RooDog Tourer Review 

 
I’ve always been a fan of being on two wheels. It gives me the buzz of fresh air and activity while allowing me to cover more ground than running or walking. Recently dipping my toe into the world of triathlon has meant cycling has become even more important and my road bike is one of my favourite things. 
 
So where does an electric bike fit in? About 10 months ago I’d popped into Atmosphere Electric Bikes in Bristol to buy a pannier for my bike and Alastair convinced me to take an electric bike for a short spin. 10 minutes, and an easy ride to the top of a notorious Bristol hill, and the bug had bitten me slightly, but where really would this fit in my life? 
Fast forward to this year and an incident putting my car off the road for a month lead me considering ditching a car for good and turning to purely two wheels, however was this realistic? As it turns out no, as with a young child and also a need for some longer journeys I just wasn’t ready to do this. I was very aware however that there were journeys that fitted into the “Near enough to do by bike” category where I was still repeatedly using my car. Clients where I needed to arrive smart and non-sweaty in order to go straight to a meeting or a desk, and where there was no opportunity to change or shower. It was these that lead me to accepting an opportunity to try out an electric bike for a few days. I borrowed a Roo Dog Tourer At £899 to purchase, this is as the lower end of the range and running costs are just 4p for a full charge which is good for up to 35 miles. 
 
 These are my thoughts:- 
 There are lots of things to think about. This particular model requires your standard gear change as well as selection of the level of assistance, and there is a throttle for standing / hill starts. At first this seemed a lot to get used to but it soon became fairly second nature. The battery was easy to remove and charge over night or during a meeting to top it up where required. I found the lights that are fixed to the bike and operated on the handle bars with one button quite exciting after years of fiddly removable bike lights on my road bike! 
I was aware that I was enjoying all the freedom of being on two wheels without the requirements for a high level of fitness. I felt excited about the opportunities this opens up for those new to cycling to get out there and be able to take part. I could also see it being perfect for couples / families cycling where one is less competent and so would choose not to cycle together for fear of holding the other(s) back. 
The first time I road it I was in my cycle gear but on later journeys I was in jeans, trainers, a sweatshirt and a coat. No need to change in and out of any special gear. Your core temperature doesn’t really change and so no need for sweat-wicking fabrics or ventilation. Just hop on and go! 
I didn’t sweat! No, not one bit. I cycled up and down Bristol’s hills and arrived at my destination looking and feeling no different – apart from a slight case of helmet hair, which is easily rectified with a brush! I could easily cycle into the clients I was driving to and arrive fresh and ready to start my day. If a little bit more of a workout is appropriate then the option is there, but I chose to use the bike’s power rather than my own to see if I could reduce the need for the shower on arrival. Definitely easy to do. 
A few people commented to me on electric bikes, when talking about them prior to having a go, being heavy. Yes the physical bike is a lot heavier than a normal bike but when you are cycling it this isn’t something that you notice. The support from the battery means that you swoop and sail along as if on a MUCH lighter bike. The only time the weight of it was noticeable was manoeuvring it in and out of the garage but only in that it was heavier than my road bike, not that it was too much of a struggle. 
I was in my own twilight land of vehicle-user! To cars I was most definitely a cyclist, yet in the world of cyclists I was now very different. The lycra-clad racers who’d usually give me a nod and a smile now kept their head down or looked the other way! Hey, we’re all taking two wheels, let’s be friends! 
 
To sum up I thought the experience was great. The more Bristol turns itself away from the car, especially the commuter driver, and embraces the bicycle, the more interest electric bikes are going to have. Without doubt, I proved to myself that with an electric bike, the work-based journeys I do around the city that I would not take my road bike for, I would happily do on an electric bike. The bike-geek in my found myself wanting a higher spec than the borrowed one and on returning the bike I took a Bosch for a spin. Alastair is an expert in talking through the differences and the spec but most of all his excitement for the bikes is infectious. If you’re reading this and wondering just what they’d be like, drop in. He is perfectly situated for giving a bike a go. Take on Park Street and let me know how long it takes you to wipe the smile off your face after. 
 
Paula White 
The White Approach 
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