Hello everyone and welcome to the latest blog of The Olivia Rose Diaries on February 6th 2022.
Seven years ago I bought an electric bike, which allows me to attempt long, hilly routes that previously would have been unthinkable. For the record, and contrary to popular opinion, the rider still has to put in some effort on an electric bike, so I was puffing slightly as I pulled up to the crest of a particularly steep hill on our latest outing. A man walking his dog nodded at me.
‘Bonjour,’ I replied. ‘Have you seen my husband? He is also on a bike but I have lost him.’
‘Does his bike make a funny noise?’
‘Yes, that’ll be him.’
He pointed helpfully down the other side of the hill. ‘He was going very fast though.’
I smiled my thanks and set off down the hill after my absentee husband, muttering under my breath about people going too fast for their own good.
Our cycling trips hadn’t always been like this. Michael has always preferred an ordinary road bike to an electric one, and whilst I could mostly match his pace on flat roads, the difference in power worked in my favour once we got into hillier countryside. As the gradients grew steeper, I and my lovely bike would sail on past him as he huffed and puffed his way up the hills, legs going like the clappers, getting hotter and hotter while I barely registered that we were on an incline at all. (Okay, slight exaggeration but you have to make the most of these things.)
Alas those days of smug satisfaction are no more. He has a new gadget, a portable ebike conversion kit which can be fitted to an ordinary bike in just a few minutes. The kit is called a ‘Rubbee’ and, at around €700 for the maximum battery power, is a much cheaper option than a new electric bike. Michael liked his existing bike and didn’t want to replace it so this seemed the perfect compromise. It has worked very well so far, the only slight niggle being the noise created by the drive wheel of the electric motor on the bike wheel is surprisingly loud. Not annoyingly loud, but it makes it more difficult to hear cars coming up behind us.
It almost works too well. It offers three power settings and so far he has been using the lowest setting as it gives a greater range. Today, for the first time, he switched up to the most powerful setting on a steep hill and that was the end of that – he just left me standing. I could barely make out the bright yellow of his cycling jacket far ahead and then the lane bent around the hill and he was gone. I was cycling alone. For a while it felt very peaceful without the whizzing, whirring sound of his motor directly ahead of me, but there came a point when I began to wonder just how far ahead he was going to go before waiting for me, how long before I got hopelessly lost as he had the map, and how important his marriage was to him. Thankfully he was there waiting for me at a junction a few miles ahead.
‘What kept you?’ he grinned and was off again so quickly that he never heard my reply. Probably just as well.
For any fellow cyclists who might be interested in a portable kit you can find more information at www.rubbee.co.uk (sadly I am not on commission.)
And that is about it for now. Yet again we have spent most of the week in the fog, which seems to have been the recurring theme over this winter. We’re considering heading further south next year – Spain, Portugal….the Bahamas? Anywhere with some sunshine! Hope your weather has been better than ours and see you soon.