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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Along the Lee Valley by Electric Bike

What better way to spend a Sunday than riding along the river with friends. The Lee Valley is a linear country park that stretches 26 miles and spans three counties, Hertfordshire, Essex and Greater London. Bizarrely it's called the Lee Valley but it runs along the banks of the River Lea.
We met at Gunpowder Park at Waltham Abbey, which has easy parking. The park here has been reclaimed from what was once the Royal Ordnance munitions testing facility. From here you can cycle 15 miles all the way to the Thames at East India Dock.

Our friends were on standard road bikes, and when we arranged to meet we hadn't considered the fact that they would be on skinny road tyres, which weren't ideal for some of the gravelly sections. We were riding the Batribike Alpha and the Batribike Perdu which were perfect for the varied terrain.

With lots of stops to look at the scenery and wildlife we rode for about 7.5 miles down to Tottenham Marshes. When I suggested the ride I hadn't imagined that there would be so many canal boats, I was great to see them going through the locks.

The first part to Picketts Lock was very picturesque with fields one side and the river on the other, as we went further along the scenery became more industrial.

After a picnic lunch we turned round and headed back - the only problem with a linear park - it's always there and back and not round in a circuit! The weather was glorious and it was a lovely ride, definitely somewhere we will be going again, maybe next time we will head the other way.

Monday, 5 August 2019

FreeCycle RideLondon 2019

Cycling round London on a Batribike Perdu on Saturday was such a brilliant experience.

Usually when I mention RideLondon people think of the 100 mile ride which happened on Sunday. However, the Saturday before the main event, an 8 mile route around the sights of London is closed to all traffic - except bicycles.

Only bikes allowed! Approaching Buckingham Palace
It is open to anyone who wants to ride, you can book beforehand and get a number, or just turn up on the day and join in.
Even the smallest riders are welcome

All cycling life is there, from tiny children with stabilisers, road riders in lycra, MTB's, fat bikes, city bikes, folding bikes, people on weird and wonderful bikes - I saw clowns on stilt bikes, a man riding a bike made from the head of a bedstead, a push-me-pull-you tandem where the rider on the second seat was going backwards all the time! Santander hire bikes and of course electric bikes. Everyone was welcome, everyone was friendly.

The Batribike Perdu at St Katherine Docks
Ralph and I arrived at St Katherine Dock early, it's a great place to start and I love the relaxed feel here, you can't imagine you are a stones throw from Tower Bridge and Central London.

The Royal Barge
We got on the Cycle Superhighway and rode along to join the FreeCycle route near Mansion House.

On the Cycle Superhighway, separate from other road users and its own traffic lights
Our first circuit was lovely, getting there early was definitely a good idea. There was plenty to see, passing all the iconic landmarks, Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Nelsons Column, The Bank of England, Lincoln Inns Field, the Palace of Westminster and so many more.

St Pauls Cathedral reflected in a block of offices
Crowds at Horse Guards

The Batribike Alpha heading down to The Bank of England
The second circuit was all about the people, there were thousands cycling the route, and in some places we slowed to a walk. There was a carnival atmosphere and everyone was happy to be there, waving their RideLondon flags and ringing their bicycle bells.

Flag fixed to the handlebars, and ready to ride up The Mall
If you get the chance to go next year, I can thoroughly recommend it.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Photo Shoot for the new Batribike Dart

Launching a new bike means there is lots of preparation to be done before hand. At Batribike we create a very extensive and carefully written customer manual. Then there is the sales brochure for the year, a data sheet with all the technical specifications and the listing on our web page. This all needs studio shots of the bike from various angles and some lifestyle pictures.

In February I headed out to get the lifestyle photos with an idea that some canal side shots would work very well with the Dart. The Dart is a nice lightweight folding electric bike that will suit both leisure riders and commuters.

My first location was Twyford Lock no. 2 on the Stort Navigation. It was a gloriously sunny day, which you think would be ideal. However, with no leaves on the trees the trunks and branches cast very stark shadows so I needed to pick my shots carefully. The white bike frame with black accessories looks very stylish but again proved problematic – getting the exposure right on both colours was a bit tricky.

Lots of stripes confuse the eye
Still stripes and the seat is lost
I moved the bike around the location looking for the best picture. As I was wondering whether to move on, a narrow boat came up into the lock and I stopped to watch. The owners were interested to see what I was doing too, and said that the Dart looked ideal for riding on towpaths. They kindly suggested that I could fold the bike and stand it on their boat.

Folded on deck
My favourite shot of the day
My best picture that day was of them leaving the lock. The portrait format wasn’t ideal for the Batribike brochure so I went out again a couple of days later.

