Following a campaign headed by Cycling Made Easy,
for the first time ever, e-bikes took part in the iconic British
Heart Foundation‘s London to Brighton bike ride on Sunday.
While the summer sun beat down on the tarmac of southern England, raising the
temperature to above 30 degrees, 15,000 people made the journey from London to
Brighton on two wheels to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
-> To find out how the bikes performed, read on below.
-> To find out what our participation means in the broader context of health and fitness, click here.
What type of e-bike did we use?
Cycling Made Easy fielded a team of experienced and novice riders, employing a range
of e-bikes: hardtail e-MTBs, full-suspension e-MTBs, electric road bikes, stepthrough-
frame e-bikes, and even an electric tandem. The full list is below:
– Scott E-Genius 910
– Scott E-Genius 720 Plus
– Scott E-Sportster
– Moustache Samedi 27 X2
– Corratec E-Power Urban
– Haibike HardSeven
Battery Performance – Did we all make it?
A resounding YES! There are a lot hills on the route, but the energy-efficient
crank drive motor systems that we were using on the bikes were able to
help us tackle the terrain without draining the life out of the power packs.
None of the Cycling Made Easy staff needed to change batteries.
How did they compare to the non-electric bikes?
The e-bikes seemed to be very happy among the company of non-electric bikes.
Neil, who rode an e-Genius full-suspension e-bike by Scott Sports held an
average speed of 10.8mph over the day, so any fears that e-bikes would be
belting around causing havoc can now be dismissed.
Along the steepest of the hill climbs – the dreaded Ditchling Beacon (below) –
most of the team were able to pick their way up to the top without stopping,
including the tandem, ably piloted by Adam.
The rest were simply unable to weave through the congestion, but given the space,
would have been able to stay on the bike and cycle to the top in freedom.
Stopping and starting
One of the unexpected benefits of the e-bikes was dealing with the stop-start nature
of the very busy sections. With thousands of riders going through some fairly narrow
roads, it was inevitable that the flow of bikes would be inconsistent.
The disc brakes which came as standard on all our e-bikes on this ride were perfect
for the many unexpected stops that we had to make. Meanwhile the pedal assistance
was perfect for getting us going again and clear from the congestion.
Helena’s bike, which had twist-shift hub gearing, enabled her to get into an
appropriate gear even when the bike was stationary, which isn’t possible on a bike
with a derailleur.
Most of us had racks fitted with fully loaded panniers. As it was such a hot day (over
30 degrees celsius) we had to carry a lot of water. Without the e-assistance, hauling
the full bottles would have been an extremely tiring affair.
A member of the St John’s Ambulance mentioned that there was a high incidence
of heatstroke on the day, so being able to carry sufficient water in our panniers was
a definite ‘plus’ for the e-bike riders.
Ultimately, there was just too many people around for us all to finish in a
single group, however, being on e-bikes did help us ride together for the
majority of the ride.
While some of us were well used to the L2B, some of us had never attempted
such an ambitious ride. For the first-timer, being able to call on the e-assistance
to keep up with the others was very reassuring.
Which power systems did you use?
A variety. Most of us used Bosch systems, which is known for offering good mileage,
although the Shimano-powered bike that Helena was on, also made it all the way
without any problem.
Both are crank drive systems which, when compared to the hub motor system, is
more efficient and better at hill-climbing. Riders attempting this challenge with
a hub motor system will want to think about bringing a spare battery along.
Riding the London to Brighton via e-bike has proven just how good these
bikes are. Able to cope with all manner of conditions – hilly terrain,
stop-start traffic flow, increased pannier weight – the e-bikes made sure
that the day was still an enjoyable celebration of cycling, rather than a