During lockdown cycling has provided a welcome form of escape and recreation for many, as well as playing a key part in keeping commuters mobile.
As we look ahead to an easing of restrictions it's clear that cycling will continue to play a major part in people's daily lives - the gradual increase in popularity and improvements in infrastructure that we've seen over the past decade has gone through a step change in just a few short months.
Riding is of course healthy and economical, with urban riders in particular freed from the cost and stress of finding parking.
According to TfL there were 4.6 million journeys by car in an average day, prior to lockdown, 50% of which were less than 3km. That's an awful lot of short journeys that in many, if not most, cases could likely be made by bike.
People have been riding more on quieter roads, and avoiding public transport (limited as it has been), and advances in e-Bike technology in particular mean that cycling is more accessible than ever.
The Guardian recently took a widely shared look at reasons why now is the time to get into cycling. That may not be news to us, but it makes for some interesting reading all the same, particularly if your riding hasn't previously included a commute.
below: Specialized's new Vado SL - e-Bike doesn't have to mean bulky or heavy
Early e-Bikes were heavy, clunky and expensive. An affordable commuter option would likely mean something with an unwieldy battery, jerky transmission, and often an unpleasant and glitchy user interface copy/pasted from Chinese by Google Translate.
Since the big cycling brands have adopted e-Bikes as an integral part of their lineup we've seen big advances in technology, usability and practicality.
Now an e-Bike isn't simply a mobility aid, it's a useful tool for any cyclist - and particularly the commuter.
There's no need to arrive at work hot and sweaty or out of breath, but you can still get the health and practical benefits of cycling. With panniers to safely carry your luggage and integrated lights powered from the central battery it's a convenient mode of transport that you can simply hop on and off without the need for preparation.
A more upright riding position, combined with chunky pothole-absorbing tyres, makes for a relaxed and comfortable ride with good visibility.
With a typical range of 80 miles, and a charging time of just over 2.5 hours, the likes of the new Turbo Vado SL will always be ready to go, and can quickly and easily be topped up either at home or during the working day if needed.
If you prefer to treat your commute as part of your training regimen you might be more tempted by the likes of the Specialized Turbo Creo SL. A traditional drop-bar road race bike weighing in at just 12.2kg, it can do duty as a long-distance commuter, but then allow your trip home to evolve into an epic exploration or training ride.
Flat bars, chunky tyres, a relaxed riding position, loads of carrying capacity, mudguards and integrated lights - commuter bikes have long provided the best way to navigate city streets.
As e-Bikes have come of age they've shed weight, improved usability and dropped in price, making them a compelling option for a daily commute.
Specialized's new Turbo Vado SL is right at the cutting edge, with their superb motor system providing seamless assistance if and when required.
We go in-depth on the Vado SL in our first-look blog report.
The e-Bikes we sell use pedal assist technology, powered either from the cranks or via the rear hub.
What this means is that you are in control of the assistance provided, and it only kicks in when you are pedalling. The assistance is smoothly delivered, with no jerkiness, and when turned off there is no noticeable friction in the drivetrain to slow you down.
The result is, as Specialized say "it's you, only faster" - you are in control, there is no feeling of the bike getting away from you, and the effect is like having "better legs" - giving you a seamless boost - rather than pulling you along. It's still pedalling as you know it, the bike just goes quicker and further for the same amount of effort.
This is vastly preferable to the throttle-based system used on some basic e-Bikes, which provides constant power and which gives a disconnected feel of the bike being in control.
A good, modern e-Bike, like the ones we sell, will feel no different from a conventional bike.
Whether you're looking for an e-Bike or a conventional bike, and whether you're a die-hard cycling nut or a newbie commuter, we're here to help.
Our experts can advise on the best bike to suit your individual requirements and to match your budget. Get in touch for more information and to discuss your options, including the brilliant cost-saving Cycle to Work scheme.
We've said before that e-Bikes have reached a tipping point, and the new Turbo Vado SL from Specialized is one of the best all-round commuter packages we've seen to date....Read more
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