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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Visit to Batribike folder bag manufacturer

At Batribike we are very proud of the fact that our storage bags for the Breeze and Dash Pro are manufactured here in the UK. Last week I was delighted to be able to visit the factory down in the West Country.

The bags are specially made for us using fabric that has a waterproof coating on the inside. The bag can then keep your storage area clean. The bags have a heavy-duty double ended zip which allows the whole side of the bag to fold down making it very easy to fit the folded electric bike.

When I visited there were some bags being made that were very similar to the Batribike ones. The fabric is cut out to templates on the ground floor and then all the stitching takes place on the first floor. Thanks to Chris and the Team for making us so welcome.

Once the visit was over there was a chance to get out and about and we pointed the Batribike van towards Westward Ho! To get a quick view of the crashing Atlantic waves before the sun went down.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Francis-Barnett Electric Bike Launch in Coventry

Today we have been to Coventry, the home of the Francis-Barnett brand. We were at the Coventry Transport Museum for the press launch of the Francis-Barnett classic electric bikes.

Vintage bicycle display at Coventry Transport Museum
The new Francis-Barnett classic electric bikes ready for the photo shoot
Yesterday the weather forecast was pretty grim, however the sun was out as we travelled there this morning, but it soon turned overcast.

Batribike was delighted to be promoting the launch alongside Andrew Longfield the present owner of the Francis-Barnett brand. Andrew was at the museum when we arrived. He had brought along both a vintage and a more modern but retro styled motorcycle from the brand to complement the new classic electric bikes.

The photographers get down for the low angle shot
We were able to set up some great shots of the bikes straight away. It was fantastic to have the participants wearing vintage style clothing and to have the support of jitterbug dancers who did an impromptu hop to the sounds of the vintage record player.

Jitterbug dancers
Unfortunately before we finished the rain put in an unwelcome appearance, but with the help of the odd umbrella spirits stayed high for the live interview for BBC radio Coventry and Warwickshire. The presenter also filmed some footage of the bikes in action.

Waiting in the rain

BBC Radio interview of Steve Coulson from Batribike
One of the dancers, loving the idea of a classic electric bike
Andrew Longfield of Francis-Barnett and Steve Coulson of Batribike under the Whittle Arch commemorating the inventor of the Jet Engine
We adjourned to the inside of the museum when all the press photos had been taken. What a fabulous collection and display of cycles and transport the museum has, a free resource for the people of Coventry. The museum has a Francis-Barnett autocycle on display and we were able to stand the new vintage style electric bikes alongside for another photo.

The camera high up on the tripod to get the shot
I am delighted to say that after all that work we finished the morning in the museum café for coffee and cake. Certainly an outing to remember!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Cycle Show 2015

Meeting everyone is a very important part of the Cycle Show and what a busy time we all had! We take everything we need to build our stand, even down to the carpet tiles for the floor. We are quite precious about the stand and want it to display our bikes to the best advantage.

We had the stand all set and ready by the end of Wednesday. Thursday is trade and press day and it was great to see so many Batribike stockists on our stand and to be able to show them the new Francis-Barnett vintage style classic electric bikes.

The very popular Storm
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were public open days and once again we were very busy talking about the bikes and demonstrating the Cykell towball mounted bike carrier.

The test ride area was absolutely crammed with over 100 electric bikes to try on the outside track that had a purpose built up-and-down ramp. With so much choice for customers we were delighted with the response to the Batribike range. Many riders came back to have another go on the Storm saying that it beat the competition hands down.

Ready for the start of another busy day in the test ride area
We keep a check on how far the demo bikes have been ridden over the four days of the show. The test track is quite short so it takes a lot of rides to build up the miles. The top ride was no surprise – it was the Storm with a total of 54 miles! The next highest was another crossbar bike, the Granite, with 29 miles. This year we had two step-through Diamonds to try and they did 27 and 10 miles each. The Francis-Barnett classic electric bikes did a total of 33 miles.

The Francis-Barnett looking very glamorous on the stand
Putting all the Batribike and Francis-Barnett bikes together the total for the show was 172 miles. That’s the same as cycling from the show at the NEC in Birmingham to Brighton or Carlisle, or Plymouth or Gateshead, phew! It puts it into context – it’s a really long way.

All too soon it was time to pack the stand down, it is surprising how soon the show turns back into a big empty hall.

It won’t be long until we are back again for the Motorhome and Caravan Show on the 13th October.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Electric Bike Throttle - Buy Now!

Clarity for electric bike regulations is something everyone in the industry welcomes.

