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Most of the time, people ignore my efforts, especially family. I don’t think this is an unusual situation, and it is one that I have become quite used to; nowadays I actually quite enjoy being an unseen and unsung force for the common good, whether it’s doing the washing-up in the morning before I’ve made myself a bowl of porridge, or lifting boxes of university materials up and down from the loft every few months. My wife, of course, perceives her experience in exactly similar terms, and so do my two children — both now young adults.

I mention this only to remark on my delight that, since buying the e-bike, my whole family has got the biking bug.

I don’t think anything I have done in the last quarter of a century has had such a benign impact on family life.

The e-bike has been influential in a quiet and effective way and everyone acknowledges that it was me who set the pace. I feel rather heroic. Certainly this kind of recognition is unprecedented.

The childrens’ bikes had been out of action in the shed for the last 5-6 years, and even before that, they were used fairly infrequently. When we came to examine them during the Lockdown, both had flat tires, rusting chains and brakes that looked like a wiring diagram for an electric chair. Luckily, a kind neighbour with a deep knowledge of the Art of Bicycle maintenance managed to salvage one of them shortly before we left for France on holiday.

On a hot Saturday afternoon, my daughter headed off to the beach with a friend on the newly renovated bicycle. She has not looked back. Shortly after I got the e-bike, she signed me up on the Strava App. And now she has headed back to Birmingham to start her MA course, with the bike in tow.

My son will head back to Oxford next week, and will also be taking a bike with him; probably the the fixie that I bought from my friend Jorge in the early summer during the lockdown.

Given that Jenny is also up and running on wheels (see my earlier entry) we have moved within the space of two months from being a no-bike family to one where all of us are easywheeling, In our household, it often takes that long to change a lightbulb, or to complete some minor DIY operation!

We have already started discussing whether we will need a second e-bike to get us through the looming Winter of Discontent.

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