I like my bikes although probably own too many. I even still have one of the very first "Muddy Foxes" to be imported into the UK, very much retired. I have mainly biked for leisure and an element of keeping fit. Over the years I have also enjoyed biking to work and did so whenever the chance arose. With a good set of panniers and a decent bike a 10/15 mile commute is quite do-able. However since leaving my last company 10 years ago and setting up my own business I now have an office at home so no longer any commuting. Over the years I have managed to bike to a number of clients sites which has worked well. The trick is to take it steady and not arrive pouring with sweat!!
I have often looked at electric bikes and they have certainly developed sinificantly over the past 5 years. Whilst the mainstream and familiar brands have electric bikes (think Giant, Trek, Cannodale) there are a lot of other excellent brands who only make electric bikes. I did quite a bit of research and I narrowed it down to the Reise & Muller Roadster Touring HS, a Moustache Friday or Moustache Samedi. There wasn't much in them so I decided to go for the Reise & Muller and that was primarilly down to having a local dealer.
I purchased my bike from 50cycles who have their Head Office, and showroom, in Lougborough. Scott and Tim set up the business in 2003 (yes 2003) which I find remarkable as I think of electric bikes as being new to the market. They have a good range of bikes, very knowledgable and are very helpful. Note that they have other outlets besides Loughborough.
Well after a week of using the new bike I am impressed. The bike is very smooth to ride and with a hybrid/sit up position is very comfortable. My aim is to use it in parallel with my other bikes but hopefully extend the mileage covered and use it more for "work". The bike has a 9 speed derailleur and a 4 speed eletric motor giving Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo modes. Quite simply the higher mode you are in the shorter the battery life.
During the first week I covered 85 miles. Some of those trips have been local, 8/10 mile round trips and because they are short I have tended to use Tour or Sport. These trips become easy and you can move along at a good pace. On some trips I average c20mph and that is quite often with panniers and therefore additional weight. I have also been further afield with the longest so far being a 42 mile round trip to Leicester. In both directions (there direct route, return scenic) I averaged 18.5mph. The aspect I hadn't appreciated that as you have the electric assistance the overall effort is reduced. The result is you can do a 20 mile ride in 1h 5m and arrive feeling pretty fresh and not overheating. I also wore normal office clothes and no lycra!!
One initial concern I did have was the range. On the trip to Leicester I left with a fully charged battery which showed a range of 58 miles. The round trip was 42 so in theory 16 left in the tank. The battery information said I had enough charge for a further 26 miles giving a total of 68. What is of note is that the battery level/range data is dynamic. Therefore when biking for example in Eco mode and not pressing on you will see the range creep up. I fully expect that with some practice the range can be increased.
I have been to Loughborough today and tomorrow am going to Nottingham and then onto Bingham and fully intend to bike. So in conclusion I am very pleased, my car is staying at home more so saving fuel and the big benefit of getting some fresh air and exercise. One final bonus, biking makes good "thinking time" which I don't seem to do when driving.