The bliss of being outdoors, and with an electric bike you can go further.  Carbon Savvy talked with Sophie Britton and her mum, Jacqui Britton, about being an E- bike family.

E-biking – it’s the way forward

Sophie, what are the 3 best things about e-biking?

1 It’s about being outside – you see more, you feel more. One day we went cycling to Braunton and saw these beautiful swans. That would never happen in a car.

2 It’s a great family activity; whereas before we would have taken the car to go somewhere together, now we bike there so getting there becomes fun in itself. In my family, my uncle, my  grandad, my mum, my dad, my brother, my boyfriend and me all have one!

3 I’m very passionate about the environment, so taking the e-bike instead of a car and reducing my carbon footprint really makes me feel good.

Jacqui, can an e-bike really replace the car for commuting?

Before I got my electric bike I used my car every day as the commute to South Molton (over 12 miles each way) was too far with a manual bike.  I tried it once and it nearly killed me!!

I previously worked in Barnstaple and used my manual bike to get there but the ride wasn’t long enough for a proper workout so when I started working in South Molton and my brother, who owns a local bike shop, suggested an electric bike I thought I would give it a go.

What is the main benefit of going to work by e-bike?

I get a really decent workout which is do-able only by having an electric bike.  I get help where I need it, going up steep hills, but can chose how much power as I use.  It wouldn’t be possible for me to ride a manual bike for that distance and with that incline every day.  I wouldn’t even try it because the enjoyment would be taken away.  The satisfaction I get from getting a good work out, which is free, and avoiding the car, is huge.  I hope I never have to go back to taking the car every day.

Are electric bikes the easy option?
People think that using an e-bike is cheating, and I used to think so too! But it’s really not true, it still requires effort, and keeps you fit. It is a much healthier than a car, for you and for the environment. I hope people take advantage of my brothers scheme to try electric bikes at his shop and realise that electric bikes aren’t cheating and we can all help to reduce pollution.

Sophie, when did you first get your electric bike?
I got it during lock down (Spring 2020); I live in Barnstaple, and I wanted to see my boyfriend Jonny who lives in Bideford. I had the time to ride there and then he got an e-bike and we would meet on the Tarka trail and ride together. We were socially distancing at the time because we both live with our parents.

Did you consider going to Bideford on an ordinary (manual) bike?
I would never have done it on a manual bike! Too windy. And it’s a lot of cycling to go there and back in a few hours – 10 miles each way. The e-bike makes that distance manageable.

Any brands you would recommend?
It depends on how you are going to use it and how much you want to invest – I (Sophie) got an EzeGo because it is more economical and I wanted to find out how much I’d like it and use it. My brother works with bikes and he has a Cube which is at the other end of the scale. My mum, (Jacqui) uses a Giant, her commuting and leisure bike.

Any other details?
Batteries generally last somewhere between 5.5 to 11.5 years.
Prices range from £800 to £5,000

Sophie’s uncle Paul runs Planet Bike in Barnstaple, and can answer any questions you may have.