A few women at work mentioned that they would like to ride more and also mentioned that they had never ridden a pedal assist electric bicycle. It was a bit hard to find somewhere to do a "Back on Your Bike" session at the Operations Centre, during working hours, as the car park areas are generally fairly busy with staff coming and going for site visits and meetings. I checked all the available areas and decided to trial using the main staff car park, once the majority of outside workers had left at 4.30pm.
The carpark is the best low risk environment for these sessions. There are no parks close by for us to go to as our workplace is in the middle of an industrial area. The roads nearby have many heavy vehicles and a large hill. We were content to ride around in the carpark. (To go out on site visits, we are able to fold the bikes to transport them or put them on a bike rack.)
We pumped up the bike tyres, adjusted the seat height, checked how to lock the bikes using D locks and used slap bands(see photo below) to made sure trousers did not get caught in the chain or wheels. A few staff members saw us riding the bikes in the car park, stopped and checked out the ebikes and helped with taking photos.
I did two one on one sessions, going over basic bike skills and showing how to use gears on the bike, without engaging the power. A pedal assist ebike is just a normal bicycle, when the power is turned off. The folding ebikes are light weight and easy to ride without power. We could not resist parking the ebikes in the M/C parking when we stopped to look at how to turn on the power mode and adjust it to the appropriate level.
Once my colleagues were used to the bike and had mastered using gears, disc brakes and corners, I showed them how to engage the power. They like the extra power – like having the wind behind you – and left the session with a smile.
We covered just a few kilometres in the car park, but I am sure that they will do many more kilometres around their local areas and encourage others to join them. It was a good opportunity to train people on how to use the bikes and to get more “girls on bikes”.
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