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Friday, 13 April 2018

Spring is Here!

Spring has finally arrived. The winter seems to have dragged on for ages, there was snow and cold, then there was rain and just when we thought it might get warmer it snowed again!

However, the birds are now singing their socks off and the trees are showing signs of green. I have been out and about and it really is the time when everyone is thinking about getting out and cycling. 

Firstly I have been to an electric bike demo day at Drover Cycles at Hay on Wye on the Welsh border. Usually the cold weather lingers there but last Thursday was a glorious day. The sun shone and potential customers were ready to test ride from the moment the bikes were unloaded from the van and the pedals were on. It was the perfect day for a test ride – it was like everyone was emerging from their winter cocoons and were ready to enjoy the outside world.

After a brilliant day of chatting and showing off the bikes I packed up and headed for home. As I was heading out of Hay I rounded one country lane corner and saw someone indicating caution. I wondered what was ahead. It was Sheep and lambs! Coming up the road under guidance of their shepherd. They swarmed around the van baaing and passed on their way. I took some quick pictures feeling that I had been truly “sheep bombed” and Spring is here.

Last weekend we also went out on a family bike ride. I wanted to see if the cowslips were out in the local meadow. They are almost there, showing their heads but not open yet. There were lots of catkins and other tree flowers out and plenty of leisure cyclists out enjoying the sunshine. A lovely ride out.

Batribike Delta and the Batribike TEN-S

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Batribike at Westminster eBike Meeting

Batribike was in London yesterday to attend a meeting of the APPCG (All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group) at the House of Commons. Andrew Sealous MP who is co-chair of the group, chaired the meeting.
Electric bikes are a huge part of the cycle economy in Europe whilst we are a little behind, here in the UK. Subsidies and incentives are being rolled out in many European countries to encourage riders to get out of their cars and take to two wheels.

The meeting was to look at ways of growing the electric bike market in the UK.

Steve Edgell, Director of Cycle Solutions and Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, stated that, in his opinion the clear way forward is to lift the Cycle to Work Scheme limit from £1000 to £2500. The mechanism is in place for this solution and results can clearly be measured by the uptake. He said that there was currently no funding or mechanism in place to provide an ebike subsidy. He believes that lower wage earners will benefit most, as they will be able to save on commuting costs.

30 miles of cycling a week, can reduce cancer risks by 46%

Will Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton, spoke about health benefits. He said that obesity and mental health problems are now at crisis point and that unless something is done the NHS will be unable to cope in the future. He believes that more people cycling could have a positive impact on the NHS. Key facts are that 30 miles of cycling a week, (including ebikes) can reduce cancer risks by 46%. He also said that people who use ebikes do more cardio-vascular exercise (not at the highest rate) because they cycle for longer.

Only 4% of Londoners are cyclists - but 99% can ride a bike.

He stated that only 4% of Londoners are cyclists - but 99% can ride a bike. What we need is something to start the process of getting more people on ebikes. We need the Government to kick-start the process, once it is started it will continue to build.

Laura Dyett, Senior project manager for Behavioural Change at TfL, said that they are starting a website and a campaign to get more people to take a test ride on an ebike. She said that other local authorities should follow suit.

The meeting was then open for questions and comment.

Raising the Cycle to Work limit could make a step change in cycling and would be a small cost to government

Phillip Darnton, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association, said that as much pressure as possible should be put on Government to raise the Cycle to Work limit, even if it is for 5 years. This could see a step change in cycling and would be a small cost to government. France and Germany are already ahead with their subsidies on ebikes. The real advantage of electric bikes is that they are for different types of people making journeys.

Real people in everyday clothing, making transport choices

The overwhelming feeling of the meeting was that electric bike riders are not cyclists, they are real people in everyday clothing making transport choices, whether that be for commuting or leisure.

Electric bikes can, and will, make a difference to health and the environment.

It was good to be at the meeting and hear the opinions from many different organisations – all believing that electric bikes can, and will, make a difference to health and the environment.

On top of that we got to be in an amazing building too.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Ten Years in the Electric Bike Business and still Growing Strong

Batribike has reached and passed the ten-year milestone of being in the electric bike business. When the company first started the industry was still in its infancy. Most of the major players in the cycle industry at that time thought it was just a fad or too risky to dip a toe in the water. I have found myself reflecting on the changes in design and innovation that the industry has seen in that time

Batribike saw a gap in the market.

The electric bikes that were available in the UK market then were lacking in spares backup and in some cases reliability. We saw a gap in the market to produce a quality reliable electric bike with UK based spares and back up.

When we first started Batribike, lithium batteries were just entering the market, motors were heavy and clunky and the complete design of the bike was only just starting to look more “bike like”. We even had an entry level bike with an SLA battery, and that battery weighed 15kg. The all up weight of most electric bikes is now not much more than that battery alone!

Improvements in technology

We have seen huge improvements in batteries. They have become lighter with greater distances and better reliability. This has lead to extended warranties. Motors have become lighter and more efficient and so have control systems. In the industry these are the things that we notice and remark on but as far as the buying public are concerned, it’s design and style that they notice first. That seems to be what draws them to a particular model, specification comes later.

Hidden batteries and stylish designs

Last year it seems that there was another step change in design, the emergence of hidden batteries into mainstream brands. A year down the line, at the recent Cycle Show, and batteries were even less in evidence than they had been before. Improvements in the way that cells can be packed to produce more compact and different shaped casings has certainly had an impact on the design of the bikes. It seems that customers are noticing and approving of new sleeker more integrated designs. Gone are the days of bolting a big square battery to the frame and announcing “its an electric bike!”

