For commuters in the Capital, the time has come to see their bikes as they see their washing machines – as labour-saving devices.
The advent of the electric bike has seen growing numbers of people opting for pedal power of the motor-assisted variety to travel around our hilly and windy city.
From small beginning in 2003, the Electric Cycle Company, in Granton Road, now has annual sales of 300-plus and is the biggest specialist retailer of electric bikes north of the border.
“There are big advantages to electric bikes in Edinburgh which is very hilly, often windy and parking is very near impossible,” says owner Neill Hope. “On a single charge you can comfortably commute to work in Edinburgh for a whole week and it offers huge saving on driving a car. It allows you to arrive at your destination with minimum effort, looking fresh and without the hassle of parking.”
When the family business started 14 years ago, electric bike manufacturing was fairly niche, but all the major manufacturers now have their own range, covering road bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes and commuting bikes.
Neill describes the last two years as “revolutionary”, since Bosch entered the market creating the “washing machine effect” and raising the profile of electric bikes.“People identify with Bosch as a quality brand for household appliances and there are now 75 different brands of bike worldwide with Bosch motors,” he adds. “The growth in manufacturing has been good for us because we can offer customers a much wider selection of bikes and the quality and technology has really improved.”
The Electric Cycle Company, 133-135 Granton Road, 0131 552 0999, www.electriccyclecompany.com. Open Mon-Sat, 9.30pm-5.30pm.