Nikki and Lorraine's Isle of Wight adventure (featuring Mark2 Electric Bikes!)
In July 2022, friends Nikki and Lorraine set off to tour around the Isle of Wight on their Mark2 ebikes. The following series of blogs details the exciting story of their adventure, as told by Nikki.
Part One: “Let’s go on an adventure!”
“Let’s go on an adventure!” Lorraine was very excited with her new ebike, a Mark2 step-through X-Cross 450, and thought we should test the bikes – and ourselves – by doing something other than our usual sedate ramble around our local Wiltshire country lanes.
I bought my Mark2 X-Cross eBike back in 2019 as part of my commitment to do what I can to help the environment by replacing short car journeys where possible. Also, creeping middle-aged spread was stubbornly refusing to shift.
Living on the edge of Salisbury Plain, I am lucky to be able to choose from several great local cycle routes, but some of the hills were too much for my traditional ‘sit up and beg’ push bike that had been languishing sadly in the garage for years – I definitely needed that extra power to give me no excuse not to go out!
Lorraine and I had become friends through our local book club (the sort of book club that should be sponsored by Pinot Grigio).
She had been tempted to try an eBike for some time, and after borrowing mine for a few days, she was hooked!
She decided to go for the popular step-through version, and once it arrived she fell in love with it straightaway. Having joined a charity walk of the Great Wall of China together a few years previously, we knew we were good at adventures, so decided that we, and our bikes, needed another one!
Planning our adventure
We wanted to have a sense of achievement, so decided to ride around the Isle of Wight.
We ordered some maps of the Isle of Wight on Amazon, set a planning meeting, put the kettle on and with the help of Google (and cake) we worked out where we wanted to go, where we wanted to stay and how long we would take.
We booked ferries, pubs and hotels – checking with all of them that our beloved bikes would be safe.
We decided that three days would be a sensible timeframe, only to have the wind knocked out of our sails somewhat by finding out that my partner’s daughter did it in under 5 hours on a standard push bike.
Still, we were spurred on by the next stage – shopping!
Finding the right equipment and eBike accessories
Panniers were bought and suitably neon cycling lycra items purchased.
We were told that ‘Chamois cream’ would be useful to protect delicate anatomy, as were extremely unflattering shorts with built-in padding (I think baboon pants was mentioned).
At a car boot sale I found an insulated little picnic bag that fitted on to my front handlebars which was the perfect size for two small bottles of Prosecco, and this made me very happy.
Lorraine decided to go a bit more down the sensible route, and we soon had bright flashing lights to fit to our rear frames (in case cars missed all that neon lycra….).
Preparing our eBikes for the journey
As I’d been riding my eBike for a couple of years, I popped down to Andover so that the lovely John at Mark2 eBikes could check my X-Cross over and give it a well-deserved service.
I particularly wanted my bell to ‘ping’ a little louder, and I’m happy to say that he worked his magic and my bell now pings beautifully!
The gear changes were also much improved, and it was great to know that once we set off there wouldn’t be anything mechanical to worry about (or so I thought…)
I checked I could get all my gear into the panniers, and had a test ride of the bike with it ‘fully loaded’ – it rode perfectly, once I’d got my balance right!
Lorraine and I had planned to have a test load of the bikes into the rear of her Volvo (we didn’t have bike carriers sturdy enough for our precious bikes) in the weeks leading up to our adventure, but life caught up with us and so we found ourselves having to do the test the evening before we left.
There was a slight panic when we couldn’t release Lorraine’s battery (this was essential as we were planning to recharge our batteries in our hotel rooms at night – we were pretty convinced that hotels don’t allow you to drag bikes upstairs and into bedrooms).
However, we followed the advice in the manual on giving stubborn batteries a sharp tap, and it duly popped out.
That was a relief!
We also had to get our bike tool kits out, to remove the pedals and release the handlebars so the bikes would lie flat. This was really easy to do, and with a bit of careful padding between the bikes we managed to get them both tucked safely into the back of the car.
Phew – we were ready!
Please click here to read part 2 of Nikki and Lorraine’s Isle Of Wight adventure.
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