It may not be the most natural sight in the world to see someone riding a bike uphill without doing any pedalling, but those who own an electric bike will be completely at home with this concept. An electric bike, sometimes called an eBike is simply a normal bike with a motor attached. This motor can come in many different sizes, even ranging to a full blown moped-style engine for those who want a little whoosh to their ride, but what stays common among all electric bikes is the ability and choice to pedal if one so wishes.
Along with the motor comes a rechargeable battery which typically fits fairly inconspicuously somewhere on the bike. These days the batteries are typically light-weight and very efficient allowing the rider to go up to 30 miles quite easily before pedal power is the only option. You may be thinking well where on earth I can find somewhere to charge my bike but charging stations are popping up everywhere as eBikes gain in popularity. You may even see Boris Johnson riding an eBike on his way back to Parliament after the introduction of electric bikes to London’s Bike Hire Scheme.
There is legislation governing eBikes in England so if you were thinking of taking to the road please be aware you must be at least 14 years of age and that your bike isn’t capable of going more than 15.5mph on battery-power alone. If you’re pedalling like crazy and going downhill, you’re completely within the law and probably having a great time. Best of all you don’t need a licence! If you’re travelling on road or pavement your bike is going to love it, no matter how steep the road, but if you’re looking to go off-road with your eBike in the mud the battery and range will be somewhat reduced. However, if the worst comes to the worst and you do run out of juice it is always comforting to know pedal power will see you home.
Just to show how popular ebikes are becoming a new sight will be seen on London’s streets next year as Boris Johnson introduces an addition to his rental bike scheme. Several hundred battery-powered bikes will be available for rent with many of them placed in some of the hilliest parts of the capital including Muswell Hill, Alexandra Palace, Crouch End and a base station at Finsbury Park. One of the great things about the docking stations is that they will also double as charging points for electric bikes.