Push yourself to the limits or do you need a helping hand?

Push yourself to the limits or do you need a helping hand?

“Stand up on the peddles and give your bum a rest” shouts Jon our bike guide, as we skedaddle down the mountain roads at a rate of knots.

This was my first time on an electric, or e-bike and I chose to combine it with a visit to Verbier in the Swiss mountains.

ebikeThe patience of Jon and with much encouragement at the start, I got the hang of it – much like riding a bike. Oh the joy I feel after just 10 minutes especially on the downhill journey.

Effortless? Not really, you do need to keep pedalling or you will fall over.  You also need a certain amount of stamina – and a glass of wine calling me to the summit.

It is not like a scooter. They look a little different to conventional bikes, the usual choice of gears and handlebar- mounted buttons to kick in the motor when you need it. Which in my case was all the time uphill.

However, my pride was boosted when I was told that I had tackled an uphill part of the Tour de France route.

The e-bike gave me great pleasure that I thought I had lost, the joy of cycling. I am not infirm: I just have a dodgy hip.

The early morning weather was clear; the Combins and Mont-Blanc ranges were awakening. So was the alpine wildlife. I encountered the squeak of marmots, the sight of a stately ibex and even a glance of an eagle. Without too much effort I enjoyed the tracks and climbing roads up into the mountains; all without breaking a sweat!

I had hired the bike for a day at an appropriately named shop ‘Backside’ based in the stunning mountain resort of Verbier. I was told to wear a helmet and gloves but that wearing lycra was a no no, thank goodness. I did appreciate, though the extra padded shorts. Cycling can be hard going on certain parts of the anatomy.

“In a short time they will revolutionise biking here in the mountains” said Jon, who is also a downhill biker and skier.  Even he appreciated the fact that the hard work uphill was taken away.

There are great benefits as cycling keeps you fit and mobile as well as the environmental benefits. Its fun too – especially when you are able to enjoy it in such a wonderful place.

You will find the e-bike is becoming more and more popular closer to home according to Marcus, who runs UK Electric Bike Tours based in Kent.

Marcus hires and organises wonderful e-bike itineraries taking in vineyards, steam railways, castles and suggested pub stops. These are proving a great hit wwith family groups and the mature cyclist.

All great fun and a huge smile factor – give it a go and embrace the new challenge.


E Bike rental:

Switzerland Backside http://nobounds.ch/fr

UK Electric bike tours http://www.ukelectricbiketours.co.uk