Birmingham news I swapped my car for an e-bike and saved a fortune on fuel PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Gareth Butterfield tried switching four wheels for two to see if he can live with an e-bike instead of a car
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! You might have noticed, the price of fuel is pretty scary at the moment. And while those who can afford to are switching to electric cars in their droves, it's not really an option I can afford. So I've been wondering whether I might be able to lower my fuel bills by taking to two wheels. We're always being told cycling is good for us, the government seems to want us all on bikes, and there's a bike shop in every town nowadays. The trouble is, I'm not as fit as I used to be when I last rode everywhere on a bike. Since I passed my driving test in my late teens the miracle of motoring has made me lazy and reluctant to spend time in the saddle. But these are desperate times, and thankfully technology has provided an answer to my idleness - in the form of an electric bike. The e-bike has become hugely popular over the last few years and, as we all start to feel the pinch when it comes to visiting the petrol pump, is now the best time ever to buy an e-bike? Can it really replace a car? What is it like to live with an e-bike and leave the car on the driveway? The nice people at Halfords have lent me one of their entry-level e-bikes to help me set out to answer this question. I've been living with their own-brand Carrera Subway E hybrid bike now for several weeks, and let's just say, it's been a fun experiment. The bike arrived in a huge box, pretty much fully assembled. I had to fit the pedals, straighten up the handlebars, charge the battery and unpack a few bits and bobs, but it took minutes to get going. Even the tyres were fully pumped up. E-bikes have a motor, which will be either rear, mid or front-mounted, a battery, and a control panel. The rest of the workings are hidden away. The Subway E has a rear-mounted motor, which is certainly preferable to a front-drive system, but usually less powerful than a mid-drive version. Being at the cheaper end of the e-bike scale, weighing in at a thoroughly reasonable £1,099, the Subway E has a smaller battery than some more expensive bikes. At nine amp/hours it's good for a claimed 40 miles, but only if you take it easy on the assistance. I'll go into more detail on the range shortly. Impressively, the Subway E does have Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano gears, and metal Wellgo pedals, so they haven't skimped on the spec. The handle-bar mounted control panel is a bit small and there's only a quick-release lever on the front wheel, not the saddle or rear wheel. But the tyres are excellent, it's a bit lighter than some of the e-bikes I've ridden, partly thanks to that compact battery, and the saddle is very comfortable. If you've never ridden an e-bike, you're in for a treat. Even in a low-power setting, they provide a really quite surprising amount of assistance, and they're great for getting up hills without having to break a sweat. This is why I wondered if I could use an e-bike for work-related trips. I wouldn't want to use a conventional bike, because I'd just turn up sweaty and out of breath, and that's never a professional look. Over the weeks I've been testing it, I've taken it to meetings, I've ridden out to get pictures for the weekly newspaper I work on, I've been back and forth to the shops a lot and I've even ridden it to my mother's house nearly 10 miles away for the weekly spot of gardening assistance. And the bike hasn't missed a beat. Honestly, genuinely, I'm bowled over by how easy it's been to leave the car on the driveway and ride a bike instead. There's a lot of hills in my area, but it copes incredibly well with all but the very steepest inclines. And even on the steep stuff it gives enough assistance to ensure you're not puffing and panting by the top. The longest ride I've done was to my mother's, roughly a 20-mile round trip. It was daunting at first, but while the rural roads are hilly, the bike handled them well, and I was even able to keep it on its lowest setting for most of the journey, which meant I still had plenty of battery to spare when I got back. There are four power-assistance modes. The most powerful is "turbo", which will wipe out the battery in less than 10 miles. But I've found it's rarely needed.
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. Handily, the little display can tell you how many miles you should expect to have left, given the current riding conditions, and it also gives you your speed, trip distance, and some other useful information. Sadly I struggled to read it with polarised sunglasses, but that's a minor grip. The long and short of it is, I've absolutely loved being out on a bike again. There's very little effort involved with an e-bike, but I already feel a little fitter, which is great. I will add the small but important caveat that, during the time I've spent testing an e-bike the weather has been dry and largely sunny. This makes your wardrobe choice easy and, crucially, it means I won't get wet. Using a bike in the rain is something I have little appetite for, and it's a significant consideration if you're thinking of making a swap. A pair of mudguards would help on wet roads, but if you go out and get a soaking in a sudden deluge, it won't be a good look. There's also an array of options for carrying things on your bike. While I've been able to go and do light shops with a rucksack, I'd strongly consider a good set of panniers, as it'll give me a bit more practical storage. I did manage to pull my old bike trailer with it a few times, but lugging back a hefty weekly shop from Aldi really did tax the battery and I found I needed to help it along more than I'd have liked. But it's fair enough, a weekly shop isn't exactly travelling light. So there are flaws when it comes to switching to two wheels. Some obvious, some not so obvious. But let's remember the benefits - you get a little bit fitter, you can soak up all the fresh air, you see a lot more at cycling pace, and it's definitely cheaper. Not to mention better for the environment. At the end of the day, I'm not about to chop in my BMW for a bike. There's no way I could use one exclusively in a rural area. But it will certainly help me cut down on the amount I use a car, and the amount of fuel I need to buy. So I can't recommend cycling enough. And I would absolutely suggest you look into an e-bike. Halfords has a huge range nowadays, and experts on hand to help you choose the right one. An e-bike might seem like a big investment but, for all sorts of reasons, taking to two wheels could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Don't set off without this... It can take people a long time to save up for an e-bike, and for some unscrupulous types, it's just too long. As the use of bikes increases, so will the number of bike thefts. To combat this issue, Halfords has a huge range of security options, and this "D-lock" is certainly one of the best. Rated 10/10 for its security, and priced at £60, it's basically as secure as you can get, achieving a prestigious Diamond rating from the Sold Secure watchdogs. It even has a 10mm cable for securing your front wheel, which thieves could easily unclip and walk off with. The D-lock is quite weighty, but it does attach to your bike, or you can just pop it in a rucksack or pannier. When it comes to securing your precious bike, this is a must-have.
Source = PremierLeague-News.Com