The joy of the power assisted cycling – Mike and Joanna’s travel story
My partner Mike bought his first electric bike in 2013 as his lack of kneecaps meant the hills were a trial for him. It was a German make, Kalkhoff Tasman, which returned his joy of cycling. Built like an armoured car with 7 gears and a powerful battery it was very heavy duty but also very heavy.
Initially I continued with my Giant road bike, until I had a horse riding accident in 2014, breaking my spine in 2 places. Following my accident walking became difficult for me so we decided to buy a camper and the idea of both of us being able to get around easily wherever we were, led to my buying a Gtech city bike. This is a simple British built machine with no gears, a carbon belt instead of a conventional chain and a battery that has 2 power assist settings. Easy to ride on the flat without any power on but then a quick push of the button and hills are a breeze. I remember my great uncle who had very bad arthritis getting around by bike when he could no longer walk more than a few steps.
We cycle in and around Salisbury to do the shopping, go to the pub or with the COGS cycling group. It gets us out all year round and makes us notice the amount of good weather rather than moaning about the bad! I read an article this week that cycling is thought to be good exercise for those with diabetes as it does not put weight on the feet. Worth a try?
We have travelled all over Europe with the bikes on the back of the camper. We have cycled around Amsterdam and Berlin to a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Barenboim, coming back through the silent streets of Berlin at midnight, humming the music on our way, to our campsite near the airport. A fair few miles!
We have cycled alongside rivers and followed disused railway lines in France, West Germany and Portugal and around Zaragoza in Spain. The joy of the electric bike means that you never have to worry about running out of steam on the way home. Ours will do about 25 miles on a charge. It also means that when you have done the shopping you have some assistance with the extra weight.
Recently Mike has bought a new lighter bike by Juicy, a British brand built in the Peak District. This is easier to lift onto the back of the camper and has a bit more power for him on the hills. It is a good idea to try a few different bikes to find out which is best for you. A good hill test in Salisbury is Milford Hill and the guys in Brown Street that sell Juicy Bikes will take you out for a test ride up there by arrangement.
Cycling is a joy, especially if you know that the hills will be easy. The Salisbury traffic is no longer an issue with bike spaces at most traffic lights and some mainly off road trails such as the Golden Way to ride along. We have got to see much more of the local area in recent months and would recommend getting out there.