Thursday, 2 March 2017

Electric bikes

When I was a callow youth, I went everywhere by bike.  It's a mode of transport that I like; it keeps me fit, I get to see the coutryside, and it's cheap and eco-friendly.

The coutryside in Mayenne is undulating, cut with lots of river valleys, and the hills are fierce.  That doesn't mean that it's impossible to enjoy pleasant rides, but it does mean that it gets very tiring; I get out of breath and sweaty going up the hills.  That's not a problem if I'm just out for a ride, but if I'm going somewhere where I have to be presentable, it's not good.

I've been looking at electric bikes for a little while, in the hope that they might represent a solution to this problem.  Last weekend we bought one each.  I'm happy with that decision; the electric assist does everything I want: the ride is just like normal, but easier.  And the killer hills to and from my house are now a doddle.

The criteria were different for Anita; she is looking for a leisure bike, a means of gentle, low-impact excercise.  She doesn't have the experience on bikes that I have, so an easy-to-ride bike with smaller wheels is the thing.  She's pleased with hers too.

We bought them from a shop in Le Mans, paying a deposit first and then coming back a few days later to collect them.  They were supposed to be ready, Anita's was, but the lock hadn't been fitted to mine, and the gears were not quite properly aligned, and needed adjusting, something I had asked to be done whey paying the deposit.  So not a perfect score for the shop.

Incidentally, in french, the word for flat in music (as in D flat major, for example) is bémol, which used to just indicate that the B is flat, indicated by the round b: B molle (c.f. german, where a plump, chubby or curvy girl might politely be described as mollig).  The (musical) word for natural is bécarre, that is B carré, or square, indicated by a square-shaped b, the sign for which has acquired a slant and a tail over the years.

This is relevant to bike shopping, because in french, a bémol can indicate a downgrade, a negative, and in the case of our bike shop, un petit bémol could describe their failure to have my bike ready.


James Higham said...

Again, most interesting and think it is the way to go in older age.

DAD said...

Can you give makes and (approx) price, please? All here in France profond are about €1000, which seem expensive. Some of the Supermarket chains are a little cheeper, but I an not sure of after-service. Would one be able to buy a new battery when it becomes necessary.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi DAD, mine is a Haibike Sduro 4.0 at just over €2,000, Anita's is a Evelo at around half that. The price also depends on the battery life/range that you want to get out of it.

I bought them from a specialist eBike shop in Le Mans where they seem to have a decent after-sales service.

Normally you can buy replacement batteries; depending on usage you should get about 5 years out of one. Replacement prices are of the order of a few hundred euro.

Amfortas said...

I have had an eBike for some 6 or 7 years and like y'self I bought it for the 'assist' uphill. It is a beaut, with small wheels so I do not have far to fall off. It also folds in half (plus the handle bar can fold down) so it fits in the back of my car. I searched everywhere for one but could only find chunky ones for extortionate prices. But then I found a chap in Queensland who sells from the internet and he delivered mine to me for just under Au$1400. It has never let me down.

Mark In Mayenne said...

HI Amfortas, AU$1400 sounds like a very good price. I hope you enjoy it, I am certainly enjoying mine!

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