Villagers take a spin on electric bikes
Villagers had the chance to try out a fleet of electric bicycles – and everyone really liked them.
“We were really delighted with the turnout” said Camilla Swiderska CPRE Hampshire transport campaigner and local manager of the Electric Bicycle Network.
“It’s great to work with such an enthusiastic community. People really enjoyed having a go, and getting up some steep hills without having to dismount!”
With encouragement from the South Downs National Park Authority a network of hire points is being established to open up parts of the countryside to people who are less agile – allowing more people to climb hills and experience views that may normally be restricted to only the fittest cyclists.
And, by hiring electric bicycles, people can explore quiet country lanes and help to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the national park.
Buriton is the latest place to join the expanding network with the Five Bells recently becoming a charge point.
“People can hire an electric bike in Petersfield and then cycle out to Buriton and beyond” said landlady Fran Vesey. “They can call in to the Five Bells to re-charge their bike – and to take on nourishment for themselves too!”
“We’re really excited to be part of the new network” she added.
“The bikes were in constant use all morning” said Camilla. “There was a lot of interest in the electric bike network, how it works and where to hire the bikes from".
“The special bikes made it really easy to get up our steep hills” said Mary Saunders of Bones Lane “I might even use one to replace my car journey to work.”
Allan Muir, another Buriton resident and organiser of a national charity providing support for families affected by Glycogen Storage Disease, felt that the bikes could help people with neuromuscular conditions experience the fun of getting out into the fresh air and countryside.
“I met a couple of cycling enthusiasts on a tandem recently” he said “both in their 80s and now considering the benefits of powered assistance on the hills to allow them to continue their passion.”
“I think there will be considerable interest in these bikes over the next few years and it is great that people will be able to hire them in Petersfield and visit local villages like Buriton by bike.”
Further details of the South Downs Electric Bicycle Network are available on the website: www.electricbicyclenetwork.comor telephone local CPRE Hampshire manager, Camilla Swiderska on 07768 123457.
Local hire points include Cyclelife in Petersfield (contact Martin Brown on 01730 266644), Crank Cycles in Alton, the Cowdray Farm Shop at Midhurst and Quench Cycles at the Alice Holt Forest.