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PHOTO CAPTION: Telegraph columnist Alexei Sayler goes for spin on electric-assist bicycle.

Why E-Bikes Have Me 'Buzzing'

Telegraph columnist Alexei Sayler discovers the benefits of an electric-assist bicycle.

Published: 03-Feb-2014

In my second year as a student in London I lived in a horrible flat within a condemned house in a district known as North Kensington – basically the Gaza Strip of Notting Hill Gate. In that same year I acquired my first bicycle as an adult, a black steel machine with a single gear. I loved the freedom a bike gave me, allowing me to time to the second how late I was going to be for lectures.

When I wasn’t using my bike it was parked in the hall. The apartment upstairs was occupied by an alcoholic called Mrs Cocker, and one evening I heard a thump and emerged from my flat to find her lying drunk at the foot of the stairs. She blearily looked up and said, “What is this place you’ve brought me to, Roger? There’s bicycles in the hall.” From then on, when I was in some frightening or mystifying place I would often find myself thinking: “What is this place you’ve brought me to, Roger?”

I hadn’t revisited the area for years and now I find in some ways North Kensington has not changed at all and in others it is transformed. For instance, at the end of my old street there is now a shop called JustEbikes, which sells electric bicycles. You could see this as being very modern but, on the other hand, the area was always, from the earliest days, home to businesses trying to save the planet.

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