If you've been thinking of getting an ebike, but aren't quite convinced electric riding is right for you, Halfords has a great offer that could be right up your street. Normally, to get an extended test ride of a new ebike for free you need to be a tech writer or a thief. Now, however, Halfords will pack you off on a 6-hour road trip to find out just how much fun ebikes can be.
Halfords stocks some of the best electric bikes you'll find at lower prices, and at 237 stores around the UK you can now try one out on a picturesque, autumnal tour around your local area. The maps have been put together by Komoot, which is sort of like the Google Maps of cycle trips, both on- and off-road.
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The idea is that Komoot provides the route, Halfords provides an ebike, and you then set off, following a 'bespoke map' that takes you around local places of interest for up to six hours.
Halfords says: 'The exciting new routes will encourage customers to get out and explore with ease using an e-bike, helping to reconnect with nature. From the calm waters of the Norfolk Broads to the picturesque glens in Scotland, families and couples can discover the exclusive routes with Halfords e-bikes for the day.'
All you have to do is enter your postcode into the brand's Ebike Trial Finder, and choose a local store, a date that suits you, and pick which ebike you want to test out. For instance, my local branch offered a choice of a mountain ebike, a hybrid and a folding city bike, all from Halfords' own Carrera range, not surprisingly. The Komoot maps include details of the terrain, which could influence what type of ebike you opt for.
On the day you will need to bring along 2 forms of ID and a deposit – this is set, for some obscure reason, at precisely £101. This is refunded in full so long as you return the ebike in one piece, and not too mucky. Please note that Halfords does not throw in a helmet. Presumably it will be happy to sell you one, though, if you don't own one already.
The routes are anything up to 39 miles long, but of course the whole point of electric bikes is that less effort is required to get from A to B. As a result you can be more relaxed, and take in the scenery. The idea of going from the Old Kent Road – my most local branch – to Hampton Court and back would fill me with trepidation, normally. However on an ebike, it's a fun day out! Other than the Old Kent Road bit.
Halfords ebike tours: the routes
South East of England
'From the calm waters of the Norfolk Broads to the lapping waves of the Suffolk Coast, the verdant orchards of Kent Downs to Brighton’s music-filled streets, crumbling Roman strongholds, and London’s iconic sights – the South East of England offers limitless opportunities for exploration.'
'From picturesque lakesides to breathtaking Peak District escarpments, wild Pennine roads to calm canal towpaths, market-filled streets to wildlife-rich nature reserves – Central England offers endless opportunities for exploration. On an e-bike, your horizons become even bigger, especially with these favourite routes.'
Northern England and Scotland
'With wild mountains, picturesque glens and a rugged coastline, Scotland’s landscapes have been loved for generations. This Collection discovers some of Scotland and the North of England’s beloved mountains, hills, lakes and seafronts. You discover ancient landscapes and historic cities where battles and legends played out – all from the comfort of an e-bike.'