Electrify your Exploration

STORY BY Anne 19th July 2017

What do you know about the e-mtb revolution?  Have you seen the hype and thought not for me, or are you intersted in trying one out to see what they are all about?  Then read on…

The great outdoors is a vast and exciting place to explore, majestic mountains and tumbling waterfalls, forests full of birdsong and views over valleys where rivers shimmer in sunlight are enough to make your spirits soar.  Sometimes lacking the confidence to go for it can hold you back, stopping you from finding these moments of perfect calm, where the spectacular power of nature is imprinted upon your memory forever.

Getting out on a bike opens up the countryside and brings the wonder of nature within reach.   And now, a quiet revolution has arrived on our shores from Europe, helping people to have the confidence to explore.  Electric bike sales have exploded on the continent with 650,000 sold in 2015 in Germany and Holland alone.   These bikes, known as e-bikes, have an electric motor and battery pack attached and aid the rider to make it easier to go further, explore more and experience the beautiful outdoors that has inspired artists, poets and naturalists for generations.

Don’t just take our word for it though, in 2015 Gary (61) and Rachael (57) Corbett decided to escape the everyday grind and embark on an exploration of Europe on bike.  Neither had been on a long-distance bike journey before, and Rachael, who had just recovered from a serious illness, was still suffering with joint pain.

Taking on this challenging trip on a normal bike could have been too much, but the discovery of the Haibike Trekking e-bike gave them the confidence to give it a go.  They even set themselves the hugely ambitious goal of beating the long-distance e-bike world record of 16,049km.  Nine months into their exploration and they had matched the world record; by the end of the trip they had a jaw-dropping 28,000km on the clock.

“People of all ages – even those who currently think that riding a bicycle is impractical or impossible because of hills, distance, fitness levels, health reasons, knee problems or ageing – will now hopefully be able to see that riding an electric bicycle is not only possible, but the best thing they can do for their health and lifestyle.”  Gary Corbett

An e-bike has an electric motor attached meaning struggling up hills and against headwinds are a thing of the past.  The motors are either in the hub of one of the wheels or attached to the pedals.  The motors are powered by a removable battery pack that typically provides power for 75km of cycling in one charge.  Charging the battery couldn’t be simpler, this is done by plugging it into the charger whilst the battery is still on the bike or removing the battery pack and charging it separately.

The e-bike senses how hard you are pedalling and then adds the amount of power you need. And whether you’re feeling energetic or just need a little extra boost, you can choose the amount of assistance by simply pressing a button on the handlebar.  Don’t worry about special requirements to ride these bikes though, as the assistance stops once you’re travelling over 15.5mph.  This means that there’s no need for special driving licence or mandatory insurance.

With an e-bike you can return to the saddle successfully, even after a long lay-off. You certainly don’t need to be a die-hard cyclist, nor do you need to be superfit.  These bikes bring the spectacular countryside closer to your door, all you need to do is push-off and pedal towards it, gently assisted by the bike!

To help give a guide on which bikes to watch out for, we’ve taken a look at a couple from leading e-bike makers, Raleigh bikes and Haibike;

Haibike sDuro Trekking 5.0 £2700.00

This bike is extremely versatile, great for both touring, exploring and for everyday commuting.  The bike comes with front suspension forks to take out the bumps and lumps thrown at you by the tracks and trails.  The lights run from the main battery and the LCD display clearly shows how much juice is left in the battery.  There should be no concerns about stopping this bike either, with hydraulic disc brakes from leading manufacturer, Shimano.  For the more serious explorer, the bike comes with a rack that can take up to 20kg. The motor and battery system are both manufactured by Yamaha, and provide fantastic performance with great reliability.

For more information, please visit a local Haibike dealer or see www.haibike.com.

Raleigh Strada E £2,250

With over 125 years of designing and making bikes, Raleigh have brought together all the know-how and experience to create the Strada E.  This bike is great for people looking to explore the countryside and use the bike to commute – it’s the classic weekday worker, weekend warrior.  It has the Shimano Steps e-bike system that gives the rider the power and assistance to make it up long climbs smoothly and quickly.

For more information, please visit a local Raleigh dealer or see www.raleigh.co.uk.



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