This month’s interview is with Lucy Mondon. Lucy tells us about how getting an e-bike has given her a new found confidence in cycling on the road, as well as some tips and tricks about how to get the most out of your e-bike!
How did you first start cycling?
It’s the same story as most people – I started riding as a kid, and living in the middle of nowhere meant I cycled everywhere. But then as most people do I passed my driving test and drifted away. I only came back to riding a bike after about 20 years. I liked the idea of exercising for a practical purpose, rather than just going to the gym, so cycling to work fit the bill perfectly. I started looking at e-bikes as I figured it’s better than doing no exercise and driving everywhere, and I didn’t have the confidence to take a regular bike on the road. Having an e-bike has been great for encouraging me to cycle – it’s worked!
Do you remember your first bike?
I don’t remember much about my first bike other than it was a Raleigh and had spokey-dokeys, but I do remember learning to ride. It was the typical scene of my dad holding the back of the bike as I set off, and the next thing I knew he’d let go and I was riding off down the path!
How did you end up with an e-bike?
I started off doing lots of online research about e-bikes and the different kinds of e-bike motor. Some motors are part of the wheel, and others are built into the bike by the pedals. The pedal-type motors are a little bit more expensive but I read that they are much better so I went with that. I was initially a little bit put off by the size and weight of e-bikes but that didn’t matter after I’d tried one! I went into The Pedal House in Hadleigh, an independent bike shop run by enthusiasts, and they couldn’t have been more helpful. They explained everything to me and let me try out the different types of bikes in different sizes to make sure I had the right one for my needs. I ended up with a Raleigh Motus and it’s perfect for my needs. It definitely helps me get up hills but the main thing is the acceleration gives me the confidence to pull away from junctions safely with cars around. Over time I’ve become a lot more confident cycling on the roads, learning to take the lane and navigate traffic. I was also a bit unsure about battery life to begin with but it lasts for ages, something like 90km which is plenty for what I need. It’s been really fun letting my colleagues have a go and seeing them come riding back to me with a big grin on their faces, I don’t know how to describe the feeling except that it makes you feel like you’re 12 again!
How is Colchester as a place to cycle?
I used to live in New Town and cycling in from there wasn’t pleasant as the roads are busy and there aren’t really any cycle routes. Since moving to Lexden it’s much better, and there’s good off road cycle paths that I can use. Confidence comes with practice though, and I’ve quickly become much more comfortable on the road.
What’s the best thing about cycling?
I like the feeling that I’m doing some activity, and it gives me the head space to prepare for the day at work or to decompress a bit on the way home. Sometimes in a car you’re not really given that chance to relax as you’re listening to the radio and separate from everything. On the bike I can look at the scenery, listen to what’s going on around me and it helps relax me if I’ve had a stressful day.
One thing I really like about riding the e bike is I can have more assist in the morning so I don’t arrive at work sweaty or feeling like I need a shower and on the way home I can turn the assist down a bit or even off if I want a workout. I like the flexibility.
Oh, and the best thing is sometimes I can get somewhere faster than in a car which is really satisfying!