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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


A couple of years ago I converted one of my bicycles by adding an electric conversion kit (see my post of 17th November 2012). A stroke the following year left me with a slightly weaker left leg, so it was confirmation of that earlier decision, since it meant I could still cycle 50 mile days around my "Little Corner of the Earth".

This original Claud Butler still does the job, but the battery is 2 years old and they will only accept about 1000 recharges. A new battery costs £400 - £500 (who said electric bikes are cheap to run? Although, compared to cars..............), so rather than replace it and finally about to retire for the second time, I decided that I would celebrate my freedom by splashing out on a "proper" (i.e. purpose built) e-bike. I had recently sold one of my two remaining motorcycles for £2,600. The e-bike's price was £1,500 so you could say I have made a "profit", although its price was more than many of the fifty motorcycles I have owned since 1957 (my first motorcycle, a BSA Bantam, cost me a whole £95, second hand - 20 week's army pay at the time).

So, off to the nearest distributor some 20 miles away in the Weald of Sussex, near ancient Bodiam. To slightly amend Julius Caesar's aphorism, "I came, I tried, I bought" and the chosen one can be seen here.

Whilst its performance is a little better than the kit bike the real improvement is in comfort since it has telescopically sprung front forks and a sprung saddle post (The by-roads of Kent are not noted for their smoothness). However, a few "old faithfuls" had to be transferred over from the Claud Butler:
  • Pedals and toeclips - essential to a life-long club cyclist.
  • Brooks leather saddle - still the most comfortable - you can keep your plush, padded items where your essential bits sink in rather than are supported free as air on hard, smooth leather. (Freudian fetish? No - rather superb practicality).
  • Gearing - the new bike had a 52 tooth front chainring - far and away too high - I have substituted a 40 tooth item (you can read about the mysteries of cycle gearing in an earlier blog-post )
We have cycled about 100 miles together so far and all seems well. Yesterday we managed 35 miles through the autumn, leaf-strewn lanes of the Kentish Weald. My recent affliction of an inner ear infection (mentioned in an earlier post below) does not seem to have affected my balance either, as I was afraid it might do.


The Crow said...

Oh, what a beauty! Happy cycling, Avus.

Tom said...

A treasure! I must remember this form of transport when I grow out of moter cars.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a beauty! Also, I am now imagining leaf covered lanes and the perfume of an English autumn. Sigh.

Love from the daughter x

Lucy said...

What an elegant beast! Happy (assisted) pedalling!

Roderick Robinson said...

I'm interested to note that we agree about bike saddles. That less is more (ie, there's greater comfort in the more vestigial saddle than in one with padding and a network of springs underneath). Many decades have slid past since I biked seriously - typically 100 miles a day between youth hostels - but I was pleased to discover that backside and Brooks type saddle came together effortlessly when I bought my newest bike four or five years ago. I wouldn't say the relationship was comfortable, functional seems better: bike and rider are there to do a job, biking doesn't exactly promote self-indulgence. But the proof is in the (visual) pudding; look at a present-day bike and it soon becomes clear that the only real changes between it and one fifty years older are either cosmetic and/or in the detail.

We also agree about toe-clips. Other than a system of gears, these simple (cheap!) devices are perhaps the most significant contributors to biking efficiency. Here the only difference (with the ones fitted to my bike) is that the older ones used to have straps. I would agree that straps provide the final 5% of leg-to-transmission efficiency but they aren't essential. And, given that my reaction times are much slower these days, I prefer the instant-escape facility.

Glad you've bypassed the inner-ear problems. And that you're getting out and about,

Avus said...

Glad you like it folks.
I really can recommend this form of cycling for the ancient body.

Somehow I knew I would be preaching to the converted about cycle equipment where you are concerned.

Somethings we can offer which Australia cannot, m'dear. x

Lee said...

Good to hear you are alive and well and cycling on!