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To Motor or not to Motor?

Had often thought that motors were for softies; or occasional cyclist unhardened by years of daily cycle commuting. But we've now had an electric bike in the household for a year and thoughts have changed.

Yes hills are flattened, a head wind pales into insignificance and the days of arriving for meetings hot, sweaty and disheveled are over; but it has also been pivotal in the whole family moving away from the car to pedalled transport.

There may be an element of meaness in my resolve, "if we've got this expensive machine in the shed we're jolly well going to use it!". It's more than that though. I'll now ride the electric on longer journeys when tempted by the car, or when feelling a lack of energy. The imperitive is even greater with a laden cargo, hills can deplete your energy levels rapidly; letting the battery take the strain seems sense.

On family bike rides the weakest cyclist in the team will ride with the motor, equalising strengths, we may well swap round as energy levels rise and fall. Harmony prevails, yet everyone gets exercise - estimates vary but it is reckoned that an electric bike typically reduces your effort by 30-50%.

Bad weather is no longer a deterrent. Waterproofs are fine, I have a particular fondness for overshoes - cold wet feet are one of my greatest dislikes - but cycling any distance finds the limitations of even the most breathable outer garments. Namely, you either slow down or drown from the inside out. With the motor to assist, enough heat is generated to keep warm but not so as to work up a lather.

In short the motor just makes a bike the most appropriate tool for all utility journeys up to 10 miles. With a cargo bike the carrying capacity makes the motorised version the urban vehicle of choice for nigh on every eventuality, one I would turn to on all occasions - other than when simply enjoying the simple pleasure of riding "man and machine in perfect harmony". The electric bike is now in my personal bicycle fleet well and truly on merit and has increased our whole family pedal milage!

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