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For many electric bikes are a lazy option

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:03 09 September 2018

File photo of an electric bike. 

Picture: Adam Scorey

File photo of an electric bike. Picture: Adam Scorey

Our grandparents warned us, but did we listen?

They said that the things society called “advancements” would actually take us backwards and make us lazy.

Microwaves did shorten time in the kitchen, but also heralded the unhealthy habit of TV dinners.

Internet shopping is definitely a boon at times, but I wonder what the calorie-burn comparison is between tapping a phone screen and pushing a trolley around Aldi.

Then there are remote controls - for music systems, cars, garages and TVs.

I’m probably about the youngest age of those who can remember TV without a remote (yes, when many of us still had a black-and-white set and there were only three channels).

For those younger than I, when we wanted to turn on the TV or change the channel - never to 
ITV, which was beneath contempt - we had to get up from the sofa, walk to the TV, press a button, walk back to the sofa and sit down. We did it, of course, in sepia tint and talking in received pronunciation.

The inability to leave the sofa has evolved into a lifestyle choice. For, at the end of an evening of takeaways and grab-bags, if the remote is out of reach they’ll simply leave the TV on and avoid the horror of the stairs by sleeping on the sofa under a duvet of empty beer cans and Tortilla chip crumbs.

I’m as lazy as the next person, and will grasp any opportunity to take a shortcut. But there is one that I’m resolved to avoid at all costs - owning or using an electric bicycle.

The revolution in cycling in recent years is fantastic, with so many people feeling the benefit of extra exercise. As cycle ownership and use has risen, it has naturally been accompanied by an increase in the ownership and use of electric cycles.

Now, before people with very jerky knees dust off their indignation, I want it to be clear that I am fully aware that there are people for whom electric cycles are a godsend.

Some older people and those with disabilities might find these bikes giving them more freedom - and exercise they wouldn’t have had.

But if you have bought an electric bike because you fancy a break from pedalling uphill, I’m not impressed.

There are so many facets to cycling: being in the open air; getting to places that can’t be reached by car; nipping about in the city while motorists fume in queues; seeing nature and architecture as you pedal by; improving your health and fitness.

The last one is largely deleted from the list if you go for the electric version. And that’s rather lame.

For taking the exercise out of cycling also removes a massive element of fun. I love pushing myself to the limit on a ride - making my brow (and just about every other part of my body) sweat and my thighs burn.

Nature has blessed me with a heck of a lot of thigh to burn, which means what I gain in power I suffer in pain.

But at the end of a ride, I get a sense of satisfaction from knowing that I have achieved something: I’ve seen some sights, conquered hills and burnt a decent batch of calories.

Where’s the satisfaction in gliding about without any effort? What’s the win at the end?

It’s just another example of the “can’t be bothered” society that we are a part of. Hard work is shunned because there are so many ratruns for us to take.

It’s natural to take the easy way out, but not always wise.

If you want to switch to two wheels, buy a proper bicycle and feel the burn.

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