Sep 15, 2021, 2:30:24 PMSep 15
He, of tight piano wire strung across cycle routes!
In todays edition of The Times.
MATTHEW PARRIS | NOTEBOOK
My e-bike is making light work of the Highlands
Wednesday September 15 2021, 12.01am, The Times
Sneer if you like, but if it weren’t for bicycle batteries this
72-year-old would never have mounted a bike at all. Since Friday we’ve
done 89 miles, and — believe me — the Grampian and Monadhliath mountains
in the Scottish Highlands are the ultimate test for the new generation
of e-bikes. Ours have come through with flying colours.
On Friday we ferried our bikes from Derbyshire to York railway station,
and a nice LNER train then took the strain to Pitlochry in Scotland. You
must reserve a place in the tiny bike cupboard that most British trains
offer — demand wildly outstrips supply — but this will change. Last
month ScotRail introduced a specially designed bike carriage on their
West Highland line, accommodating 20 bikes as well as piles of other
clobber, with charging sockets for e-bikes, too.
We made it to Pitlochry before nightfall and our adventure began: a
magical 25 miles under a setting crescent moon, pedalling uphill and
down along tiny lanes and beside rushing rivers to Loch Tay on a warm
Scottish night. But it all seems so long ago now. Swims in the loch,
walks up the hill, the giant redwood and delicate Japanese maples in the
sweet botanical gardens at Cluny House near the village of Dull (twinned
— honestly — with Boring in Oregon) and then on to Aviemore station and
another wild night-ride over the Slochd pass and down to (then up) the
river Findhorn, near whose banks I sit now.
Stop me if I’m going on, but on all these rides we’ve never used more
than two bars on the five-bar indicator for battery charge. E-bikes are
revolutionising cycling for those who seek gently efficient distance
rather than heart-pounding sport. You have to pedal or they won’t help
(they’re very Tory) but they level out the ups and downs. Get one, one
of the latest, and you’ll never look back.