The regulations for electric bikes here in the UK have been quite confusing for a number of years. The EU regs said one thing and the UK regs said something else just slightly different. The motor size and maximum speed have now been brought into line which makes it much easier for the consumer. Standardisation on 15.5 mph (25kph) and a maximum motor size of 250w is very clear.

In the UK we have been able to fit a 'twist and go' throttle that allowed the rider to use power without peddling. From January 2016 new models with this feature will not be classed as bicycles. This means that most manufacturers will be posing out this feature.

The general advice must be that if you require an electric bike or trike with this feature - Buy Now! as stocks will be dwindling.

Any bikes purchased before this date will still be legal under the "grandfather rights" rule.

For more information read the recent article on Electric Bike Throttle on the Batribike website

Monday, 3 August 2015

70,000 cyclists take part in RideLondon 2015

Due to space issues in Green Park we were unable to attend RideLondon in a official capacity this year. However we decided to join the spectacle and take our place among the 70,000 participants and enjoy the 8 mile celebration of cycling around some of London’s iconic sights.

We arranged to park the Batribike van quite close to Tower Bridge and unloaded our bikes. Ralph and I had our friend Kathy along with us and we were using the Diamond Pro, Granite Pro and Breeze.

It was a gorgeous summer day as we headed of to meet up with some other friends at the Monument. On our way there we stumbled onto St Katherine Dock, somewhere I hadn’t been before, now it’s a place I would definitely go back to for a proper look round.

Batribike Diamond Pro and Granite Pro at St Katherine Dock 
RideLondon FreeCycle is a free to enter event. An incredible 8 miles of London streets are closed to traffic from 9am to 4pm to allow cyclists of all ages and abilities to enjoy cycling around the capitals tourist spots. The route was changed from last year and did not go along the Embankment but it did however take in new places and a trip over Waterloo Bridge.

The view on Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge crammed with cyclists

The emergency services were all on bikes too, we were even passed by three police cyclists using a siren
The atmosphere is incredible with flag waving and bell ringing participants crowding the streets.

Arriving at Admiralty Arch
Crowds at Trafalgar Square
Heading back in to Trafalgar Square

We finished the route back at St Pauls and took a moment to enjoy an ice cream in the sunshine. We then crossed the Thames via the Millennium Bridge and joined NCR 4 to take us down to go over Tower Bridge. Then back past St Katherine Dock to the waiting van.
Ice cream stop at St Paul's
The View from Millennium Bridge
Pushing The Granite Pro down from Millennium Bridge

Back at St Katherine Dock
The Queen's row barge Gloriana looking magnificent in St Katherine Dock
Once again RideLondon had proved to be an exceptional experience and the bikes a joy to ride.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Electric Bikes in the West Country

Recently I have been out and about with Ralph all over the South West. My travels actually started in the West visiting our Batribike stockist in Upton upon Severn, at Severn Wheels. It was good to have a chance to catch up with Malcolm and to demo the tilting trike to some of his customers. The tilting Trike 20 is an ideal ride for those who are used to cycling but would prefer a more stable platform. The front end of the trike leans into corners just like a bicycle and feels very natural. However if balance is an issue then the rigid Trike R is a traditional trike that rides exactly the same as a conventional tricycle, of course they both have the benefit of electric motor assistance.

From there we travelled to Monmouth and I am delighted to say that Car Care is now a Batribike Stockist and will have our bikes in store very soon. Car Care is a family business and it was a delight to meet them all and see them enjoy test riding the bikes up the hill in Monmouth High Street. The bikes sailed up the hill and it was amusing to see the lycra clad conventional cyclist having to stand on his pedals to make it up behind the seated Batribike riders.

We crossed over the Severn Bridge behind the Royal Opera House lorry and headed down to Devon.

Thursday morning was free and so I took my friend to the ‘Camel Trail’ she hadn’t been on an electric bike before and I was keen to hear her impressions. Her husband is a keen cyclist, and the last time she had cycled there was quite hard work, she had stopped several times to recover. We parked at Wadebridge with the intention of seeing how far we could get towards Padstow before turning round. Well, I am delighted to say that we went all the way to Padstow! My friend didn’t need to stop, but she did – just to inform me that she didn’t have “jelly legs” like she normally does. The ride was an eye opener for her and the headwind on the way back didn’t phase her either.

No "Jelly Legs" here!

In the afternoon we visited Bude Bikes, who I am please to say are now an official Batribike stockist with bikes in store. I again demo’d the tilting trike. The 80 year old lady didn’t want to give her age to start with as she was worried that we wouldn’t let her ride. Her confidence and determination was very inspiring and she rode perfectly, she is now looking forward to the new independence the Trike 20 will bring her.

