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04 - 09
Haibike

Working at Sherwood Pines – EMTB v MTB (Part 2)

When we leapt at the offer to use two Haibike ebikes, I don’t think were prepared for just how much they’d take over our lives. Sure we’d find a use. It doesn’t take too much foresight or imagination to think of the possibilities; I outlined most of them in the first post; Trail checks for instance, on the face of it, it must sound fun to your typical mountain biker; ride around the trails spotting and cataloguing faults or issues that may lead to accidents or where there are areas of wear and tear that might reduce the overall visitor experience who wouldn’t want that for a job? But laden with tools such as loppers, silky saws and hedge trimmers and then riding at a pace that isn’t meant to be thrill a minute, but at a speed where you can spot dangerous trees or branches and then throw in the longest, hottest summer with all the bugs the forest can throw at you, it can be a bit of challenge. And that’s before you dismount and carry out the task in hand.

I do this on my regular bike once a month, 3 trails, one bike park and a set of dirt jumps. Then I return to office glazed in sweat and mosquito spray and type it up for the powers to pour over should the need arise. During the winter months, same again, but with multiple layers. I’m not complaining, but it can be a slog. But with the ebike… Ok. I’m not going to give you the hard sell and say… ‘Wow! I flew round those trails today, chopped down a few branches, cut back some nettle and bramble and with the energy I saved…I pulled over and rebuilt a berm!’ But it was easier, firstly it takes the strain. It makes the dull remorseless climbing bits less dull and remorseless. Faint praise? We’ll I still have all the tools strapped to my back and stuffed into my backpack. The important point though is I’m able to check all the bike trails and have loads of time left over.And what do you do if you have more time? Well I ride my bike. And here’s what I wasn’t expecting when I signed up for this. I wasn’t expecting my pride and joy dream bike, in all its sleek carbon loveliness, adorned in the most expensive parts and accessories I can reasonably afford without having to move out or sell a kidney, to be left languishing in the garage.

I don’t know if this is the case or if I’ve just developed a thicker skin through a couldn’t care less attitude due to all the fun I’ve been having, but it seems that ebikes in the general MTB consciousness in just the time I’ve been on one (3 months) have gone from… ‘Pah! It’s cheating in’it?’ to; ‘I’d have one, as like a second bike just in case I’m planning a lunchtime ride up the Matterhorn’ to; ‘Yeah, ebike, that’s my next bike…can I have a go?’ Are they cheating? Well, if you follow the logic of that argument, my carbon bike with eagle drive chain, dropper post 160mm of travel is certainly a cause for concern for the purist aboard the 26 inch wheeled semi-rigid steel framed hardtail.

Throughout the summer, this bike has turned heads for all the right reasons. A perfect example; the stage manager at this year’s concert program, by his own admission hadn’t been near a bike of any kind for 38 years. I thought I need a couple of wild horses to drag him off by the end. I’ve used this bike for all my riding, from trail checks, backstage running for the concerts, testing newly built trails even monitoring anti-social behaviour in neighbouring woodlands. But this is a genuine do-it-all bike, and even when I’ve done it all, I still want to get on this bike and ride the trails, all the trails I’ve been riding for years, that I thought I knew, that I’d discounted as boring or not worth the effort are suddenly fun again. I’m not sure you can put a price on that. Above all this bike puts a smile on my face and that, is what it’s all about.

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