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09/08/2023

Reading time: 5min

Tim Taylor

Senior Engineer - Buildings

Electric bikes – the way forward!

 

I’m Tim Taylor, Senior Engineer in Sweco’s Buildings division. I’ve been an avid cyclist for years and use this as part of my commute to London from my home in Berkhamsted. Here’s why I think electric bikes are the future…

Commuting in the city can be challenging, but cycling has always been a convenient and enjoyable way for me to get around. Recently, I made the switch from a traditional bike to an e-bike and I’m excited to share my experiences with you in this blog.

I have been with Sweco UK since 2018, working out of the London office. I am based in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, which is a market town 26 miles west of London with an estimated population of 18,500 people. It has a train station with around four regular services to London each hour during the working week.

A vast proportion of the working population within Berkhamsted, will commute into London using this train service from London North-western. The journey to London Euston usually takes around 40 minutes, costing around £27 on an Anytime Day Return ticket.

My regular commute used to involve cycling to the railway station, securing the bike then taking the train. At Euston, I would try to find a suitable Santander hire cycle (a.k.a Boris Bikes) from the many docking stations around the area. An alternative underground option was available to Farringdon station using the Circle or Metropolitan line from Euston Square, this service would cost around £5.60 round trip, however, it tends to get overcrowded during peak times.

Cycling in London

With Central London being mostly flat with several bike only paths, cycling has become a very convenient method of transportation. London traffic is very congested and often slow moving and you hear of many sensationalists’ horror stories in the press about clashes between cyclists and car drivers. However, in my experience, it is clear that regular car, van and bus drivers  are fully aware of cyclists and tend to drive appropriately. Provided you respect the rules of the road and are fully focused when cycling in London, this experience is no different to travelling around other urban cities in the UK.

A different kind of bike

When Sweco UK moved into its Eldon Road offices, my office commute became more difficult with less available docking stations in the area. As a consequence, I started looking at more suitable alternatives. I liked the idea of folding bikes which I could take onto the train and use instead of hire bikes. I decided to look into affordable fold up bike available on Sweco’s cycle to work (CTW) scheme.

What I like about this e-bike, is that charging can be done very easily by removing the battery which forms part of the saddle pole. This piece can be detached from the bike frame in seconds and charged separately. Given how flat London is, I only really need to charge this e-bike for a few hours, once a month.

Tim Taylor Senior Buildings Engineer

 

After speaking to various different  people, I was informed that folding e-bikes were also available on the CTW scheme. Berkhamsted is very hilly and therefore a means to cycle this landscape without the need for a high energy workout would be a massive bonus.

By  pure coincidence, the bike I chose is manufactured in Berkhamsted, less than 1km from my house – I actually have to pass the factory to get to the shop! After a test run at the local bike shop, I found the bike easy to use and comfortable. The retail price for this bike is £1410, and therefore with my current salary and monthly payment scheme agreed, I was able to get a 30% reduction.

Why did I choose the e-bike?

What I like about this e-bike, is that charging can be done very easily by removing the battery which forms part of the saddle pole. This piece can be detached from the bike frame in seconds and charged separately. Given how flat London is, I only really need to charge this e-bike for a few hours, once a month.

At present, the London office is under redevelopment with a nearby hire office providing a temporary base for Sweco UK London employees. When the Eldon Road office is reopened in the Autumn, a secure bike parking space will be available, from which I can start commuting by e-bike once again.

I would definitely recommend e-bikes as, they are not only eco-friendly, but also great for fitness and health. For anyone cycling in London I would advise you wear a helmet and check the route map before riding.

To find out more about why e-bikes are so good – read 10 benefits of owning an ebike – E⚡️BIKING (ebiking.co.uk)