If you Google “E-biking and the Covid pandemic” you’ll be deluged with over 160 million listings extolling the many superb benefits of adopting this mode of transport during the haunted days we presently inhabit. Another Google deluge you’ll frequently receive concerns the fact that we humans have only got until about next Wednesday to do something drastic about climate change and our addiction to carbonising our environment. So, in the grip of this pandemic which has made us realise that social-distancing, being fit and healthy, avoiding obesity and getting lots of fresh air and vitamin D, going out for a bit of a bike ride has become something of a “no-brainer”.
Additionally, cycling or walking rather than driving, is one of the biggest and simplest changes the average person can make to reduce their carbon footprint. While taking up cycling is now a hot topic worldwide, starting to do so with an E-bike is a much easier, safer way to join the arcane world of Lycra-Louts for the first time and see if it works for you.
Globally, E-bikes are now everywhere and during the pandemic sales increased 145%, more than double the rate of classic bikes. In the USA, industry experts put the number of E-bikes brought home in 2020 somewhere around half a million and that growth doesn’t seem to be slowing with latest projections indicating that between 2020 and 2023, 130mn E-bikes will be sold worldwide.
In Phuket, the very obvious benefits of E-biking are even more relevant, because despite the rhetorical bleating of such vested interests as the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket is NOT a “cycling-friendly” environment, featuring heat, hills and hazards in abundance. For the inexperienced cyclist who may be jumping onto the saddle while on holiday, cycling around Phuket can be a dangerous option and should be approached with caution and help from a locally-experienced cycling enterprise.
Enter, my friend Martin Brot, owner/operator of the famous Siam Bike Tours (www.siambiketours.com) based at Boat Avenue in Cherng Talay. Martin has been a renowned a leader and innovator in all things cycling-based in the Andaman since 2006, and so it’s no surprise that he has now added E-biking and several safe and highly enjoyable tours to his range of offerings, so that the average neophyte can try out cycling while in Phuket.
Siam Bike Tours offer a half-day tour with the latest state-of-the-art E-bikes starting at their offices at 9:15am. They ride in a group with a leader, gliding safely and serenely up the west coast of Phuket along rural roads beside Bang Tao Beach and Laguna Golf course to the lovely Wat Mongkhon Wararam (Wat Nai Yang) temple complex and Sirinat National Park on the northwest coast of Phuket.
After a coffee break at Nai Yang Beach, they cycle past rubber trees, oil palm plantations, pineapple fields and small villages on the way to the Elephant Sanctuary Park, where the group even gets to feed the pachyderms! They also offer a second three-hour, half-day E-bike tour from the west to east coast across the island and back with a beachside coffee stop overlooking the glorious east coast and Phang Nga Bay.
While enjoying these tours, it is when you come to the first serious climb that the true magic of E-biking becomes apparent. You can do as much or as little of the tough climbing work as you wish by engaging the electric motor to whatever degree you choose. Certainly, the scenery and the overall enjoyment of the experience is greatly enhanced by this adjunct to your own basic power of leg and lung, and of course having the electric motor backup allows inexperienced and less fit riders to confidently experience the joys of being outdoors cycling.
There’s also ample scientific evidence to show that E-bikes tend to encourage longer, more consistent rides over more challenging terrain than unassisted bikes, meaning that each rider tends to actually increase the amount of work they do on an E-bike compared to an unassisted bike.
The result is fitter, healthier, more regular riding… exactly what you want in the midst of a raging pandemic.
So, what are you waiting for? Give Martin and his team a call and get out there and remember… E-Zee does it!
“Bicycling” Baz Daniel has been penning his Blazing Saddles column, chronicling his cycling adventures in Phuket and beyond, since 2013.
Source: The Phuket News