For Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the Tour de France and ambassador of the Look brand, the electric-assisted bicycle is a good choice. It allows those who had abandoned the two-wheelers to come back to this habit.
The French bicycle brand Look is based in Nevers (Nièvre). It has made Bernard Hinault, 64, its ambassador for the range of electric bicycles. And the five-time winner of the Tour de France does not look at these machines with disbelief. On the contrary, he thinks that “it is a revolution that is developing and it is good for cycling”.
Do you use an e-bike yourself?
BERNARD HINAULT. Not at the moment. For the moment, I am still comfortable with my traditional bike. But maybe tomorrow I’ll need one. My son, who runs a bicycle shop, is constantly being asked by people who want to buy electric bikes or try them out. The demand exists and it will only increase.
Who do you think electric bikes are for?
BERNARD HINAULT. We must think of all those who can no longer ride a bike. I think of the elderly, those who are no longer able to climb steep hills (can e-bikes climb steep hills? read in this post) and run out of breath. As a result, they leave their bikes in the garage and do not use them anymore.
The electric bike helps extend the pleasure of biking. With assistance, long valleys and bumps on the road do not pose problems any longer. More families will be able to get together on their e-biking family outings.
And this is not a temporary hype?
BERNARD HINAULT. It’s more than a fashion. It’s really awesome! It allows people to get back to their active lifestyle and do things together again. One of the advantages of an e-bike is that it helps to keep a very sporty appearance. It is bound to seduce those who used to ride traditional bikes.
An e-bike is not just a traditional bike with a huge battery on top. In modern models, all elements are integrated and the weight remains reasonable. Around 13 kg for some of the lighter models (are e-bikes heavy? read in my other post).
This revolution is good for cycling. It allows you to take pleasure and get in shape (does e-bike help to get fit? here is my post that could help). There is no opposition to the conventional bike, so anyone can find own pleasure as one sees fit.
Does e-bike become a symbol of the future of mobility?
New bike paths, new rules redesigning the urban landscape, invasion of companies offering self-service e-transportation – is the electric bike becoming a symbol of the future of our mobility?
According to the “Observatoire du Cycle”, there were nearly three million bicycles sold in France in 2017. Thus, composing a market of 1.278 billion euros. “In the last few years, cycling has become years the new symbol that is shifting our view of an ideal society. Less pollution, more ecology, fewer cars, cleaner transport. It also makes society more frugal. Major cities like Paris have passed this stage some time ago,” says economist and planner Frédéric Héran, author of “The Return of the bicycle. A history of urban travel in Europe, from 1817 to 2050”.
255,000 electric bikes sold in France in 2017
Winners of this growing business, the electric bicycles, which were selling like hotcakes in 2017. 255,000 e-bikes were sold on the market in 2017. This was an incredible boost, as only 46,000 e-bikes were sold in 2012 and 102,000 in 2015, according to the Union Sport & Cycle. And the cherry on the cake? The average price of an electric bike was 1,564 €, making it a vehicle in its own right and “sometimes even an alternative to a second car”. “Electric bikes attract motorists, who account for almost half of the users, while the classic bike attracts more pedestrians and users of public transport,” says Frédéric Héran.
A bike is already a symbol of going where you want, when and how you want. Now the electric version pushes the current limits of mobility event further. It pushes social inclusion and invites to dream larger dreams. This is true even for rural areas where only 22% of the population says that they are willing to choose between several modes of transport (according to a study of the Observatory of Emerging Mobilities realized by ObSoCo and Chronos). And this finishes the debate over cheaper petrol, revisions and technical checks required for every car. In short, welcome to savings.
E-bikes invite to