Tackling the Welsh hills with an e-Bike

Posted on By Emu Bikes,

71-year old cycling enthusiast, John Holiday, lives in a very hilly area in North Wales. John has been a keen cyclist all his life and his main love is cycle touring, which has taken him all over the UK and Europe, as well as to Japan.

John now shares his love of cycling with others. As well as being a Bikeability instructor, training children to cycle safely on the roads, he is also a Sustrans ranger looking after routes in North Wales and Chester.

Going electric

“I’ve been following the development of ebikes for some time now and vaguely thinking about getting one,” he says. “I’d initially thought I might modify one of my existing bikes.

“I tried a couple of models so I knew the specification and price pretty well. But I was persuaded to go ahead last summer while on a Cycling Touring Club (CTC) (now known as Cycling UK) ride in Cumbria.

“One of my friends, who is in her mid 80s, was riding an electric cycle which allowed her to keep up with everyone else, even on the hills.

“I’d just slogged up a 1:4 hill and she saw how puffed out I was. She let me try her bike and I immediately developed what I believe is known as an ‘electric grin’!

“So while at a cycling exhibition at the NEC, I took a closer look at Emu electric bikes. I tried one out and immediately liked its handling and well thought out design, so I ordered one there and then.

Quality components and considered design

“The Emu is a substantial bike with a robust frame and proper mudguards. It’s very well made and has quality products on it such as Shimano brakes and gears and Sensamo puncture-resistant tyres.

“The hub gears were one of the first things that appealed to me – I don’t like derailleurs. And the Emu doesn’t have unnecessary front suspension, which would just add extra weight. Another thing I liked was the integral lighting that runs the back and front lamps.

“The Emu comes with a rack and panniers, which is ideal for shopping or storing essentials while touring – all part of the attention to detail.”

“The battery gives around 40 miles which is enough for most purposes and certainly for my needs.

“The Emu’s simple controls were easy to get to grips with so I was up and riding in no time. I always use it on power levels two or three – I think six would be like riding a rocket!

“It takes all the effort out of cycling up steep hills, of which we have many in here in North Wales – for example as I come out of my house I have to ride either 300ft up or down. I was training Bikeability today and rode my Thorn Raven bike – it felt so different to the Emu electric bike!

“I use the Emu for shopping and going to the library, and often for journeys I’d usually do in the car, such as into Chester for example. There are several traffic free routes into the city and I don’t have to worry about the hills on the way back.

Keep on cycling

“I think electric bikes are great – particularly for older people. I’ve read that regular cyclists have a medical age 10 years younger than their actual age. So if electric bikes like the Emu encourage people to keep on cycling, or to take it up in later life, that has to be a good thing.”


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