Recently we had 80 year old George join us on a Cycle Salisbury Social Ride for the first time. George was on his fairly new Electric Bike
What is an E-Bike?
‘It is a bicycle that carries a battery pack that powers a small electric motor which delivers power to the pedals enabling the rider to travel further and faster with less effort.’
An E-bike allows riders of different abilities and fitness (partners or friends for example) to enjoy riding and exploring together.
An electric bicycle, or e-bike, has an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion. Many kinds of e-bikes are available worldwide, from those that only have a small motor to assist the rider's pedal-power (referred to as ‘pedelecs’) to somewhat more powerful e-bikes which tend closer to moped-style functionality. All, however, retain the ability to be pedalled by the rider and are therefore not electric motorcycles.
You can hardly tell unless you look closely that there is a battery on the bike.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h, depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h.
Different types of e-bikes
The classification of e-bikes is mainly decided by whether the e-bike's motor assists the rider using a pedal-assist system or by a power-on-demand one. Definitions are as follows:
- With pedal-assist the electric motor is regulated by pedalling. The pedal-assist augments the efforts of the rider when they are pedalling. These e-bikes – called pedelecs – have a sensor to detect the pedalling speed, the pedalling force, or both. The brake has a sensor which will disable the motor as well (called an ‘e-brake’).
- With power-on-demand the motor is activated by a throttle, usually handlebar-mounted just like on most motorcycles or scooters.
The E-Bike Shop: Gavin from ‘My Ride Salisbury’ says that ‘E bikes are for everybody’. The catch phrase they have is ‘Easier, Everywhere, Everytime’. Gavin believes that a 1/3 of his showroom stock within 5 years will be E bikes as their popularity grows.
Let’s get George to share with us his experiences of having an E-bike.
George: ‘I bought my first E-bike in 2004 when I started trail walking; I would transport the bike to part of the trail that I wanted to walk. I would leave it there, drive to the other end of the trail then walk back to pick up the bike to ride along back roads to the car. This worked well on most occasions, but these early models were a little unreliable.
April 2018 I purchased my second E-mountain bike and how technology had improved. In my 80th year I had been considering getting a gopher, as in our retirement village gophers are popular. I'm glad I resisted! Although the bike was about the same price as a gopher, it has opened up a whole new learning experience for me.
I ride every day for an hour, on other days I can ride the 18kms to the city. I have also been developing my skills at Anstey’s Hill and Cobblers Creek mountain bike parks. I have taken part recently in a couple of the Cycle Salisbury Social rides which have introduced me to the wonderful Little Para and Dry Creek Trails. I have been meeting new friends, seeing districts I haven't seen before and each trip is an adventure. I am even planning to ride from Clare to Riverton along the Riesling and Rattler Trails.
If you feel like you are ageing… fight it! And get out on your bike or do some research on the internet on E-bikes and find out which is best suited to you.’