So, Reid International is going to move office! It's a really exciting time, the team is growing and so are our ambitions for the future. We've outgrown the little office we moved into 4 years ago (when Reid went International) and it's about time we made the move. However for me, Kyle, Reid's International Marketing Executive, I've commuted to the Reid Office every day since I started, on my Reid Downtown Singlespeed and I'd become quite accustomed to my 5 minute, 0.8mile commute and the new office is 24 minutes and 3.2 miles away. However, don't despair! As I have been loaned our showroom Urban+ eBike and amidst the initial trepidations of swapping out my Downtown, (the same gear I've been riding for almost two years), it's safe to say that I'm e-converted and loving it.
Although we've still not yet moved, I've been riding the Urban+ eBike to our current office for about a week now and although this may seem overkill for a 0.8mile ride, it's been fun getting used to the new bike and the difference it makes is massive. My current commute is completely flat, with one exception of a walk/cycle bridge the goes over the motorway and the eBike almost takes away the incline. On my Downtown SingleSpeed, I'd need to be standing to get the force to be able to cycle up the hill to the top of the bridge and would be using my full bodyweight to get the pedals turning. The Urban+? Standing to get more leverage? Not needed. I couldn't be more lackadaisical. I can sit, lay back, barely pedal and the bridge is conquered. Although this small win makes barely a difference on my current commute, when my commute times' by four in a few weeks, it's this extra electric power that will make all the difference.
So last Wednesday we visited the new office for the first time and I have to say I'm impressed with it and really excited to move in there in the upcoming weeks. As I know knew the new address and location, I decided that weekend (Last Saturday) that I'd test out what my new commute will be on the Urban+. A few days of discussing routes with my colleagues and scouring Google Maps for the right balance of distance and preferable route, I decided on a slightly longer but more scenic ride, that although adding a few extra minutes, would be much more enjoyable for me. This would entail me cycling from my house down to Bournemouth town centre and then cycle up the scenic gardens to work and although a few extra minutes, it takes half my journey off the roads and onto a cycle path, which I much prefer.
So off I set...
I'd like to precursor this by telling you that it was windy, real windy. Like I open my front door and struggle to close it again with the wind trying to force it open, kind of windy. But how would this affect the eBike? In all honesty, it didn't really. Although cycling directly into the wind for the first half of my journey, the pedal assist kicked in and got me up to its's limit of 25kph albeit a little slower than usual, but faster than without the electric and staying at that speed required minimal effort. Compare that to my SingleSpeed and it'd be a constant battle of trying to maintain speed whilst feeling that every turn of the pedal required double that of the last. Safe to safe, I was in town and half of my journey was completed in around 9 minutes, 3 minutes quicker than Google said it would take and against the wind.
And up the Gardens I went. This was the part I was looking most forward to and despite that state of the cycle path not really being acceptable (think bumps, lumps, roots under tarmac, bulges and breaks) and all being on a slight incline, again the Urban+ made light work of it. I don't think you'll ever truly understand the difference of having to maintain uphill speed until you're on an eBike, it's absolutely effortless, you honestly don't even feel like your riding uphill. The Urban+ 25kph pedal assist is awesome, it gets you up to 25kph and keeps you there with ease, uphill, roots, bumps, wind, you'll be riding at 25kph minimum with minimum effort. And in a similar 9 minutes there I was, at the new office, 6 minutes quicker than the almighty Google can predict and feeling a lot more comfortable about my new extended commute.
I must admit at first I was apprehensive about the office move and that my lovely 10-minute return flat commute will be turning into 40-minutes up and down hills. However the Urban+ eBike has swiftly eradicated these concerns and I think I'll take pleasure from my new longer commute, being able to explore a new area of the town I live in and being able to stop by town or the beach (only 2 minutes from town) on the way home from work in the summer will be delightful. My Downtown Singlespeed won't be leaving me anytime soon, however, its new big brother in my bike family, the Urban+, may be my new favourite child