Bishop's Stortford Independent columnist Chas Gill has come up with a 'new range' of e-bikes for the post lockdown world
It seems I caused my friend and colleague Louise Tennekoon a little sadness when I suggested recently that "most people will agree that we need more car parking", while she is trying to persuade us, through her Green Watch column, that now might be an ideal time to consider a more permanent shift from car to bike.
So here's one I prepared earlier that yearns for another airing, 'remastered' especially for you, Louise. Hopefully it will give us pause to think, with tongue firmly in cheek, about the practicalities of cycling when the Sun ain't shinin' (which, personally, I think is a tall order!). But, nevertheless…
With the increased popularity and green credentials of electrically assisted bicycles there is a Dyson-like fortune to be made, designing and selling aftermarket accessories. After all, with e-bikes replacing those gas-guzzling 4x4's, folk will be able to afford an integrated range of add-on goodies and have change in their pockets. In anticipation of this, I am working on a catalogue of add-ons that will make e-biking a real and practical pleasure, and me very rich!
The most sought-after accessory in my catalogue is likely to be the entry-level e-bike buggy, which I shall call e-BuggOne, an essential item for the busy parent who has young children, perhaps one just starting school and the other toddling. Conveniently designed to carry the youngest in style and comfort in a fully ISO-compatible child restraining system, this buggy will attach, trailer-style, to the rear of the e-bike and have an optional rainproof cover for those bad weather days. Little Nipper can be transported, snug as a bug in a Bugg whilst the older sibling sits on the handlebars.
For those preferring the fully enclosed and more secure option I plan to launch a larger, hard-top version, e-BuggTwo, accommodating two small people side by side, isolated from the weather, with Plexiglas windows so that they can wave to other little e-Buggers as they travel to school.
The ultimate in e-bike flexibility will be the triple-seat e-BuggThree, that will allow the entire family to go out together. This is likely to be most useful when dropping off and picking up the breadwinner on the station run and will have the added advantage of giving the pedaller a serious workout.
For those that can't manage the required effort to move this combo, there will be the flagship e-ForBuggFour, with a larger motor to drive the rear wheels and an additional battery.
Living with coronavirus means shopping will be very different and we will all have to consider changing our habits. Potential purchasers should note that with every e-bike accessory purchased I shall be throwing in complimentary face coverings that will be acceptable in all retail outlets.
For pop-to-the-shops shoppers there will be the quick-release, double-decker, handlebar-mounted e-HandleBarskit, that doubles up as a shopping basket and infant carrier, with room for the usual paraphernalia such as clean nappies, baby wipes, bottom cream, etc., so handy for those mid-morning trips to the coffee shop to meet other e-biking parents.
Those who are time-limited to one big weekly shop should consider my purpose-built e-Poles, which fit to the e-bike frame. Two adjustable telescopic poles, one on each side of the e-bike, will accommodate up to four shopping bags each and will extend sideways up to a maximum of twp metres, to ensure that, together with the fore and aft telescopic e-SocialDistancer poles (an optional extra) riders maintain whatever is the current social distance.
There will, of course, be stability issues when the e-Poles are fully loaded, so users will have to be careful to balance the shopping equally on both sides of the e-bike. For those that feel uncomfortable about this I will offer stabiliser e-Wheels, which attach to the outer ends of the e-Poles to prevent overbalancing. (Think aircraft undercarriage).
The icing on the cake will be my inflatable e-BuggBubble, which will fit over the e-bike, the pedaller, the passengers and the shopping, keeping them all dry, if not warm, during whatever weather Mother Nature can throw at them. Premium versions will include an FM/DAB radio with stereo speakers and a Bluetooth connection to the pedaller's mobile phone.
Finally, I recognise that, during her busy e-biking days, mum may need to protect herself from inclement weather, so I will be launching a range of designer outfits for all seasons that will keep her stylishly warm and dry during her e-journeys. Because I recognise the embarrassment that might be caused to two mums wearing the same e-attire at the school gates or coffee shops there will, of course, be a wide choice of designs.
About the size of a typical large 4x4, the fully-equipped combo with e-BuggBubble will, of course, require a fairly large parking bay in the town centre, but I am hopeful that our progressive local authority will build the multi-storey space to meet the anticipated demand and thus rid the town of the road-hogging automobile once and for all. And let's hope no-one sorts out public transport, otherwise my Dysonic dreams will be shattered.
More by this authorChas Gill
This website and its associated newspaper are members of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)