Power Assisted Bikes

January 16th, 2008 by Richard Lord

Road transportation produces thirty percent of Guernsey’s carbon dioxide emissions if one excludes air and sea travel to and from the island.

For our personal movement around Guernsey we can choose less polluting forms of travel.

From a carbon dioxide emissions and a personal health perspective walking is best. However, bicycling has the advantage of speed. It provides door to door transport and parking is usually easy.

One disadvantage of bicycling is that some people may find Guernsey’s hilly terrain in the south and west difficult to negotiate. For those of us who need a little help cycling up some of Guernsey’s steeper hills, power assisted bicycles offer a solution.

A Powabyke owner photographed after effortlessly cycling up a steep hill in the parish of St. Martin, Guernsey. (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Adventure Cycles on La Grand Rue in St. Martin sells four brands: Powabyke, PowaCycle, Raleigh E Bike and Wisper electric bikes. They range in price from £600 to about £1500 depending on the battery technology employed. The less expensive models use a lead-acid battery and the more expensive models use a nickel metal hydride or a lithium ion battery. The nickel metal hydride and the lithium ion batteries charge more quickly and are less heavy.

It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each battery type before purchasing a power assisted bicycle.

Power assisted bicycles should be peddled. The battery provides power to assist travel and is not intend as a sole means of propulsion.

These bicycles have a range of about twenty miles. The Powabyke sold at Adventure Cycles can travel 20 to 25 miles on a single charge. Unlike scooters, which are more polluting, a power assisted bike can be used on Guernsey roads without requiring a license or insurance. UK law limits their top speed on battery power alone to 15 mph.

According to Adventure Cycles the Powabyke lead-acid battery can last up to four years as long as the battery is recharged regularly or after every trip of more than a few miles. A lead-acid battery will not last as long if it is completely discharged before being recharged. It can be recharged about 350 times before it needs replacing. Aventure Cycles will replace a Powabyke battery for a fee of £79 which includes the labour cost.

If you have not bicycled for a long time, a power assisted bicycle may provide the motivation to rekindle the pleasures of cycling in Guernsey’s country lanes.

Adventure Cycles is located on La Grande Rue, in St. Martin.

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