Sue Amiel lives in Bristol with her husband Gaby and two children, Elodie (7) and Gabriel (4). Earlier this year, they bought an electric bike that could carry both children in tandem. Here, Sue tells us how it has transformed the way they travel around the city.
Tired of sitting in traffic
Bristol is one of the most congested cities in the UK and getting from A to B can be incredibly frustrating, particularly during rush hour. It had got to the point where I wouldn’t make any plans that involved travelling from one side of the city to another, as I hated sitting in the traffic and knowing that I was part of the problem.
Our situation was made even more tricky when our daughter got a place at a city centre school. It’s just that bit too far to walk so we had to rely on car or bus, and both options took a very long time. We had to leave more than an hour to make the two mile journey. It simply wasn’t viable.
Finding the right e-bike for us
We had been looking at various e-bike options for some time, and had tried out a few – such as the tricycles and the ‘cargo’ bikes, where the kids sit in a box at the front, but I found them both a bit unwieldy. Then we came across the Tern bikes, where the children both sit in tandem at the back, so it’s very much like cycling a normal bike.
"It has totally transformed the way we travel around the city. We now can get around as a family of four without needing the car"
It has totally transformed the way we travel around the city. We now can get around as a family of four without needing the car, as long as my husband or I uses the pedal bike as well as the e-bike. We use it daily and it means we can do the school run in 20 minutes. It will really come into its own when our youngest child starts school in September as we will be able to get both kids in quickly and easily.
Doing the school run is easy
I was initially worried that the bike would feel unstable and I wouldn’t feel confident with the children. But it’s incredibly solid and, because the centre of gravity is low, it feels really secure. Although it looks long, it’s actually no longer than a standard bike. Elodie sits in the middle on a cushion and Gabriel sits in a standard bike seat, but they can be configured to have two bike seats attached so it can accommodate a combination of different ages.
The battery is really powerful. We live at the top of one of Bristol’s steepest hills and it manages to take me and both children up it, although you do need to put in some effort pedalling!
It really is huge fun to cycle, it’s a joy to handle and it’s great to go whizzing past people with very little effort! The children love it too.
Is it worth it?
It is an investment. Our bike cost us around £3,200 - and we bought it through my husband’s company which saved us 20%. But it is already saving us a lot on parking, wear and tear on the car and bus fares and, more importantly, saves the frustration of getting stuck in traffic on a daily basis. It’s probably more accurate to think of it as a second car rather than a bike. I believe e-bikes can transform city centre travel and improve air quality and the environment to boot.
"I believe e-bikes can transform city centre travel and improve air quality and the environment to boot."
Finding the right e-bike for you
If you're ready for a cleaner, greener transport option and think an e-bike could be the answer to your travel needs, you can find out more about what to look for and how to choose your e-bike here.
Sue and Gaby have bought the Tern GSD bike. Featured image via Sue Amiel