The electric bike is gradually gaining acceptance in the UK. But sales here are far behind those of other European countries and in the USA sales are increasing rapidly. Germany reported sales of over 400,000 electric bikes in 2013, compared with about 30,000 in the UK
One of the reasons given is usually the amount of traffic on the UK roads. But many cities, such as Bristol are beginning to cater well for bicycles and, of course, anywhere you can ride a bike , you can take a road legal electric bike. Many of our customers research safer routes to work and are surprised at the options available before they make the final decision purchase the electric bike they need.
But this year many of our suppliers are feeling a sea change in the way that electric bikes are being perceived. The market may have reached a tipping point and our form of transport is now being taken seriously. There have been several supportive radio and TV programmes and articles such as this one which recently appeared in The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/recreational-cycling/10785786/Pedal-power-the-ebike-revolution-is-coming-to-Britain.html
It is curious that the UK government is prepared to subsidise electric cars but not electric bikes. The use of an electric car may be more environmentally friendly, but it does nothing to solve parking problems. The electric bike has been recognised in Europe as being capable of significantly reducing the number of short car journeys and so reducing the parking problems at destinations such as local shops.
I am as guilty as many, as I found myself driving to the local Lidl store to purchase instant coffee this morning. It is only a few hundred yards and the sun was shining. It is a matter of getting into the mind set – short journey –electric bike. Our Lidl is actively discouraging the use of bicycles in general by blocking the bike racks with pallets of garden manure so making security a problem. I have no such difficulty when I go to the bank about 1.5 miles away. By the time I have parked the car and paid and walked, it is quicker to go on the electric bike, so it immediately comes to mind – go to bank – electric bike.
The journalist who wrote the telegraph article concludes that he would not purchase an electric bike because he could not get it up the stairs to his flat. Perhaps, if he had one manufactured to the UK specification and fitted with a twist throttle, he would have found that the bike would climb itself up the stairs with the throttle “cracked” open. It is important that you know exactly what you want to do with the electric bike before buying.