7 Reasons to Ride an E-Bike in LondonOctober 3, 2022
This post is from an EBUK reader in London who feels E-bikes are one of the best ways to travel around London’s busy streets, offering several advantages over other transport options. But what are they and can other forms of transport compete? Let’s find out as Scott lays out 7 great reasons why you should ride an e-bike around London instead of the London transport system…
1. London’s Terrain
It’s easy to forget that London’s vast area covers a surprisingly large number of hills. Travelling from east to west or vice versa you’ll mostly avoid these as London is built along the Thames Valley. But as soon as you head north or south away from the river the hills come thick and fast with some notorious ones like Highgate Hill and the area around Crystal Palace offering real challenges for most cyclists.
With an e-bike, all of London’s hills become a lot more manageable as the motor and battery take the strain for as long as you need it. The stop-start nature of travelling in London, with its thousands of junctions and crossings, can also make cycling gruelling on a conventional bike. With an e-bike it’s much easier to pull away from a standing start and get ahead of the traffic.
2. More Flexible than London’s Public Transport Network
One of the most satisfying things about owning and riding an e-bike is the feeling of freedom and independence it gives. Everybody who works in London will have been let down by the public transport network on many occasions. Strikes, overcrowding, city-stopping events, congestion on bus routes and the sheer expense of buying a season ticket leave many bus, train and tube users frustrated and late. It adds to the stress and expense of living and working in the capital. (It’s a story we here at EBUK have heard again and again and it’s why thousands of Londoners over the years have bypassed public transport by investing in an e-bike.) Cutting through stalled traffic, whizzing by queues and having time to spare to take in a park or two along the way make electric cycling one of the most efficient and enjoyable ways to travel in London.
3. Easy to Park
Parking in London is invariably expensive and the time spent trying to find a space can quickly diminish the time saved by driving to your destination. Bicycle parking is free and generally more abundant than car parking. Many employers offer plenty of secure bicycle parking on their premises and encourage their employees to use it. It’s one less headache at the end of your journey.
4. A Safer Way to Cycle in London
Cycling numbers have increased dramatically over the past decade, with a notable increase in London since the 2012 Olympics. Sadly, the number of accidents involving cyclists has also increased. Steps are being taken by haulage companies (lorries turning at junctions are the cause of many casualties) and planners to make London’s busy roads safer for cyclists to share but one of the best things you can do to make cycling safer is to ride an e-bike.
The power to take on hills without getting up and out of your saddle while keeping your eyes on the road is a big advantage over an unpowered cycle. At junctions crowded with cars and cyclists, it’s easier both to get to the front of the pack, to accelerate enough to clear the junction quickly and to get out of harm’s way if ever necessary. You’re also less likely to suffer fatigue towards the end of your journey, so your mind will always be fresh and fully involved with cycling safely. Finally, electric cyclists can maintain a higher average speed than most pedal cyclists so your overall time out on the road will be reduced.
What electric assistance on your bike does is make you flow with the traffic rather than become an obstacle within it.
The outlay on a good quality e-bike is considerable (though schemes like Cycle to Work and Finance payment options to help spread the cost) but many of our customers have told us that they end up saving money very quickly. It often takes less than a year to recoup the cost in savings on fares, tickets, parking, fines, fuel, etc. That’s before you count benefits like…
6. Health and Well-Being in the City
The health benefits of exercise in general and cycling are well understood. A daily dose of moderate exercise helps to maintain a healthy heart, lungs and circulation, you’re less likely to become overweight, more likely to have a nice dose of Vitamin D from sunlight and your state of mind will improve too. The risk with conventional cycling, especially in the early days is of overdoing it, overstretching yourself on an unfamiliar route and arriving hot, bothered and with second thoughts about ever cycling in the city again. E-bikes are the ideal way to explore cycling as an option, whatever your fitness or experience and owning one may be one of the best things you can do for your overall health and wellbeing.
7. The Fastest Way to Get Across London Any Time of Day
Finally, it’s no secret that electric bikes are faster than conventional pedal cycles. There’s a pleasure to be had in effortlessly overtaking squads of cyclists, especially on uphill sections, particularly if your quarry is head to toe in day-glo Lycra with bikes that weigh less than the stack of cash it cost to buy them. London suddenly seems a much smaller, more manageable city atop a good e-bike. Whole stretches of the city you might never have explored become accessible. The enormous hill that ruined an otherwise brilliant shortcut is cut down to size. It’s possible to cycle from one side of the city to the other or along the length of the Thames (and back) in a single afternoon and on a single charge of your e-bike’s battery pack.
London was made for e-bikes to conquer and we’ll see many more of them on the streets over the years to come. London may begin to look more like Berlin or Copenhagen with the number of people cycling around and we’ll all be a lot happier, healthier and better off for it. So if you need to travel anywhere in London, stop to think about what an e-bike could do for you.