Saturday, 27 August 2011

It's A Power Thing

I like all kind of bikes. I have three bicyles and will be getting a fourth towards the year end (hopefully). I use them all for different reasons. I even have a full motorbike licence (but don't use it for reasons of marital harmony).

My main bike is a Santos Travelmaster used for commuting and touring - very practical and sturdy. Last year I picked up a secondhand Marin Rocky Ridge which I use to tear around local trails and for towing the Golden Child on her tagalong - great off road fun. I also have an old Marin Bear Valley which was the bike that got me back into cycling in 2008 (it had sat in a garage for many years gathering dust). It's old but capable. I use it as a hack bike and for this very reason I will be distressing the frame a little bit more and fitting an old crappy saddle on it soon - great for leaving around town town for a few hours when I don't want to risk anything that looks remotely valuable. I will be getting a carbon fibre road bike which will be my bike equivalent of a middle age crisis sports car. It will only come out when the weather is nice and I want to cover some great road miles with no luggage - fun but totally impractical. I even aspire to owning a Brompton, not because I have any need of one at all but simply because I believe they are elegant and iconic bits of kit. I would also not turn my nose up at a Bullitt cargo-bike.

So, you see, I don't think I have become a tribal cyclist. I like to see people cycling on what ever takes thier fancy. I therefore have absolutely nothing at all against e-bikes. When I'm old and grey and petrol is £10.00 per litre I might even get one for myself...that should be in two or three years then! I just wonder though - when does a bicycle actually become a moped?


  1. I just wonder though - when does a bicycle actually become a moped?

    LOL brilliant picture to illustrate the question! They do at some point - something along the lines of being able to power the bike above 15mph or something like that.

    I didn't really get E-bikes either until considering how useful they can be to someone unable to pedal around easily under their own steam.

    Ian...another member of the Brommie Appreciation From a Distance Society

  2. I have four bikes
    A very old but nice road bike which i have had for 35 years and have not used for 10 years but keep maintained
    A mountain bike which until last year was my bike for commuting shopping etc
    A halfway folder which lives in the boot of the car,i have a space at work but have to travel around town during the day
    Finally an electric bike which i find myself using increasingly, i cant say enough in praise of it - it allows me to work hard but i can pull up a wonderfully comfortable dutch town bike up big hills, carry as much cargo as i want. In short it allows me to make choices i can work hard but if i need to arrive somewhere sweat free. it is also a hoot to ride

  3. I am all for e-bikes, especially if it can support more people to leave the car at home more often.

    I was in Decathlon not long ago and I saw a rather proud man, possibly in his 70s, wheeling away his brand new e-bike. I overheard him saying to a friend "I am looking forward to riding again" :D

    Also, the partner of a good friend has an e-bike. This person suffers from arthritis but did not want to give up cycling. And the e-bike has proven perfect :)

    Thumbs up from me all around! x

  4. I can certainly see the appeal, particularly for the infirm and elderly. However, I also know of one guy who uses his, ahem...not quite road legal machine for his commute into Manchester. It's an Alien Aurora e-bike and can easily exceed 15mph.

    No suggestion he is riding dangerously at all but it is sold as "The completely illegal hill climbing Aurora" while looking a bit like a sit and beg shopper bike. Must be fun sailing past some roadie working hard up a hill and making it look effortless. Still, I think the whole thing is a grey area and I wonder when the first "e-bike you don't actually need to pedal at all" will hit the shops.


    Where can I join the Brommie Appreciation From a Distance Society please?

  5. Why will your carbon fibre road bike be impractical? It is the ideal tool for the job you want it for and therefore very practical.

    It's impractical to only have one bike as it'll probably be less than ideal for most of a person's cycling.

    I'd say five bikes is a practical minimum for the cyclist who enjoys all types of mainstream cycling.

  6. 'see the appeal, particularly for the infirm and elderly'.
    Hardly an inclusive message designed to inspire new cyclists who frankly are not going to struggle up hills and commute on a standard road bike.
    We as a cycling community should welcome all people who cycle,not poke fun (i have been called lazy using my electric bike going places by people who have driven shorter distances and have bikes at home) or stigmatize people who starting to cycle and choose the 1/3 of a horsepower support over their cars.More cyclists means safer cycling for us all.

  7. Steve

    It's just an observation. I am not belittling e-bikes or their users at all but as I, and most cyclists I know, enjoy the expenditure of energy involved in cycling and the reward of arriving somewhere miles from where you began under your own steam so to speak, it is simply the angle I am coming from.

    I really do not consider myself a tribal cyclist. As I said, I would not be averse to owning an e-bike in the future and for those who cannot pedal much due to some infirmity - such as a colleague of mine or the examples provided by naturallycyclingmanchester - I am sure they are brilliant. I also think e-bikes and cargo bikes make a great combination, such as this one I wrote about recently. A real cycle alternative to a local family runabout for a lot of people IMHO.

    I do wonder though when e-bikes with 1/3 hp assist power will evolve into an 'e-motorbike', able to cover 100s of miles on a single charge at speeds exceeding the national limit. Again, not something I would be averse to owning, although i'm still sure the OH won't let me have one!

    Happy pedalling (assisted or not).


  8. Pete

    "Why will your carbon fibre road bike be impractical? It is the ideal tool for the job you want it for and therefore very practical."

    You make a good point. However, rather than meaning something: "adapted or designed for actual use..." I meant: "...pertaining to, or concerned with ordinary activities, business or work". (

    Of course my CF road bike will be the most practical bike for doing fast, dry, fun road rides. It's just will not be an everyday workhorse.

    "I'd say five bikes is a practical minimum for the cyclist who enjoys all types of mainstream cycling."

    Will soon have four. You are tempting me to get a Brompton to make it five now as well!

  9. Where can I join the Brommie Appreciation From a Distance Society please?

    Yes of course Daz!

    Firstly you must have a yearning for a Brommie without actually owning one.

    Secondly you must complete an initiation ceremony that involves borrowing a Brompton for a short period of time, during which you must:-

    * ride very slowly around your neighbourhood or somewhere else amongst pedestrians & respond to any "Cool Bike Mate!" comments with an even cooler "Hey Thanks!", giving the impression that it's all yours

    * give a couple of fold/unfold demonstrations to anyone who can't get away quick enough

    * take a folded Brommie for a walk around a supermarket, without acknowledging or reacting to any "Is this guy for real?" looks that come your way

    * remember to give the Brommie back to its rightful owner afterwards!

    (The last bit is less of a ceremony...more of a test. Why? Because you'll find it difficult is why!)

  10. Ian

    Point one covered already. Point two should be addressed next week.

    Please give address for application.