28 Nov // A week in the life on an E.BIKE!

My email inbox swings wildly like a pendulum from the sublime to the ridiculous, but a couple of months back I was asked to do something I was genuinely excited about. Not trialling chocolate, or receiving vodka, or chasing me for a deadline, or an accounting bill, which are all exciting in their own way, I received an email from Mercury asking if I would like to trial an e.bike. Not just one e.bike, but two. Would I like to have an e.bike mini gang for a week, and blog about it? Hell yes, I said.

I am not a cyclist by any means. There was a time in my former life as a young professional that I got quite amongst spin classes at the gym, and when I lived in Wellington I had a vintage silver Mamachari bike called Sylvia, which had a cute basket and would get me to work along the waterfront in about 7 minutes flat. Late last year on an overseas trip, I loved cycling around both London and Taipei on public transport bikes you could pick up and drop off from locations all over the cities, but that’s about the extent of it. When I was in Victoria’s High Country at the start of the year I cycled along the Bright Rail Trail on what was described to me as the ‘Mercedes Benz of e.bikes’. The guy hiring it to me explained that you cycle as normal, but it feels like someone is giving you a gentle push, like a help along.  

On a Tuesday afternoon in September, I picked up my two yellow e.bikes. I was a little nervous about cycling on the road, and about cycling up hills, but the e.bike I had (the SmartMotion ecity) had 5 levels of power, plus a turbo function (which was just a twist of a throttle on your handlebar). I needn’t have worried: I got home much much quicker than if I’d walked, and without the sweat factor or quad cramps that would have inevitably hit if I was only on pedal power. The e.bike gave me just the push I needed to get uphill, and it was awesome.

I enlisted my friend Harriet for mini e.bike gang purposes. Even though this is my favourite quote regarding all things gym related, we thought we would e.bike to the gym before work. Harriet came over about 6am on a grey and dreary Thursday. First things first: the e.bikes had been plugged in and charging in my garage, so we checked they were charged up and adjusted our seats. After a brief photoshoot on my street (livin’ for the ‘gram) we were on our way.

It was liberating. We constantly overtook each other, and because it was relatively quiet traffic wise it wasn’t too terrifying. About halfway there we decided scooting around the city was a lot more fun than a treadmill, so flagged the gym and hit the bright pink cycleway in the city. Drizzly rain just made it more fun, as did filming each other in slow-mo coming around the corner.

We did this a couple more mornings, embracing bright raincoats, and wishing I owned gloves (the early days of Spring are notorious for sometimes masquerading as the depths of winter). The cold snap passed though, and on the day I cycled to the office I felt like I’d had a full workout before I’d started my day. Getting into the city was a dream: not having to find and pay for parking, and only marginally slower than getting an uber, arriving at lunch meetings or events without being a sweaty, leg-crampy mess, was extremely satisfying.

Harriet and I continued our bright yellow e.bike gang mornings, cycling around the city, taking it in from a different perspective (it’s amazing what you notice when you’re not confined to a car), embracing the cycle lanes, and generally getting excellent leg workouts the entire time. We would stop for a coffee before cycling home, and it felt like you’d had a full and sociable morning, all before breakfast.  

In short, I’m a convert and I really didn’t want to give it back.

Thanks to Mercury for hooking me up with the e.bikes for the week and for sponsoring this post. Mercury customers can currently save up to $500 on an e.bike - more info about that here.