VoltBike

‘I used an electric bike for a week around London and now I don’t know how I’ll survive without it’ – Dan Wiggins

Until a week ago my only experience of cycling in London was on the famous Boris bikes.

They’re great value and you don’t have to worry about anyone sawing through your lock wherever you leave them. But, if you’re going anywhere further than 15 minutes away, chances are you’re getting VERY hot and sweaty.

So, when I got a chance to review the Volt Pulse, a hybrid electric bicycle worth £1,949, I jumped at it.

READ MORE: London Underground: ‘I travelled to Bank around the Northern Line closure and it was so much quicker than I thought it would be’

They say it can last as far as 60 miles on one charge, and with a 250-watt motor and four different speed settings, the Pulse has a top speed of 15.5mph.

However, with the bike being a hybrid, you still have to pedal on all of these power-assisted settings, as turning the pedals is what activates the motor.



Despite covering over 40 miles through the week, the Pulse only needed one charge

Straight away, I was concerned.

Aside from the bike being extremely appealing to would-be thieves and weighing just shy of 25kg, I also still had to put what sounded to me like a lot of legwork in.

However, all of my concerns were blown away after saddling up for the first time.

Taking to the back streets of East London, to get my eye in with the surprisingly straightforward and intuitive controls, I was having a blast instantly.

Although you need to pedal to get the electric to kick in, you can select whichever pedal gear you like, meaning that if like me you fancy being a bit lazy, you can still cruise along at a rate of knots, all while pedalling as slow as you like.



The novelty of blasting past other cyclists with ease never gets old

Passing old-fashioned non-electric cyclists with ease, I was exuding more smugness than Jeremy Clarkson in his prime (not that he would ever approve of such a mode of transport, I’m sure).

I even managed to get to the listed top speed, at one point hitting a tidy 16.6mph.

In just one evening of errands, I’d been all the way from Bethnal Green, to both Leytonstone and then East Ham and back, racking up 15 miles in just a few hours.

Because of my use of the higher power settings, this also drained about a third of the battery.



The Pulse makes light work of hills any other cyclist would dread

Fortunately, charging the bike is similar to plugging in your laptop.

The battery easily disconnected from the frame of the bike to be plugged in, and then simply clicked back into place when fully juiced.

My fears of locking the bike up and never seeing it again were also unfounded, perhaps because my paranoia is unrealistic, but equally as likely because of the Pulse’s in-built locking features.

As the week went on, I found my need for other modes of transport fading into a distant memory (sorry TfL).



I don’t know how I’ll cope with going back to Boris bikes

Unlike the somewhat mind-numbing, if admittedly efficient London Underground, I actually looked forward to making journeys by bike.

It was fascinating seeing all the parts of London you miss out on when barrelling through tunnels or sticking to bus routes.

And with a comfy ride and soft suspension absorbing the many bumps along the way, the physical toll was next to nothing.

However, like all dreams, it had to come to an end.

I handed the keys back over today with a heavy heart, and despite all its qualities, with a price point just under £2,000, I know I won’t be getting back on one of these anytime soon.



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Having knocked down each and every one of my concerns going into the week though, if you can afford it, there’s no way you won’t enjoy it.

However, for now, I’ll just stick to my sweaty Boris bike.

You can buy your own Volt bike here.

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