Daniel Zeichner MP joined Cambridge business Electric Bike Sales on Friday 10th February ‘getting on his bike’ to promote electric cycling.
Cambridge’s MP, who also serves as Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, will be touring the local shop before test-cycling an electric bike along Riverside and Newmarket Road with store manager Eddie Kehoe.
While Cambridge is regarded as one of the leading cycling cities in the UK, many people are unaware of the wide availability and benefits of electric bikes. Government funding to promote ‘Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles’ has been a hot topic in Parliament in recent months, with Mr Zeichner asking Chris Grayling MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, to incentivise the take-up of electric bicycles.
The benefits of electric bikes are widespread, with a small electric motor adding additional power, and it could be considered as a real alternative in transforming local travel without the pollution of using a car. The take-up of electric bikes in the UK is relatively low when compared to nearly all other European nations, with just over 35,000 e-bikes sold last year compared to over 500,000 in Germany and nearly 200,000 in the Netherlands. The bikes are charged from a normal power socket, with research showing that the highest uptake is among people aged 55 and above, and those doing multiple trips around town during the course of a day. Recent research has shown that e-bikes provide 80% of the health benefits of traditional cycling.
Eddie Kehoe, Electric Bike Sales manager, said: “Electric bikes are a great way to reduce some of the effort of cycling, they are an additional option for those wanting to avoid using a car. There are a range of bikes available for those interested in making the transition and any effort to promote uptake is really welcome. Electric bikes provide many of the same benefits of standard bikes, but these bikes put the exertion in the full control of the cyclist".
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “I have owned an electric bike for a few years now, I assembled it relatively easily and use it whenever I can. I think some people look at cycling and think that’s not for me, but I strongly recommend considering electric; it’s easy, takes away some of the effort and supplements traditional cycling. Crucially it can enable people to cycle later in life”.