In 1966, I bought my first bike.
I couldn't ride a bike, but I'd just gone up to Cambridge to do Maths, and everyone there had a bike. And I was at Fitzwilliam, which is way out of town to the north, so I needed a bike, lectures and all the fun stuff being in the middle of town. I went to the cattle market which is way out of town to the south, found a second hand bike for £5, and bought it. I learned to ride it on the way back to my digs; by the time I got there, I was a cyclist. I had no idea what I was buying, but I got lucky. This bike had three gears (Sturmey-Archer), and I worked out how to make them work. No helmet, because no-one wore bike helmets then (I don't think they existed) but I soon learned to wear gloves. I did all my own maintenance; cotter pins and ball bearings, brake pads and gear changers. I rode that bike for three years around the town, and at the end of my time there, I sold it to a friend for £5.
Fast forward 40 years.
Back in 2007, I bought my first electric bike.
I'd been caching on Susan's old 20-inch wheel, three-gear Raleigh along a cycleway, and then on my daughter's old 26 inch wheel, 21 gear mountain bike. My old Dawes racing bike? I can't remember what happened to it. But even on the old Raleigh, it felt like I was flying. I'd forgotten the pleasure of cycling, having last done it in 1969.
So, I thought, if biking is so good, electric biking must be double plus good, and I bought an Ezee Forza from 50 cycles. It cost around £1000, and it was a good, sturdy bike. Sturdy, of course, is a synonym for "heavy", and it weighed about 50 pounds, battery not included.
I went round Oxford on it, and Milton Keynes, and Swanley Forest. It was superb on roads, and magnificent on cycleways. And OK on bridleways. Not too good going up hills, it only had eight gears.
And not so good at going over stiles. Also, every time I wanted to take it out, I had to mess around putting the bike carrier on the back of the car.
So my next bike was a folder. No need for bike carriers, I could get it inside the Freelander, and I could get it through most kissing gates without lifting. But it was a 20 inch wheel, and no back rack, and only had six gears, and those are drawbacks.
So I got a 26 inch wheel folder, Everest, non-electric. And that worked well, except it was non-electric.
And then I got the Haro full-size folding mountain bike, 21 gears, back rack, not as heavy as the Forza, with an electric conversion. Actually, I got two, because the Ebay auction was for two. And that, I think, is the best possible bike for me. I don't need to use the bike carrier on the car, and I can get it through most kissing gates, and with a heavy heave, over every other barrier. I've only ever encountered one barrier I couldn't get through, and I found a way to go round it, albeit with a two mile diversion.
So where does that leave me?
1. Haro electric folding bike, rear wheel a bit wobbly because the bearings are worn.
2. Haro electric folding bike, with a motor wheel I got from China because the old motor died.
3. Everest folding bike, converted to electric with motor from Alienocean and controller from electric-hybrid-bikes.com.
4. Synergy 20-inch wheel folder; I replaced the bottom bracket and it works fine now.
5. Another 20 inch wheel folder, made out of a non-electric 20 inch wheel bike called a Downtube, with eight Sturmey-Archer gears and the motor wheel from another Synergy whose frame broke.
6. The Forza.
Do I need six electric bikes? I do not. So I've decided to sell the Forza, as that's the bike I'm least likely to use, it being non-folding. I listed it on Ebay. This is the first time I've sold anything on Ebay. You can see it here