Press Reviews

Electric bikes really take the sweat out of cycling!

Gemma Peplow from the Leicester Mercury visits Justebikes’ new branch in Leicester..

Pedal power a problem? E-bikes may be the answer. Gemma Peplow is won over after easing her way to work on an electric bike

Well, this is a new feeling. As we write this, we’re sitting at our desk at Counter Culture HQ, early for work, feeling all refreshed for not having done the half-walk, half-run thing we usually have to do when we realise we’re running late, again. No, today, despite hitting snooze several times this morning, we’re here nice and early, ready to tackle a hard day’s shopping.

Our secret? Well, today we whizzed our way to work on an electric bike, which is, quite simply, the best thing ever. We’re hooked. We’d sell our car and trade it in for an e-bike, if it weren’t for those pesky motorways.

The e-bike has been loaned to us by Justebikes, a new electric bike shop which you’ll find on Hinckley Road, Leicester

We’ll be honest, we struggled giving it back.

E-bikes, by the way, look similar to conventional bikes, but have a rechargeable battery, an electric motor and a control system. Which means they offer all the benefits of conventional cycling, without the sweat. Now, we’re not saying it’s good to take the exercise bit out of cycling. Conventional cycling is good for you; we get that. But if you’re looking for something for your commute, to get you from A to B without the need for a good wash and a change of clothes afterwards, the e-bike will become your best friend.

For Martin Cronk, who owns the store, e-bikes have been a hobby for years.

“Years ago, I had an injury at work on a building site,” he tells us. “I wrecked my knee and hip and can’t walk far. I converted my own bike into an e-bike, in the late ’90s, before they got big. It became a hobby and now, I’ve turned it into a job.

“For people who find cycling hard, who might not bother otherwise, they’re great.

“It’s about pleasure and fun, and you’re still getting some exercise, and out in the fresh air.”

On my first day on the e-bike, my usual 35-minute walk (40, on a particularly slow day) takes me 12 minutes. I get this down to 10 in just a couple of days. That’s a whole 25 minutes extra in bed, readers. 25 minutes extra snooze time. 25 minutes to dedicate to morning TV. 25 minutes to whip up a full English, should I wish.

My journey back, which involves a slight hill, is even better.

This is brilliant, I think, as I whizz straight up, pushing my assistance to the highest level, no slog necessary.

Okay, so electric bikes don’t come that cheap. The Crussis, a folding bike, is the cheapest, currently priced at £599.

A Benelli, which can go for about 20 to 30 miles without charging, and has four set assistance levels, will set you back the best part of £1,000. Spartas, which have a sensor and offer assistance based on the pressure you put on the pedals, saving power, are £2,000.

The most expensive in the store is a Rotwild E1, which will set you back £5,200.

But, the store is in the process of signing up to the Ride To Work scheme, which saves you money and gives you the opportunity to pay monthly, if your workplace offers it.

We’ll definitely be signing up!