Getting on an ebike has never been easier thanks to the launch of Forth Bike and a trial scheme run by the Falkirk Active Travel Hub.
The latter scheme, run in partnership with Home Energy Scotland, provides people with an opportunity to try an ebike for three days up to three weeks free of charge.
One of the first to benefit from the scheme was our Web & Digital Services Team Leader, Paul Livingstone (pictured on the right).
When his partner started to use their car to commute to work he decided it was time to experiment, and even although he’d not cycled for five years he put his name down on the waiting list for a free trail via the Active Travel Hub.
Having tested an ebike earlier in the year, he was intrigued to see what it would be like to ride one to and from work. Doubts over safety quickly evaporated after his first cycle home, which saw him swap traffic jams and late trains for core paths, cycle lanes and tow paths.
Now a complete advocate after his two week hire, Paul is set to invest in an ebike to continue his stress-free commute.
He said: “Ebikes are just like regular bikes, the only difference is you feel like you’ve got the pedal power of Chris Hoy, which is pretty entertaining when you overtake someone struggling up a hill on a regular bike!
“It’s also a lot more fun and responsive. With hardly any effort the bike gets you up to speed - 15.5mph - pretty quickly. You can go faster, but the motor doesn’t assist you beyond that speed.
“With the ebike assisting you on your journey, you are able to travel without getting all sweaty, red-faced and out-of-breath. It feels like cheating but in a good way!”
For Paul, the benefits of using an ebike include slashing his journey time to and from work to just 10 minutes and becoming more active. The cycle home also provides him with a chance to wind-down at the end of the day.
The downside of cycling? The Scottish weather and not enough bike storage space at work.
“I’ve not been caught out in a heavy hailstorm yet so the weather is going to be a factor later in the year, but as the Big Yin would say “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes”.
“We also need more bike shelters – many are already full or don’t exist at some locations. If the Council wants its employees to become more active and use more sustainable forms of transport it has to invest and upgrade its cycling infrastructure.”