How electric bikes gave me quality time with my teens

Kate Morris and her kids prepare for a sweat-free electrically assisted bike ride through London
Wheel benefits: Kate Morris and her kids prepare for an electrically-assisted bike ride in London

City cycling can be a pain but the Carrera Vengeance E, in grown-up and junior versions, makes it easy for families to get out on the road

My husband is an enthusiastic cyclist. He enjoys the exercise, the speed of getting from A to B, avoiding traffic jams and the smug knowledge that riding a bike is better for the environment than driving a car.

A few years ago he gave me a secondhand bike, hoping that I too would become a keen cyclist. I really did try to ride around my neighbourhood, but I found pedalling through London exhausting. I moaned that the bike was past its sell-by-date rather than face the truth that perhaps I was unfit.

We charged the electric bikes by simply plugging them in to our sockets and the next morning, we were ready to go

Neither of my teens are currently bikers, but with the recent closure of Hammersmith Bridge – and no fixed date to reopen it – my 15 year-old daughter can no longer hop on the bus that takes her across the Thames to the stop right outside her school.

She now walks from Hammersmith Bridge carrying a heavy rucksack filled with text books. I offered to buy her a bike but she said it would make her sweaty.

My son had his bike stolen a year ago, then bought another cheap one that fell to bits and now takes London Transport.

So when we were offered three e-bikes to trial, I immediately said yes. When they arrived, my son took his and e-biked a few miles to see some friends. He said the trip was fun and easy.

He is just 18 and we don’t often do things together as a family. We seem to lead quite separate lives, but with the arrival of the e-bikes, we planned an unusual family trip to the river on a Sunday morning to go and have coffee and breakfast in a riverside café.

We charged the e-bikes by plugging them in to our wall sockets at home, and the next morning we were ready to go. When the pedals are pushed the bike immediately slides into electric mode and the surge of power is really exciting.

We cycled in a row along the street and then through our local park. We left the paved area and even sped across the grass completely effortlessly, whooping and laughing.

The real test of how great it was to have an electric bike was when we went into the underpass beneath the A4 and I was able to glide up the long slope rather than dismount and push or huff and puff on the pedals. It was fantastic.

We stopped at a café on tow path and ordered coffee, cakes, hot chocolate and a turmeric latte. We felt that we deserved our breakfast after our e-bike ride, even though it had only taken us about 12 minutes to cycle from our house. It would be a 40-minute walk or a 20-minute drive and 30 minutes by public transport.

It would be great to keep the e-bikes and use them for outings such as these – it feels so much more wholesome that going to the cinema together or out for a pizza.

The e-bikes are easy to handle, and it’s simple to switch between gears and different modes. I really enjoyed speeding home again on my e-bike rather than walking or getting into the car and tackling the traffic.

My daughter says the e-bike glides along so easily that she could even arrive at school sweat-free.

Rediscover the joy of cycling

Why not put an e-bike through its paces with a free 48-hour trial. Simply book a quick phone call with one of 34 participating stores so an expert can find the best bike for you to test ride.

If you don't need a full 48 hours, all Halfords stores offer a free 30-minute trial too, so simply pop into store when you're ready to give one a go.

E-bikes are available from Halfords on 12 months' interest-free credit (T&Cs apply). Other finance options are available.

Find out more about Halfords’ e-bikes.