My second location was Paper Mill Lock on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation. It was another sunny day with walkers on the towpath and customers sitting outside the nearby tearooms. There are lots of boats moored here but the most interesting ones were on the wrong side of the canal for both the light and for me to get to.

I love the colours of the boat covers but the Dart needs to be the star of the picture

I shuffled the bike up and down the towpath looking for the best angle. Again there was lots of interest in the Dart and what I was doing. I do enjoy being out and about with the electric bikes people are always interested to hear about how they work.

The final brochure shot
I am pleased with my picture from Paper Mill Lock that is used in this season’s Batribike brochure it really seems to encapsulate what the Dart is all about.

Read more about the Batribike Dart on the website and test ride a various locations around the UK.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Cycle Security - Reducing Cycle Theft

Yesterday I was in London for a meeting with the APPCG (All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group). Batribike is an associate member of this organisation which gives us the opportunity to hear from leading decision makers and implementers of all things to do with cycling.

Ruth Cadbury MP chairs the APPCG meeting at Portcullis House, Westminster,
The topic was How to Reduce Cycle Theft. I know this is a concern for customers when buying an electric bike. It is a considered purchase and owners what to make sure that their lovely new bike is safe.

1. Choose a good lock

It seems that the type of lock you use is important and all the advice is that cheap cable locks are not safe. It is best to choose a lock that is marked as "Sold Secure". Sold Secure is not a brand of lock but a testing and certification facility that tests all types of security locks and marks them as to how secure they are. Started by Northumbria and Essex Police it is now run by the Master Locksmiths Association. Cycle locks are rated Bronze, Silver or Gold depending on their ability to withstand attack. Some insurers specify a level of lock depending on the value of the bike.

There is evidence too, that using two different types of lock is effective. You should also lock your bike when it is in a garage or shed at home.

2. Register your bike

Make sure you know the frame number of your bike and register it on one of the databases available. Or use a cycle marking and registration scheme that has a visible marking or sticker so that would be thieves know that it will be difficult to pass on.

Many insurers will give you a discount on your premium if your bike is marked in this way.

3. Insure your bike

Make sure that you have adequate insurance cover. Some people believe that they are covered on their household insurance and this is not always the case. Do check with your insurer if they specify the type of lock you need to use.
Batribike offers a one month free insurance with Lexham with all new bikes.

Be sensible about how and where you lock your bike and .... enjoy your riding!

Thursday, 31 January 2019

APPCG Meeting on Planning for Cycle Cities

Batribike is an associate member of the APPCG (All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group). Members are from both the Commons and the Lords who are passionate about cycling and facilitating more people to do it.
 I was please to be able to attend the meeting yesterday that was chaired by Ruth Cadbury. The speakers were Will Norman who is the first Walking and Cycling Commissioner for London, and Chris Boardman the first Walking and Cycling Commissioner for Greater Manchester.

Arriving at Westminster

Committed to Cycling

Both are committed to get more people cycling and walking and to create the space in our cities for that to happen. Whilst the meeting focussed on these two major cities I firmly believe that there is a ripple effect. When good things happen in major cities other parts of the country sit up and notice, they start to think that this could happen in their location too.
 London is ahead of Manchester with many new routes already in place and Manchester is just starting its journey, however, with an innovative way of looking at change I think things could move ahead in Manchester very quickly, and that’s good for all of us.

Chris Boardman, Ruth Cadbury and Will Norman at the APPCG meeting

Will Norman

Will Norman spoke about doubling the number of cyclists in London by 2014, he said that it is not just about creating routes, it is about the quality of the route, how easy it is to use, and about people wanting to use it.

Active Travel

It is important to improve Active Travel because for the first time in human history life expectancy has fallen. Five year olds today have had their life expectancy cut by five years! In London 9 million people are dying earlier because of air quality.
On the positive side, active travel means more foot fall past small businesses. Customers have the chance to stop and browse or buy. Will said that it was important to have a serious monitoring system, collecting data of this sort is important to proving the benefits.

Navigation and Parking

Good way marking to help people complete their journeys is crucial and TfL is looking at ways to improve this. He is looking at ways to have better bike parking in shopping and work areas.
 And finally he said – “When we have success we should celebrate! Positivity is important too.”

Chris Boardman

250 million car journeys in Greater Manchester are less than one mile! What a statistic, but also a great place to start.

Chris said that they have planned for success by getting all the individual boroughs to say where cycling and walking routes are blocked or cut of by obstructions such as major roads or canals. In this way they can look at safe crossing points and connections. What a great way to start, already the individual boroughs are committed to the project.

