Friday 4 November 2016


The compatibility of Erin Mae and bikes has never been entirely clear to us. On the one hand there was the occasional desirability of being able to cycle to a shop too far for walking, and the possibility of an alternative exercise mode (particularly for the sedentary steerer). On the other, this was offset by the problems around storage, vulnerability, towpath conditions and the question: would we really use them?

I still have a Raleigh Pioneer bought 20 to 25 years ago, though I haven't ridden it for about 10 of those. My best beloved's went to a worthy cause a while back, but she's been hankering after another, even if it never gets to see a towpath. The New Forest authority has been developing and promoting more cycle trails, and the attraction of those couples powerfully with the perceived benefits of extra exercise. But would she still be able to manage a bike? Her bionic knee doesn't flex as far as the original.

We have an excellent local bike shop in Ringwood, and went to see what they could recommend. First attempts were not encouraging. On a typical hybrid bike, with the saddle high enough to allow the knee to pedal, her feet were not sufficiently near the ground for safety and confidence. James suggested we might consider an Electra. Their USP is a re-think of basic bike geometry, to give a comfortable riding position in which the rider can both pedal easily and get the feet flat on the ground when necessary. We agreed and the shop got one in from the European supplier for us to try. After final trials today we dolled out the dosh. Excitement!

We're very much looking forward to putting it through its paces in the Forest, when the constant drizzle of today has relented. Whether this machine and Erin Mae will be introduced to each other any time soon, or at all, remains to be seen.


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