London Time Out electric bike review: “Like cycling with a Jetpack! “
TimeOut editor Simone Baird takes to London streets on an electric bike…
“For someone who is not a courier or even an enthusiastic cycling amateur, I felt incredibly snotty about reviewing this electric bike. After all, if you’re going to cycle, then cycle. An electric bike in London? For wimps scared of getting a motorbike.
I cycle solely for speed: it’s the quickest way to get from Shoreditch into Central London and back again each day.
Despite Boris Bikes easily doubling a tanks – what they lack in speed and agility, they make up for by being able to sail over any pothole a neglectful council can throw at me – I’ve found they’re even more convenient than my own admittedly fairly average hybrid.
When I collected the e-bike, I was too embarrassed to even turn it on until practically home. Cycling something that would surely sound like a small lawn mower? I’d never be able to show my face again. As a traditional bicycle, it was decent: loads of gears plus two outstanding brakes. The seat was comfy but there are others more suited to erm, ladies.
One street from home, I leaned down to the black box, hit the small button… and flew like the wind. There was no noisy motor – barely a futuristic-sounding hum – but gosh damn and hold tight, how fast I went.
I was still cycling – if you take your feet off the pedals they stop – but now I was cycling with a jetpack. The bikes assistance seemed to cut out around the 17mph mark and I still worked up a sweat. I was simply able to get to top speed very, very quickly.
Verdict: London on a Haibike e-bike:
I took the e-bike out thinking I’d heap derision on it. But I loved it and consistently shaved seven minutes off a 22-minute commute. Although cycling that fast might sound worrying, I found it felt safer: the bikes acceleration put me on a par with traffic behind me. Best of all? Arsey couriers were left in my wake!