I’ve owned an electric bike for the past two years while I’ve been working at Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op HQ in the rural outskirts of Edinburgh, and I love it. When I first started here I did cycle the weekly 100 miles to work and back on an “acoustic” bike, but I found that by Wednesday every week I was exhausted. On the plus side, I used to sleep like a log.
These days, my commute (and by extension, my life) has been revolutionised by an electric bike. Here’s a week in my life with an e-bike.
Wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head and then at 8:30am hop on my electric bike and cycle 10 miles to work. There’s a fierce head wind but that doesn’t matter, and it takes me about 40 minutes.
I charge up the battery at work, and enjoy the tailwind on the way home.
Another 10 miles to work, and on the way home it starts to rain. No matter – I’ve brought all my waterproofs in my pannier, which weighs a ton because I chuck everything in it with reckless abandon. When you own an electric bike, the weight of your gear doesn’t matter.
On a Wednesday I like to go straight to a climbing wall after work, which is in an awkward part of town and would be inconvenient to get public transport to. Plus it lengthens my journey home by about 2 miles. On my e-bike I go as the crow flies without considering if there are any hills I should navigate around. (It’s fun to go uphill with an e-bike).
After wearing myself out climbing I cycle the 2 miles home in a few minutes. Easy!
On the way home from work I get a text from my other half asking me to pick up a bunch of (heavy) things from the shops. No problem! I chuck it all in my bottomless pannier (aka the Tardis) and away I go.
Pro tip: If you have two panniers or a very large rucksack you can do your weekly grocery shop by e-bike.
Another successful week of charging my battery at the company’s expense, and I get a text from a friend who lives several miles away from me, suggesting we go for a pint after work*. Very well! I take the huge detour to go and meet him at the other end of town for a catch-up. My friend complains about the lack of parking in this area of town. I suggest he gets an e-bike.
It’s been a fairly average week for me, and I’ve already knocked up some impressive stats before even getting to the weekend:
Distance commuted by bike: 100+ miles
Money spent on commuting: £0
Money spent charging the battery: £0**
Time spent in the great outdoors: 6.5 hours
Time spent looking for a parking space: 0 minutes 0 seconds
Time spent cursing hills and headwinds: 0 minutes 0 seconds
*Is it illegal to drink and cycle? Cycling UK says: “The charge would be for ‘cycling under the influence of drink or drugs’, and you would be guilty of this offence if you were unfit to ride through drink or drugs – that is to say, to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle.“
**If you’re wondering how much it might cost you to charge at home, here it is: Depending on your electricity provider and sometimes the time of day, it’s about 12p for a full charge. So even if you leave the bike on max assist as I do, it’s less than 40p a week for a busy week of 100 miles. To the nearest pound, it is indeed £0.