Saturday, 14 February 2015

Electric Bikes at eCycle UK Review



Evan Burgess went to Stroud to find out more about eCycle Uk´s range of powered bikes...
The Ørsted bike, better than a car in built up areas!
A2B bikes are a marvellous product which I discovered first hand on the 7th Feb in Stroud. If you have ever had a flying dream, you will know what it was like for me coming down the hill on Parliament Rd on a Ferber electric bicycle. Sat quite high up on the bicycle at a steep incline, it almost felt like I was floating. Anyone going down the hill in question will know what it is like, so steep that you find the ground falling away from you even when walking. With the electric motor kicking in to propel me along until I shut it off, the odd sensation of levitation allowed me to see Stroud in all its glory. The closest thing I’ve experienced to coming down the hill on an electric bike is landing in an aeroplane. Ironically, the Ferber is named after Wright Brother´s early supporter Ferdinand Ferber.


Stroud being one of the hilliest towns in the Cotswolds, it makes sense that a shop specialising in powered pedal bikes would set up. More interesting than coming down the hill perhaps, is the fact I got up it in the first place at up to 14mph thanks to the Ferber’s electric motor. The bike weighs roughly 4 stone, add me on top for a combined weight of 18 stone going up the hill, the motor certainly has some power. On the straights I managed to get up to 17mph and the 2 mile round journey only took 10 minutes. Interestingly, I ended up coming down the hill slower than going up it. This was due to the fact the momentum could soon have taken over. It was thanks to the solidity of the brakes that things kept stable, whilst I was ever on the lookout for parked cars opening their doors.
 
The Ferber, good for going up steep hills or shopping trips!

With a digital display documenting my speed and the battery power at all times, it was a joy to see my progress. If you live in a town and want to avoid driving and parking, the Ferber is a great option. Considering gridlock means that cars are often shuffling along at 8mph, I managed to squeeze through traffic and get around faster than if I had driven. For an older person with the money to spare, going for country rides (fully charged the bike has a range of 62 miles) with battery enhanced power would be great. Adding some bags/containers to the bike would also make it useful for shopping.


The fun didn’t stop for me as manager Jacob Kirby demanded I try out the Ørsted. Named after a Danish physicist who in turn gave his name to Denmark´s first satellite, how far was I going to end up being launched? It turned out I was just going to make a move to the Stroud Brewery on the London Road. No drinking was involved, but it´s situated along the straightest road Stroud has to offer. Taking a convoluted ride through the town centre, I then headed past Waitrose up to 19mph. This was a thrilling and immense journey and after 1.6 miles in five minutes, I turned around. Considering Google Maps estimates the car journey at 4 minutes, that isn´t bad! Trying to get back up the driveway I had gone down into the industrial estate from a standing start however was a bit harder than I expected. With the incline too steep for the 4stone bicycle, I had to get onto more level ground before taking off and getting up to 10mph in a few seconds. Even an ambulance passing me didn´t stop me from a round trip of just 12 minutes. The speed back into the town was largely thanks to being able to zigzag through the traffic.


Electric bikes are quality items and not cheap. But if you are a professional, retired or simply don´t want the hassle of a car, the bikes I reviewed would be ideal. When a decent car costs the same to run in a few years as a Ferber or Ørsted costs to buy, it could be a long term financial certainty to go for an electric bike over a car.

Find out more about eCycle Uk here!