Hills? What hills? How an e-bike changed Vanessa’s life… and the topography of Leeds.

Is your employer signed up to a ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme (there are several)? Ask, and you too could slash ££S off the cost of a new bike. If not, ask them to look into it; tell them too about all the other things they could to do encourage staff to cycle to work. 

Grants of up to £5,000, free expert advice and support to help employers encourage staff to cycle to work. 

I wanted to cycle to work, but I’ve got bad knees! And where I live is very hilly. I had already been to a shop and had a go on an e-bike, and it was really fun – I absolutely knew I wanted one. The sales assistant went through all the extra things I would need, such as mud-guards, helmet, bike rack, pannier attachments etc, and helped me cost all that up.Vanessa 6 resize

I had seen the Cycle to Work scheme advertised on my employer’s website, and was impressed that it included a free service after six weeks and that I could get accessories as well. I used the online calculator to work out how much I could afford, the value of the certificate that would buy, and then I went to a bike shop that accepted the certificate to see what was in that range. I wanted something that I could use off-road, too, as I like to go to the urban bike park in Middleton. Previously I’d drive there as it’s six miles away, and then eight miles round the track – it would have taken me the whole day. Now I can go and do the whole 20 miles in less than two hours round trip, and I don’t need to use the car.

My only concern was locking it up safely, as it was expensive. But now there’s the bike hub at Leeds Market, that’s not an issue any more, and the bike parking where I work is pretty decent.

The e-bike I got through the Cycle to Work scheme really helps. I go up hills quicker, I can ride for longer, I don’t need to worry about the terrain, and I don’t get out of breath. It’s just so convenient. And as for my knees, even though I’m still pedalling, the e-bike takes off the extra strain, because the resistance is reduced so much. No more swollen knees!

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