Updated: Jun 25
London, UK: Cycling in London while on holiday? Maybe not the best thing to do as a tourist, but city cycling on an electric bike is a lot of fun. It is a bit like going to spin class, when your legs are pumping like crazy but, not wanting to work that hard, you leave the tension at the lowest setting. You put in exercise time, you get up a little sweat, but you don't have to work all that hard. This is what makes it such joyful bike riding.
DO Try this at home!
My birthday request was fulfilled this year when I received a Fiido foldable Ebike. Foldable, to fit into my car thus eliminating a car bike rack, and electric because I am not fit enough for a real bike.
After much poo-pooing from my family, doubting my desideratum of such equipment (They said I would never use it. They said the same thing about my Kitchen Aid pasta maker but they seem to be enjoying the fresh spinach linguini, thank you very much), I am happy to report that I have been all over London on my fabulous new mode of transport.
Suggesting a tourist or visitor hire a bike and ride through London traffic would be crazy, and possibly prosecutable, so I will refrain from doing that.
Cycling in London is dangerous. In the UK, we drive on the left, so there is a challenge right away for most people. It's not as easy as you may think; you will need to know the correct way to look for oncoming cars, and also to be cycling on the correct side of the street.
In London, you must contend with cavalcades of cars, buses, trucks, double-parked cars, buses and trucks, wayward pedestrians, tourists looking the wrong way, and most notorious of all, other cyclists. In fact, if I am hit by anything while out joyriding on my bike, it will definitely be another cyclist.
I am a good driver, and because of this, I am a careful cyclist. Unfortunately, many cyclists don't follow the rules of the road. More often than not, someone on a bike will run a red light, cut across a sidewalk, or not signal. The other day, I was behind a man riding slowly in a heavy-traffic area. Every time I passed him, he would run a red light and overtake me again. He was lucky someone (me) didn't bump him in front of a bus! Not following road safety puts cyclists, pedestrians, children, and pets in danger. I follow all the rules, signal, and only run red lights on Sundays. Rules be rules, people (except on Sundays).
I started off with short distances, and have been increasing my distance daily. Even though my bike is electric, I still have to do some work and the harder you pedal, the longer the battery lasts. I like to pedal on a low speed hard going downhill, then relax and let the bike work for me going up. I enjoy pretending to be super-fit as I smugly glide up the hills without breaking a sweat. Shaming other cyclists is a fun past-time. Every time I head out on a ride, I have so much fun, I end up going further than I plan. I see parts of London that I have never seen before, wheedling in and out of different neighborhoods, my only goal is getting home before the battery dies.
There are many e-bikes on the market now and, I won't begin to give advice here. Neil did all the research; he is excellent with research, and finally settled on the one he thought was cutest. I concur that the 'read up on reviews, then choose the cutest' method is always the best, as this is how I base all my decisions. He was spot on, my bike is adorable. Do your own research; there is a lot to select from, based on how you want to use your bike. City travel, off-roading, and long-distance bikes along with fold-ables and bikes with replaceable batteries are all there at varying price points. Decide on your needs and budget, then choose the cutest.
For a lot of fun and some truly moderate exercise, give e-biking a go. Practice makes perfect, so try renting before you buy, in the country somewhere, or at the beach, but not in a city, and definitely not in London. City cycling looks very glamorous (floating summer dress, straw hat, wicker basket on front perhaps carrying a small fluffy dog and a baguette) until you are stuck in between two double-decker buses and need to cross in front of traffic.
How can you not think of the Wizard of Oz?
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