David's London Commute

Posted on By Emu Bikes,

David Gander is a keen and experienced cyclist but he doesn’t normally cycle to his office in Trafalgar Square from his home in Surbiton. He was keen to find out if going electric would make the journey by bike any more tempting.

“I chose a wonderfully sunny day to trial the Emu electric bike for my commute into central London. Emu provided me with a heavy-duty Kryptonite lock which they sell, an allen key to adjust the saddle height, and an extra large waterproof pannier. I used bungee clips to attach my briefcase to the cycle’s rack and I was ready to go.

“The smart phone holder was really useful. Once I’d slotted my phone in I had easy access to the sat nav app to navigate my chosen routes. I didn’t need lights because of the time of year, but they are integrated into the bike and powered from the same battery.


“I instantly liked was how the bike handled when I approached a junction. On my own bike I stop pedalling and coast up to the line. The Emu allowed me to do the same by cutting the power as soon I stopped turning the pedals.  It meant I could gently coast up to the junction and easily come to a controlled stop.

“Also, the brakes are very good and powerful. Coupled with the instant power-off, they came into their own when a car pulled out of a drive I crossed on the cycle path in Richmond.

“The area I live in is relatively flat, although there are a few steep hills. These presented no challenge for the pedal assist motor on any of its six power settings.

“Because the battery is part of the frame, it isn’t obvious the Emu is an electric bike. There’s a bit of whistling but I think that’s positive because it lets people know you’re there.

“The nice, solid frame and big wheels give good balance making the Emu electric bike great for poorer road conditions.

Bike versus train

“I set the motor to ‘boost’ – the top setting. I’d used an electric bike once before and it had quickly run out of charge on ‘boost’, but the Emu provided it all the way to the office!  Using this top setting, I felt I stood a chance of making the journey in a reasonable commuting time.

“I wasn’t expecting to beat the train, but I thought even if it took an extra 30 minutes to cycle, I could consider it valuable exercise time. In total it took me an hour and 45 minutes on my first attempt, taking a longer than necessary scenic route. I know with practice, and better route knowledge, I could shave 15 minutes off that time.

Watching out for other cyclists

“Cycling on roads and wide paths, with no other cyclists about, I made best use of the additional power. However, I had to be more careful when other cyclists and pedestrians were around, on cycle lanes and near junctions.

Exercise without the strain

“I worked the pedals all the way, so riding the bike was good exercise, even though it wasn’t as hard as riding a non-power-assisted bike. And it was easier for me to make the distance in both directions in one day, with no practice.

“I made use of the hub gears like a manual car driver would: changing down at junctions and moving back through to top gear quickly after starting.

“I found it much easier to start off from junctions in low gears than if I’d left it in a higher gear, and the pedal assist was much more noticeable.

The route

“My took me through Richmond Park where I was lucky enough to see deer having their breakfast, and later, their supper!

“I then cycled along private roads down to Barnes and used bus lanes up to Hammersmith Bridge.  I really enjoyed the ride from Kensington Palace Gardens through Hyde Park, Green Park and down The Mall. So much better than standing on a train breathing in diesel and other people’s air!

“The last bit of my journey home was particularly gratifying because although I was tired and it was a hot day, I easily climbed my last long, fairly steep hill and freewheeled the rest of my way home, with a smile on my face.


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