Way-marked for quality

He wants to have way finding with a guarantee of quality. If it is waymarked you can be sure of the quality of the route to ride or push a double buggy.
He asked that planners imagine a competent 12 year old cyclist, that is who they should be aiming junctions at. If they or the child’s parent could be confident in them using that junction then it was good enough.
Greater Manchester is planning to create 144 new or upgraded crossings, 26 miles of new routes and 9 miles of Dutch style segregated cycle routes.

Not just for Cycle Cities but Countrywide

Overall I thought it was a very positive and encouraging meeting. If other cities can take on this idea of looking at where routes are blocked or cut off and improving these connections then a better network for cycling and walking could be created countrywide.

Active travel in London with Portcullis House in the background

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Preparing to Ride your Electric Bike in Winter

The weather has been mild so far this winter, and autumn seems to be stretching all the way to Christmas, but it still makes sense to be prepared.

When we think about riding in winter we often think about snow and icy roads, but it can be the rain and the wet roads that are around for the longest.

Check over your e-Bike

Now is a good time to give your bike a good check over to make sure that the lights, brakes and gears are all working. Most of the bikes in the Batribike range come with mudguards to protect you from the worst of the road spray, check they are properly aligned so that they are working efficiently. Make sure that your tyres are in good condition and are inflated correctly. Under inflation can reduce the efficiency of your electric system. If you are unsure, you can take your bike into your local Batribike dealer for a service.

Riding in the Rain

You can ride your Batribike electric bike in the rain, the components are protected from water spray. However you should not ride through deep water or jet wash your bike, which could force water into connections. Remember that it takes longer to stop in the wet and that puddles can often hide a nasty pothole.

Look after your Battery

Looking after the battery is a key part of owning an e-Bike. If temperatures drop below 0° you should remove your battery when you are parking or storing your bike. The battery will work more efficiently if you store it at room temperature and just fit it to your bike while riding. This applies to charging the battery as well. Check your manual for full instructions.

What to Wear

Protect yourself too! Make sure that you have some protective clothing such as waterproofs and warm gloves. It will make the journey much more enjoyable.

Be safe – be seen! Wear something bright and or reflective, you may need to use your bike lights even in the daylight on more dismal days.

For those of you who prefer to pack your bike away for the winter, make sure that your e-Bike is clean and dry before you put it to bed. Do not leave the battery in a storage area that will drop to freezing over the winter. It is best to remove the battery and put it somewhere where it can remain at room temperature. Ensure your battery is charged and don’t forget to charge it over the winter even if you are not using it.

It’s all common sense really, enjoy your riding, be prepared and stay safe!

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Sunshine and Photography

A couple of weeks ago we were out on a photo shoot in Mid-Essex in glorious sunshine. Our first stop was Thorndon Park, Brentwood. There are some lovely cycle trails here and a forest type feel to some of the areas.

BATRIBIKE ALPHA | Shimano hydraulic disc brakes | 24 gears and suspension forks | Mudguards and lights included

The white Batribike Alpha looked gorgeous on this lovely wide trail. There were a few leaves on the ground and the dappled sunshine coming through the canopy.

BATRIBIKE DELTA | Hidden battery MTB | High quality Shimano brakes and gears | Lightweight and confident off-road

In contrast the Batribike Delta eMTB looks set for a great adventure against the ridged bark on this tree.

From Thorndon Park we headed through the villages towards Chelmsford. The Red Lion pub at Margaretting was such a great colour in the sunshine we just had to stop and take some pictures of the Quintessential.
BATRIBIKE QUINTESSENTIAL | Classic Style - Vintage looks | Hidden Battery in saddlebag | Basket included

The regulars inside were intrigued to see what was going on and came out to see us. It was great to be able to chat about electric bikes and how they worked. Everyone was amazed at the hidden battery in the saddlebag. The Landlady and Landlord came out to see why everyone was busy outside and couldn't resist having their photo taken with the bike.

BATRIBIKE QUINTESSENTIAL | Classic Style - Vintage looks | Hidden Battery in saddlebag | Basket included

Finally we headed to an iconic Chelmsford landmark, Hylands House for a last couple of pictures with the Omega and Perdu step-through style bikes.

BATRIBIKE OMEGA | Lightest in class | Low seat position, suits the shorter rider | Easy to use with 7 speed hub gears | BATRIBIKE PERDU | Hidden Battery and Wheel Lock - use same key | Suspension forks and seat post | Easy Adjust handlebars