E-bikes – The Key To Encouraging More Inclusive Cycling?
The biggest thing that stood out to me at all the bike shows this year was the amount of brands who have embraced the market for E-bikes. It looks like 2016 is set to be electric. Manufacturers and bike shops, who were once dubious about electric bikes, now seem to be jumping on the trend.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that an E-bike is just your standard urban stroller with a big chunky battery pack fitted to it. Oh no, not anymore. Designers have been a lot more creative. Some have built the battery into the frame, some have incorporated it into the frame design, and some have stuck to the original method of just putting it there for all to see.
The general thought process across the board seems to have been along the lines of:
“Well, if we can put a battery on that bike, we can put a battery on THIS bike too!”
So here we have it. A new generation about to penetrate our local bike shops and distribution channels of E-Full-suspension, E-Fatbikes, E-road bikes, E-recumbent, E-strollers, E-Folders, and so on.
But what does that mean for cycling?
Well, it would seem that cyclists are split into two camps (or three if you count the many that aren’t bothered at all). With one camp saying ‘woohoo, bikes for all’. And the other saying, ‘It’s not really cycling, it’s cheating!’ (We suspect the latter camp have grown rather fond of their KOM’s).
Where does Ride Like a Girl stand?
We are very much in the ‘woohoo!’ camp on this one. Whereas we can see the point of camp ‘Boohoo’, for example, a Fatbike with a power pack will be an absolute beast, and what does that mean for some of the more fragile mountain bike trails? Probably a lot more work for our lovely trail builders, would be anyone’s guess.
However, the addition of the power pack onto hybrid, road, mountain bikes etc, makes riding a lot more appealing to people who may not have done any cycling or sport in some time. This should open the cycling industry up to those who may have previously felt that they aren’t ‘fit enough,’ or are ‘too old’ or whatever it is that has been holding back their confidence.
Put it this way, my 78 year old gran, who has had a hip replacement, quadruple heart bypass and a stroke all in the last 5 years, now wants an E-bike. She only wants to pootle along to the shops and ride up and down the sea front, but who is to says that is not ‘proper cycling?’. All this after so long because she knows that she can pedal it. Plus,if she gets tired she can still get home! Bloody marvellous, I’ll have her riding Bike Park Wales before Christmas!
What’s your excuse for not riding again?…