Looking at trends I can see that eMTB’s are definitely taking a share of the UK market, but it is in the leisure and commuter sectors where frame design and hidden batteries are making an impact. With these improvements and further innovations will also come the affordable electric road bike. Something that has not really been possible before due to weight, and to be honest, some prejudice against the concept. But more people are asking when this will be possible.

Electric bikes – future transport!

Vehicle emissions and congestion in cities are hot topics. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently announced transport strategy plans to make 80 per cent of trips in London to be on foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041. These plans will undoubtedly include greater use of electric pedal assisted bicycles.

Going forward

The old-fashioned designs and clunky technology of ten years ago, have leapt forward and the future for electric bikes is assured and exciting – bring on the next ten years!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Vintage Danish Designed Bicycle

I saw this Cheltenham Pedersen on my recent visit to Batribike stockist, tim's cycle shop in Weymouth. Tim was pleased to show me how different the design was.

In the summer of 1899 the Dursley-Pederson Cycle Company was founded to produce bicycles designed by Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen. The company was based in Dursley, Gloucestershire and co owned by engineering family Listers. Mikael was an avid cyclist proclaiming to have ridden 5000 miles in one season. However he felt that there was "room for improvement" in the design for cycles.

There is a wooden cycle of this design in a museum in Copenhagen, it was found after World War 1 and is assumed to be his prototype. The model that Tim has is not quite as old as that, possibly dating from the 1970's.

The thing that intrigued me most is that it is a Danish design, as is the electrics on our current Batribike models. Mikael Pedersen was thinking outside of the box when he completely re-designed the frame and seating of his bicycle. Promovec the Danish company that supplies the electric system for our Batribike range have also thought very carefully about their designs.

Options to upgrade the display and also the way that the control system works are cleverly integrated so that if you plug in a different display the controller knows what to do - ingenious!

It is good to know that the Danish tradition of invention is still in use here in the UK.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Happy Batribike Customers

Here at Batribike our customers are important to us. Judith and Nigel contacted us recently because they needed new batteries for their Batribike Quartz folding bikes that they had purchased way back in 2010.

We were delighted to be able to help out with the organisation of this and get them back out on the road again.

They have sent us this lovely picture from one of their recent rides near Valencia.

We wish them many more miles of happy riding.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

All Change – But Still The Same!

Changes to the Batribike team – but not to how we work and what we do.

There has been quite a bit going on in the Batribike office recently. It is one of those times when you know that stuff is happening but you can’t say anything about it until it actually happens! There is that air of suppressed excitement, tinged with fear that you might accidentally let the cat out of the bag!

Whilst most people know us as Batribike our business name has always been Fallowgate Ltd but 2018 has brought some changes. We have been working with Danish company Pro-Movec for almost two years. They supply the electrics that are fitted to our ebikes at the manufacturing stage. But now we have formed a new company, Batribike Ltd with Jesper Lundquist the CEO of Pro-Movec.

Steve Coulson Managing Director, Batribike Ltd and Jesper Lundquist CEO, Pro-Movec
The team at Batribike here in rural Lincolnshire stays the same, and the way we work and our bikes stay the same, but this strong new connection brings more ‘clout’ when it comes to manufacturing. All the factories in Europe are busy. The electric bike revolution and increase in sales means that it is becoming harder to get time in the factories. An alliance like this brings more buying power and ensures that we have the best quality and we can maintain a good flow of stock.

Just like us, Pro-Movec has over ten years experience in the electric bike industry. We have similar values and a total commitment to, and love of, electric bikes. The new partnership also means that we have increased access to all the latest smart developments in ebike technology. For Pro-Movec there are benefits too. We are committed to using their excellent electric system here in the UK.

The Pro-Movec electric system has industry leading warranties on the motors and ground breaking transferrable warranties - up to 5 years on batteries. This gives value in second hand electric bikes, an area where there has previously been no consumer confidence.

Batribike electric bikes will still be fitted with the Datatag Stealth Pro cycle security marking system. We are the first and only UK manufacturer to fit this to all of our bikes. We also offer a one-month free electric bike insurance backed by Lexham Insurance one of the country’s leading 2-wheeled insurance brokers.

With all this bubbling along under the surface you can see how excited we have been to make the announcement and we are looking forward to a very promising 2018.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Bletchley Park Bikes

I was lucky enough to go to Bletchley Park on Saturday. It probably wasn't the best weather to be there, snow and ice on the ground and freezing rain coming from the sky!

I didn't really know what to expect, but it probably wasn't lots of wooden huts. In some ways the weather being bad showed just what conditions were like when all those people were working at what was the forefront of technology.

They were working not just on codebreaking and the Enigma machine but were really at the start of computing. The very first computer was here, although it was so secret no one knew about it for years!

It is from these seedlings of technology, using valves and miles of wires that computing as we know it today grew. It might seem a very random connection to electric bikes, but once these ideas took hold, then we could progress to printed circuit boards, smaller components and all the technology that goes into making an electric bike work.

In stark contrast to the cutting edge work they were doing, the transport for those workers was bicycle, at that time there was no fuel for car trips for leisure. Alongside all the other equipment on show at Bletchley Park there is a whole bike shed of lovely vintage bicycles.

With our 20th century love for all things car causing congestion and poor air quality, the 21st century is bringing us back to the bicycle, but now with all the benefits that technology can bring.