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 https://eastsussexpedalpower.com/ , 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.