15th March 2017

Normal humans tell us why they want to try an electric bike


Just some normal people on electric bikes.


Contrary to what many electro-sceptics will have you believe, most people who want an electric bike aren’t fantastically lazy or morbidly obese. We recently heard from over 900 people who wanted to try an electric bike as part of a competition we ran, and several themes kept on coming up again and again. We’ve shared these with you below.

Are you one of these ‘normal’ people? Do you know someone who feels the same? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(Note: You can try an electric bike any time by swinging by one of our shops across the UK, and you can also book a two-day test ride if you contact us in advance.)

1. The long commuter

“I regularly commute from south Edinburgh to Easter Bush, covering about 60 miles in commuting every week. In September my potential commute is likely to triple but I want to keep cycling. I’m not yet sure about the gradients I’ll be facing, so I was wondering whether an electric bike might be a potential option.” – Andrew, age group 18-25

We say: Electric bikes are ideal for commutes both long and short, especially if you don’t want to arrive covered in sweat. Just read Co-op member Simon’s Whyte  Coniston review, ‘Confessions of a fit young lad‘.

2. The electro curious

“I use my bike every day to go to uni, do the groceries, see friends, go to the city to go out, even when I moved house I used my bike to carry everything. I am sceptical about using an electric bicycle instead of my current one because of the need to charge it. However when I’m cycling up one of the countless hills in Edinburgh and the wind blows into my face I often wish to have this extra magic power that comes with an electric motor.” – Sebastian, age group 18-25

We say: At a bare minimum the battery will last for 40-50 miles per charge, and a higher end Kalkhoff will last for over 90 miles in eco mode. A small computer display on the bike tells you how much battery you have left. And yes, an electric motor does make you 100% hill and wind proof.

Dundas Street: Ruining your commute since 1767. Photo courtesy of Edinburgh World Heritage Tours.

Dundas Street: Ruining your commute since 1767. Photo courtesy of Edinburgh World Heritage Tours.

3. The getting-back-into-it cyclist

“I’m a returning cyclist. I want to get back in the habit of cycling to work from Rosyth to Edinburgh. An electric bike would give me a kick start  and may be a good option longer term for those days where I don’t quite feel like it, which was most days last year! I have to say that the Coniston is the only one I’d consider testing/buying from your selection, largely based on looks. I really don’t like the sit up and beg option – that put me off e-bikes in the past.” Jim in Fife, age group 36-45

We say: While the upright ‘Dutch style’ bike is very popular with some people, most of our electric bikes look pretty slick.

4. The cycling enthusiast

“As an owner of two road bikes, a hardtail mountain bike and a full-sus mountain bike, I regularly refer to the N+1 rule (the rule that says the number of bikes you should own is always N+1, with N being the number of bikes currently owned – ed.)  While I’d assumed that my next investment in the world of cycling would be a fixie, an encounter during a recent family trip to the Lake District piqued my e-bike fancy. I consider myself a reasonable cyclist, yet one evening as a friend and I ploughed a decent pace on a challenging climb, we were easily passed by someone  on an electric hybrid. The ease with which he scooted past us, combined with the fact that he looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself got us thinking that we might be missing out on something good.” Harry, age group 36-45

We say: You are missing out. Our Gary, who also follows the n+1 rule, tried out an electric mountain bike recently and won’t shut up about it.

The appropriate number of bicycles is always n+1, where 'n' is the number of bicycles you currently own.

The appropriate number of bicycles is always n+1, where ‘n’ is the number of bicycles you currently own. Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Times.

5. The injured cyclist

“I had an MTB accident in July 2016. I fell 16ft off a drop into the river. I broke 6 vertebra, flail chest fracture (each rib broke in 2 places), broken scapula & punctured lung (later lung collapsed with empyema needed emergency chest drain). Lots of time lied on my back in hospital. Then lots of rehabilitation at home & hospital. So I am just getting back on my feet or bike would be more appropriate.  An electric bike seems ideal for my needs so I would love to test one as that added power the battery gives the rider would be great. If it works for me, it should work for anyone.” – Ian in Leeds, age group 46-55

We say: That sounds terrible – we’re really glad you seem to be on the mend. Many of our electric bike customers are people who have been injured and are keen to get back into the thing they love doing best. We hope to see you in rude health next time you’re in the Leeds shop!

French cyclist Robert Marchand, aged 105, cycles to set a record for distance cycled in one hour, at the velodrome of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, outside Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

French (non-electric) cyclist Robert Marchand, aged 105, sets a new record in 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

6. The older and wiser cyclist

“I will be 70 years old this July and a couple of years ago I started cycle touring: A mixture of camping, hostelling and the occasional Air B&B. Last year one route I cycled was the Hebridean Way and while on Barra I met a women in her 80’s on her electric bike doing the same route as me! I thought then, as I struggled to keep up with her, that an electric bike would enable me to continue something I loved to do even when aging limbs make this more difficult solely under my own steam. Also, I have been leaving my wife, who is less physically able than me, at home when I tour and we have thought about an electric bike so we could tour together. For these reasons an opportunity to try out a bike for a week would be really great.” Paul in Edinburgh, 70 years old

We say: Many of our older and wiser customers are attracted to electric bikes because of the increased ease of travel/leisure on offer. We can’t think of a better way to spend our time once the ol’ knees give in.

Book a two-day test ride

Shop electric bikes

Read ‘Owning an electric bike: Confessions of a fit young lad’

5 comments on “Normal humans tell us why they want to try an electric bike

  1. Juliet Parkinson on

    I started using an electric bike when I was unfit as a way to get into the habit of a cycling commute – I soon graduated to a non-electric bike but then a few years later achilles problems mean I can no longer put the effort in that I used to, so I have returned to an electric bike (rather than the bus).
    I started with a Kalkhoff and now have an EBCO which I bought under the Edinburgh Bike Co-op “bike to work” scheme.
    I can’t tell you how many men in lycra have bust a gut to catch me thinking I was putting them to shame – I always confess though.

  2. David Harrison on

    I am a 73 year old who purchased a FTM Lycan full suspension e-bike last (2016) April. I did over 2000 miles in the first 6 months at places like Chopwell Woods, Hamsterley Forest, Keilder Forest , Mabie and Dalbeattie forests. The bike climbs brilliantly and I often repeat routes immediately afterwards because I am still feeling fit. The only disadvantage is that I return with the e-bike smile firmly fixed to my face.

  3. Alex Amato on

    Love this article, well written and fun to read! I used to be an e-bike hater, but once you take out a quality e-bike for a spin, there’s no denying that they’re fun!

  4. smoz on

    My wife bought an EBCO last year and it’s great. I regularly sneak a go. It just makes you unstoppable. Now we can cycle together although she has a habit of creeping right up behind me on inclines which really freaks me out. We did a section of the Great Irish Way last year which was so enjoyable and just not possible without the help of a little electricity.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 × 2 =