Bike Trial Update

We’ve now had 17 triallists (9 men and 8 women) who (between them) have done 290 miles about 50% of which (150 miles) was replacing car journeys. If you add in our own use then car replacement miles are now topping 300.

Uses of the bikes by triallists include: 8 work commutes, 8 leisure trips, 5 shopping trips and 2 meetings. Nearly everyone says they “loved it” and 7 people have reported that they would seriously consider buying one based on their experience. One Talybont couple is borrowing them for a 2nd commute to Brecon next week as they are considering buying one and getting rid of their 2nd car. So far, the people who have expressed the strongest interest in actually buying tend to be those who have a 4-5 mile work commute – often involving an offputting hill.

The attached photo shows the most challenging ‘commute’ the bikes have tackled yet (leaving aside Mike’s epic trip)! And the Monark did fine. This guy, Rob, works in a barn up a remote 1:5 hill about 5 miles North of Abergavenny – ordinary cycling is grueling work but he really liked the fact that the electric bike made his trips up and down the hill doable. He felt less comfortable with the bike’s downhill performance (a bit unstable). A number of people have also complained about the weight of the bikes when getting on and off them or holding them whilst opening a gate.

We’ve had our first technical hitch – a chain which came off and proved tricky to replace on the Monark given that the manual doesn’t have any relevant diagrams! Still, the intrepid triallist managed with some email help from Peter.

Here are a couple post-trial reactions:-

“I thought they were a fab bike to use considering the hills in Wales. it felt like you could ride the bike for hours and not feel completely knackered”

“Fantastic fun. Very enjoyable and a real possibility to replace second car with an electric bike. I am totally sold on the idea and want one of my own.”

“Very positive – a 12-mile bike ride without breaking into a sweat is ideal for commuting purposes”

“Ideal for my current commute (4 miles) and also for leisure use for those less keen or able to tackle the hills in this area”

“I think the e bike would be very good for local trips (up to 10 miles) and I would most definitely think about swapping some of my car journeys to work and back”

People have different reactions to the 2 bikes – the Ezee (with throttle) is probably the slight favourite – particularly with women.

“I really enjoyed using the bikes and found the eZee best but quite hard to keep the throttle held all the time. The Monark didn’t seem to have quite as much kick as the other one but the controls were easier.”

“Very good fun. I think I prefer the model with a throttle. Going up hills was a dream. Without it I would have had to have done a fair bit of pushing”.

We have 6 more local individuals booked in over the next week or so. On Saturday 16th May, we will be demoing the bikes at Crickhowell market and the bikes will be hosted in Llangattock/Crickhowell for the first 2 weeks in June following that promotion. For National Bike Week (15-19th June), Ceri and Helen will have the bikes at BBNP and have all sorts of publicity and events planned which is fantastic. They are also going to visit a selection of Brecon businesses to demo the bikes and (hopefully) generate some interest in taking part. The bikes might visit Hay festival on May 28th (any news on that, Gren?). We plan to demo the bikes at Llangynidr market on Sunday 28th June and we have a volunteer to host them in Llangynidr for the first 2 weeks in July.

On Tuesday, one of our triallists cycled the bike to Llanfihangel Crucorney so it could be demo’d at a public meeting there. Peter and I were asked if we would demo the bikes to different Abergavenny environmental groups in Waitrose car park last night. We did that – 10 people showed up and had rides but, unfortunately, none of the Abergavenny based folks were able or interested to host the bikes there – they just wanted to try them for themselves! Anyway, they enjoyed themselves and may change their minds about hosting them for others to try. Two enthusiastic women from FoE Monmouth came along and they would like to host the bikes over their Green Transport weekend in September.

We and the bikes were interviewed by an OnBike related journalist last week and Rob Yorke (who trialled a bike this week) is hoping to get an article about his experiences in the B&R leading up to the National Bike week.

Talybont Energy and the SDF are getting good press from the trial. Here’s a quote from a recent email “Your mission to encourage their use is inspirational. Congratulations on this and the Talybont project.”

Alison & Peter


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