by Mr Divine
My work increasingly required me to drive places within the borough, but my girlfriend also increasingly needed the car for her work too. I enjoy cycling, but didn't want to turn up to meetings hot and sweaty.
So on a trip to Cardiff, by chance I walked past an electric bike shop and thought "Oooh! That might do - an electric bike would be a cheaper/greener alternative to a second car!". One of the other added benefits is that my girlfriend really loves the bike too (and she used to hate cycling)! So if I'm feeling up for a challenge we can go for a cycle together with her on the electric bike and me trying to keep up on the old push-bike (though perhaps we'll just get another one for her too)!
Initially I looked at videos on Youtube and similar sites for reviews of electric bikes. All the reviews were really positive and said how fun they were to ride so I started looking for websites that sold them but also had a showroom or shop in London so I could try one out first. I looked at a variety of websites for stores across London, but found that The Electric Bike Shop was one of the most informative and well designed (some other sites looked a bit dodgy!).
The range of bikes was smaller than some other sites but they were all well spec'd and good looking bikes and reasonably priced (compared to many of the other sites I had seen). Most importantly they offered a test ride and finance options and a shop in London (whereas many other sites only offered web sales so you wouldn't know what you were buying until it arrived). So I made a weekend appointment, had a ride, fell in love and put down a deposit right away. It's been happy riding since.
I was very happy with the service I received. The person I met on Saturday for the test ride was Lyle who as I arrived was helping out two old ladies who were hiring some bikes for the day as a bemused but patient Lyle was giving them instruction on how to use the electric features of the bikes. It was easy to tell that Lyle was a cycle enthusiast and had a genuine pride in the bikes they were selling.
He also gave good advice to me regarding locks, bags and insurance though wasn't in any way pushy about it which was very refreshing. After the test ride I decided to buy one. Lyle called up the boss on the phone to do the finance (who also didn't seem bothered at all that I was bothering him on his weekend off) and I signed all the usual forms. A bike wasn't available right away, but Lyle said he could get one ready for tomorrow (a Sunday). I picked up the bike the next day as Lyle gave the bike a quick check-over and answered all my follow-up questions.
I would (and have) strongly recommend the Electric Bike Store to anyone considering buying one.