bike – let’s leave that for the pros.