Letters to the Editor – Riding on Electric Avenue

Phil has noticed a quiet revolution that’s starting to get a hold in Calderdale!

Just a few quick thoughts on a quiet revolution that has been happening under our noses in the last couple of years.

Cycling has always been a marginal activity in Calderdale. The hilly terrain and our weather make it a pastime for the hardy and the fit.

Commuting by bike is no less challenging, again due to the hilly terrain and a road infrastructure built for cars and lorries and not for vulnerable road users.

Well, our terrain won’t change and the weather looks like becoming even less friendly at times. But there is one significant change that is making cycling a lot more accessible. The advent of the e-bike has finally tilted the odds a little more in favour of the two-wheeled warrior.

E-bikes are stunning pieces of kit. They only provide help when you are pedalling, so there’s no throttle to manage, only a surge of reassuring power when you push on the pedals. This power is more than enough to take the sting out of hills, making them no more hard work than gently riding on the flat.

So, e-bikes are ideal for the less physically fit people who still want to enjoy the pleasure of cycling. Older cyclists are turning to them in droves, so they can keep cycling with their younger friends. And, in small but significant numbers, commuters are turning to them as a practical way of getting to work.

Some of the classic cycle commuter problems are removed, not least the issue of turning up to work sweaty and unkempt from the effort of riding a hilly route. The e-bike makes such a difference to the effort levels required that you no longer need a shower when you arrive at your workplace.

And, outside work, the e-bike is a great leisure tool, with a battery range well beyond that of all but the most enthusiastic rider.

So, the tide may just be turning a little – the roads remain a challenge as does the weather, but the e-bike is winning back users who are prepared to try something new. Why not give one a try – most cycle shops now stock them and are usually happy to let you have a test ride. You can also hire them at some cycle venues.