Getting to know a Folding Electric Bike
Media volunteer Karen shares her experience of borrowing a folding electric bike from our Lang Toun Cycles community bike shop. You can borrow a bike for free for up to a month from the Bike Library. She borrowed a Wisper folding e-bike, but there are various kinds and brands to choose from at Lang Toun Cycles.
Getting on an electric bike renewed my enjoyment of cycling. Admittedly, the 56 mph wind nearly blew me into the sea wall the first time I took it along the Kirkcaldy esplanade! Combined with the wind, sunshine, and almost blinding gusts of dust, I managed to work up quite a sweat.
I had instantly forgotten the details of the excellent demo from David, the Lang Toun Cycles Shop manager. I’m more of a try it and see kind of girl.
It didn’t matter that my 55-year-old brain couldn’t retain the information because it’s well known that we, once learned, never forget how to ride a bike. The Wisper and I whooshed along on the flat at an exciting pace!
On the second trip out
Wisper and I walked up Dunnikier Road from the High Street to Coal Wynd because strong legs couldn’t stop the bike and me from rolling back down the steep inclines!
I hadn’t figured out how to engage the electric assistance by pedalling or the digital display unit on the handlebar. I rode to Beveridge Park easily on the flat and then discovered the throttle as if for the first time (although I’m sure David had shown me in the shop)!
I did remember what David said about using the gears, though. It makes sense when driving or riding to start in first gear. Halfway up the long gentle slope, I employed the throttle in first gear with thigh muscles groaning.
It worked! I made it to the top of the hill and relaxed down the other side.
Upstairs and downstairs
Getting a regular bike up the stairs of a tenement isn’t easy. Try lugging a 22 Kg electric bike up two flights! The second time, I removed the battery and the pannier holding the lock and chain to make the task more manageable. Of course, if you have a house and a back garden with a shed, it’ll be straightforward!
Being a fan of practicality and efficiency, I did not fold the bike to store in my flat. Instead, I leaned it against the hall shelving. While watching a review on YouTube, I paused the video to try out the actions demonstrated. The presenter made it look easy, and it was. He is right about using straps to hold the wheels together when the bike is folded.
Engaging electrical assistance
After watching a Wisper 806 Folding Electric Bike Overview, I knew how to engage the four different levels of assistance. The first flashing bar on the digital display means zero help with your pedal power, but there are four levels to choose from! The display also shows how many miles or kilometres you’ve done. When the display is on, click the on/off button again to switch on the front and rear lights!
Third time out is a charm
Well, not really. I pedalled myself to the top of Kirk Wynd using the digital display bars as I went. Nothing happened other than a lot of sweat and breathlessness! I free-wheeled back down and headed into Lang Toun Cycles Shop to find out what I was doing wrong.
David sat on the bike and pedalled. Then he demonstrated on another bike how the electric assistance engaged and the wheels ate up the few metres of the showroom floor. Oh no, I must have been doing something wrong. I knew it wasn’t the throttle because the electronic sensors cut out the motor to protect it. “A sensor has probably come loose,” said David.
You can imagine my relief that I hadn’t broken the bike! David swapped over the pannier with the lock for the replacement bike and I delicately moved my white chocolate and raspberry doughnut and Rooibos Red tea from the artisan market. We swapped keys for the bike lock and battery lock.
We have lift-off
Outside, David watched my progress as I whooped when the electric assistant engaged and swept the bike and me along the High Street, around the corner, and whooshed us up Kirk Wynd.
If you would like to borrow a bike or e-bike please get in touch with Lang Toun Cyles.