Written by Gwynneth, Bicycle Co-op fan and confident electric cyclist.
It is safe to say that this bike revolutionised my commute. Four years ago I stopped cycling to work after a near miss with a taxi. On top of this, the demands of childcare meant that I couldn’t get to nursery in time for pick-up. My route home offered only hills – either a cycle up Queen’s Drive followed by a slow climb through the Grange and up Clinton Road; or a death defying, glass dodging route through the Cowgate, Grass Market and Lothian Road before the eventual sanctuary of the canal tow path.
The Whyte Coniston Women’s 2017 electric bike changed everything. It took away the dread of the hills. Instead of struggling up them I actually enjoyed incorporating them into my journey, sailing past fellow cyclists. The added speed this bike gives you is great in traffic. I felt much safer on the roads and at traffic lights I was able to get away quickly from the cars sat behind me. The only thing that this bike couldn’t change was the Edinburgh weather, and during my trial week I encountered very high winds (which always seemed to be blowing into my face). Even this didn’t put me off.
So what was it that I liked about this electric bike in particular?
It was fun to ride. I’d had a quick go on an electric bike before which I hadn’t enjoyed as I felt as though I was constantly fighting against the motor. This bike was totally different. It has 4 settings to control the amount of assistance you get – none (off), eco, mid and high. It’s easy to switch between these, meaning that you can choose to get a workout when you want or get that extra ‘push’ up the hill when needed. The gears are smooth and you can hit some good top speeds, which took 15 minutes off my commute time. Word of warning though – beware of the new 20mph speed limits!
The bike is comfortable to ride. I particularly like the shaped hand grips, which give a lot of support, and it has a very comfortable saddle as well.
Charging was quick and easy and the on-board computer gives you lots of fun statistics and keeps track of the number of miles you have left in charge.
The only down side that I could find is that the bike is quite heavy. You don’t notice this when you’re on the move, it’s when you are trying to manoeuvre it up and down steps (which I had to do to get to the canal tow path) or in and out of the garage. However, don’t let this put you off, it’s a fantastic bike.