Friday took us to Topsham, a delightful town next to Exeter right on the riverside. Batribike stockist Route 2 Bike Shop, which is next to Topsham Quay had an Electric Bike Day. We took along our gazebo, flags and a variety of Batribike models and had a lovely time talking to everyone who attended.

Lovely view at Topsham Quay

Saturday was the last day of our tour and we were in Bournemouth for the Grand Opening of the e-Cycles Centre. Owner Colm Boyle had arranged for the Mayor and Mayoress of Bournemouth to ‘cut the ribbon’ and had laid on some lovely refreshments. Once again we had a great day and enjoyed seeing the Mayor riding the Trike.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Enjoy Summer on your Electric Bike

Summer has definitely arrived and everyone wants to be out on their bikes. Electric bike riders are no different and it certainly is a good time of year to enjoy being outside.

If you have not used your electric bike for a while make sure that you check it over for any loose items. Make sure that the brakes are adjusted and working and that the tyres are inflated correctly. Under inflated tyres give less distance as they cause more drag. Much better to pump them up and ensure that you have enough power for the return journey.

Charge your battery before you go, with the nice weather you can often ride further than you had originally planned or stay out later with the lighter evenings.

In the hot weather it is important to think about your personal protection. Consider if you need to apply sun protection cream. Gliding along on your electric bike can make you feel like there is a cooling breeze, please make sure you have adequate sun protection, you might not realise that you are getting sun/wind burn.

Sunglasses are a must for summer riding, there has been a lot in the press recently about UV rays being harmful to eyes. Sunglasses also protect you from flying insects, there’s nothing more annoying than a bug in the eye!

Stay hydrated. Riding an electric bike on assist is not likely to work up a sweat, but when the weather is warm you need to take on more fluids, so remember to take a drink if you are going for a longer ride. It is better to drink little and often rather than downing the whole bottle in one.

Be prepared for summer rain. It is a good idea to take a lightweight waterproof with you, they fold up small and can easily fit on a rack.

Above all, get out there on your electric bike and enjoy the summer.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Batribike at Bike Week Launch in London

Bright and early yesterday morning we had two folding electric bikes packed in the boot of the car and were off to London. Parking was pre booked outside the congestion zone and we would cycle the rest of the way. It was a chilly and busy morning on the roads of the Capital and even on the outskirts we could see big numbers of people riding bikes for their daily commute. Most of them appeared to be wearing cycling clothes.

The Batribike Dash Pro and Breeze were ideal for nipping through the traffic on the way down to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The embassy was kindly hosting breakfast and the launch of Bike Week.

Speeches began at 8.30 am. The Ambassador, Ms Laetitia van den Assum talked about Dutch cycling and how we could learn from the Dutch attitude to cycling she mentioned that they wear “normal” clothes for riding their bikes. Other speakers included Philip Darnton of the Bicycle Association, Ian Austin MP, former Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) and Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport. Mr Goodwill said that the Prime Minister was committed to continuing the cycling revolution with increased spending per head and that the aim was to increase the number of journeys by bike that would be made wearing “destination clothing”.

At Batribike we believe that this is an area where electric bikes will really play an important role. Electric motor assistance makes it a lot easier for riders to wear their everyday clothes.

Ms Laetitia van den Assum and Robert Goodwill MP 
After the speeches everyone gathered outside the embassy for photos. We then crossed the road to Hyde Park and gathered again for pictures in front of the Albert Memorial.

The Batribike Breeze and Dash Pro with the Albert Hall in the background

The ride was led and marshalled by the Met Police. The sun had come out and the crowd of riders set off in good spirits, through Hyde Park, down Constitution Hill, round past Buckingham Palace, Down Birdcage Walk past the Barracks and on to Westminster. It was a lovely ride in iconic surroundings; the slower pace meant that there was plenty of time to talk to other riders. What a glorious assortment of bikes were represented from standard and hire bikes to folders of many sorts, electric and human powered, cargo bikes, a recumbent and many more.

Me on the Dash Pro with Steve Garadis from the Bicycle Association

Passing Buckingham Palace
We finished on College Green opposite the House of Lords entrance, with more time to chat and to share in everyone’s passion for all things bicycle.

All we had to do now was to cycle back past all the great sights, which was definitely no hardship! We were delighted to be representing the electric bike industry at this prestigious  event and we had great morning out on the bikes.

Ralph on the Breeze as we went back through Hyde Park