By Kevin Pilley
She is low maintenance. And a real goer as well as a head-turner. When we go down streets together people turn to admire her compact rear end hub and comment on her mount racks.
Everywhere we go, bystanders stare in disbelief at her hydroformed frameset and drool over her intuitive use interfaces.
On gravel or tarmac, she is a pleasure to be out with and to live with. And after a hard ride there is nothing we like better than sponging each other down with warm soapy water.
My wife is equally proud of my torque sensors, my longer-than-usual chain-stay and she is always kidding me about how long I can keep going these days. Her friends tell her that she is lucky to have a man with such a great PAS.
My wife and I hummed and hahed about investing in a pedal assist system. EAPC seemed so OAP. It seemed like an admission of lives going downhill if we admitted we you needed assistance getting uphill. And it sounded like we had been referred to the European Council of Palliative Care. Rather than Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles.
But friends told us that there was nothing to be ashamed of in getting fitted out with Specialized 1.1 Fazua Evation and ebikemotion X35. They pointe us towards the government’s Cycle to Work scheme and Signa Sports.
An e-bike should not just be for Christmas or for a a birthday. It should be for life.
Sigma Sports are experts on modern all age two-wheeling with bike like the Orbea Gain D50 pr Orbea Gain M30F 105 Disc with its fast-rolling Fulcrum E-Racing 900 wheels. Or a Trek Verve 2 with Alpine Gold aluminium frame and Bosch Performance Line Cruise.
E bikes introduce you to a new life nsd heights of outdoor activity. Previously, I had struggled to get up onto barstools. Rapid acceleration was only away from exercise. GPS apps were only used to drive to pubs.
When my doctor suggested I take up cycling to lose weight I raised concerns about the after -effects.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“The tights,” I answered.
I don’t mind activity wear but its activewear that concerns me. My upper body isn’t made for tight Thermoflex and my upper body doesn’t go with seriously snug reflective Lycra tights. My wife was worried about the helmet and her hair.
We decided to give it a test trial with Cycling For Softies who offer e-bike getaways like their 76 mile, two-day, two-night Cotswolds break based at the renowned Barnsley House.
Four miles from Cirencester the 1776 Georgian “William & Mary” is famous for its garden and potager designed in the 1950s by Rosemary Verey- who advised HRH Prince Charles and Sir Elton John on their back gardens
A “potager” is the French term for an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden. The historical design derives from French Renaissance gardens. Especially Chateau de Villandry in the Loire. The garden supplies “The Village Pub” over the road.
There can’t be many places where you can namedrop a plate of pulled pork. The meat is reared on actress Liz Hurley’s former farm.
The 18-room “Pride of Britain” hotel has a 30-seater cinema as well as a spa and skincare centre” with an outdoor hydrotherapy pool and lots of reviving , re-energizing , mind-calming, mindful bottom de-stressing “Elemis” treatments. Bliss after a long day’s power-assisted pedaling.
Mothers snatched children into the safety of their small porched cottages, grown men cowered behind pollarded lime trees, dogs dashed into bushes and cats dived over dry-stone walls. We had not ridden a bicycle for twenty years.
But, there were few rows, no cramp attacks, no Wolds rage , not much grunting and a lot of laughing. We didn’t have to be rescued from the River Coln and didn’t have a puncture. Apart from startling a Japanese tourist coming around a corner in Bibury , there was only one accident when I rear- ended a female pheasant jaywalking just outside Lower Slaughter. She flew off before we could exchange insurance details.
Pant-free cycling is a sedate way to enjoy the Cotswolds countryside, its lanes and mellow stonework of its buildings which one of my literary heroes, J.B.Priestley , once described as “keeping the lost sunlight of centuries glimmering about them”. But, Cycling 4 Softies isn’t about racking up the miles and sweat, it’s about the in-between.
Spoilt with £2K 10-speed Scott sub-tour ebikes with Bosch Performance Line motor and 625wh battery, you cycle as much or as little as you like, stop at pubs and teashops and end up in a spa and then in front of a juicy 10oz steak. Perfect.
Next up Sussex, Tuscany or Umbria. E-biking provides the perfect re-charge and bespoke holiday. Cycling For Softies is for us. The Spandex will take further breaking in.
www.cycling-for-softies.co.uk 3-7 night e-bike breaks in the Cotswolds from £895
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