Penny and the e-bike

22 November 2020  |  by Penny

I used to cycle everywhere.  Living in Brighton it was the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get around.

I stopped cycling when I moved to Seaford.  My trusty bike, that I have owned since I was a student, would get an outing every now and again for special occasions, sunny days out.  I got a new job which meant driving every day between different clinics across east sussex.

When lockdown happened in March, I was able to work in a clinic closer to home and did not have to make the tight school run schedule.

The route between Seaford and Newhaven is a beautiful one through a nature reserve.  But the hill at the end in Newhaven was a killer.  I would arrive sweaty, shaking, although with a sense of achievement.  And that was when the weather was nice and calm.

Then my friend lent me his e-bike for a week, and i was immediately infatuated!

This was an absolute gamechanger.  The hill at the end, my nemesis, I could fly up at 10 mph without breaking a sweat.  Headwind?  No problem! 

I obsessively researched my options, bike to work scheme (still very costly), convert my old bike, so long neglected in the shed, or rent a bike.  As social media overhears everything, I responded to a facebook ad that happened to pop up for an initiative called pedal power , who provide bikes, both normal and electric, for up to 6 months.  I pay £40 a month rental, and at the end of the 6 months I can choose to buy the bike at a discounted cost, minus all the rent I’ve paid, or give it back, or rent a new one.

Since signing up, I cycle 2-3 times per week, replacing the commute in the car with the bike.  The weather is no problem, as strong winds can be tackled by cranking up the power.  So far I have not been too caught out by heavy rain, but again with the option of increasing power this really shortens the journey.  As the nights draw in I have realised the need for high vis (thanks Gemma!), and very good quality lighting (driving through a nature reserve in the dark is pretty hair raising!)  Not only am I cutting down on car usage, I am getting more exercise, and feel my overall wellbeing is better than with driving.

Renting was perfect for me as I wasn’t sure whether I would continue to cycle once the schools reopened and the winter weather hit. But I have continued to cycle, in wind, rain, sun, and fog, which I probably would not have done with my old faithful bike, still sat in the shed.

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