I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I have always enjoyed my cycling as much as my motorcycling, but in a different way. Most Sundays I meet up with Peter, an old cycling friend of similar age (74) for a leisurely coffee and cycle across Romney Marsh for a pub lunch together. The round trip takes in about 40 miles - unlike the 100 mile days of my youth, but still leaving my increasingly arthritic knees recognising every mile travelled on reaching home.

Peter suffers from an arthritic back and a few weeks ago arrived at our rendezvous, rather sheepishly, on an electrically assisted bicycle. The assistance can be switched on when required as steep hills appear. As he was leaving me behind on hills I fell to consideration of the advantages of such a machine to those of approaching age.

Amongst other good advice, the poem "Desiderata" exhorts us to: "Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth". I have a selection of bicycles and a web search showed that I could purchase a conversion kit for about £500, rather than a complete new electric bicycle for about £1,500, so I took the poem's advice, bought the kit and spent a couple of days converting the Claud Butler.

A revelation! One hardly realises it is fitted. The motor is in the front wheel and the battery slides horizontally between the panniers. At the press of a switch it is if a gale force tail wind has arrived to help. The act of pedalling keeps the motor assisting and in this mode the battery would last about 30 miles. However I don't use it on the flat so 70 - 80 miles would be perfectly possible in a day.

I shall still keep the other 4 bikes in the stable though!


Lucy said...

Now there's a thought... :~)

herhimnbryn said...

I will get one, one day I promise. However, first there are a few bills to pay, air con in ute, paint for house, a vet bill etc. Hey ho!
YOur Claude looks awfully stylish.

valonia said...

We've been cycling parts of the Ridgeway and I think one of those would be very handy. Rob has to wait at the top of the hills for me to slowly (and with much grumbling) catch up with him!

Avus said...

Ah...cycling the Ridgeway. That takes me back. I did the whole length of it from Streatley and down to Salisbury Plain, staying at Youth Hostels. It poured hard all one day whilst up there on the Ridgeway (and wet chalk is very slippery).

The last day I cycled home from Winchester to Maidstone, Kent (about 120 miles). Electric assistance was not needed then (I was about 22)

Avus said...

Claud says "thank you" he was a little miffed about the motor at first!

Roderick Robinson said...

I honestly didn't imagine you were that flexible and I apologise for that slur I might have cast on your character. In fact if you read between the lines of my most recent post, Towards a Feminist Car, you will notice two points in which I all but identify you by name. Once again, my apologies; I am glad to be wrong. I will however leave my post undisturbed since I believe the point to be well made - it's just that you and I, between us, now know there is no accusing finger.

I felt the same way when I bought my first autobox car, sensed there were acquaintances who would accuse me of undermining the British way of life. The hell with them, I say. It was a good decision, as yours appears to be.

Avus said...

Thanks for that. I honestly had not noticed the "slur" and had to twice read your post before I caught the implication. (Presumably from my comment to Lucy on advanced driving) But, as you say, they are valid points.
Brass rags are still shared!

Vita said...

I'm glad you told where the assistant was located, because it's so subtle. The Claud Butler looks handsome and sleek. Very gracefully surrendered.