Changing your mode of transport to something more planet friendly can be daunting. Increasing our families ability to travel on two wheels rather than four has been made much easier through the expertise of a small local business. If you are looking to invest in a bike in the near future, I would highly recommend finding a friendly local bike shop to help make an easy eco swap less daunting and more enjoyable.

Here at Mossy Life we are a semi-typical two car family. We always have been and until recent years thought we always would be. But with temperatures and fuel prices rising, and the planet needing our care even more than ever, we have started to re-evaluate what we actually need our cars for.

On top of this, since having our two young children we are both completely unfit and in need of a wellbeing shake up. We are lucky enough to be in the position where one of our old cars will be swapped out in the next year to an electric vehicle. But we will still be relying on a large fuel guzzling vehicle for even relatively short trips to town.

Living in Telford there are walking and cycling routes in abundance (and more on route too!). You can get virtually anywhere by hopping on and off the Silkin Way and other tarmac routes. But to walk anywhere, especially with baby and toddler in tow, takes a long time. Equally with the number of hills near us and the thought of dragging a toddler trailer behind us, a standard bike is just too much for us right now.

So with health in mind, and a want to get out and about without a car, we started looking at e-bikes. The idea would be to enable us to get out easily in a way that was both useful and enjoyable. Helping our mental and physical wellbeing and reducing the reliance on using a car all the time.

For those of you who have not come across e-bikes yet, they come in a range of styles from mountain bikes to full road bikes and hybrids that sit in the middle. They are not an electric powered bike in the sense of a moped, but they essentially assist the rider. The more power you put in with your legs, the more power the bike puts in from the motor. After successfully doing a 20 mile bike ride as a trial on some of our families e-bikes we were hooked.

After doing some research (OK a lot of research) my husband and I were drawn to different bikes for different reasons. He loves a bit more adventure and the ability to have some off road trail fun, so mountain bike with full suspension was his ideal choice. Whilst I was looking for comfort and an upright riding position with an easy to get on and off frame.

Hybrid ‘sit-up’ style bikes like the blue Kalkhoff in this picture, are great for road and a little bit of rougher terrain. Whilst mountain bikes such as my husband’s red Trek, really show their worth off-roading.

Sifting through all the information available was daunting for me. It was time to visit the experts. My husband knew the make he was keen on so headed straight over to the Trek store on Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury, where as I headed for Dave Mellor Cycles, a well-known stockist in Frankwell, Shrewsbury; known for their friendly welcome and expert knowledge in a wide range of makes. I wanted the ability to look at a range of styles, makes and models and they didn’t disappoint.

Entering the store with baby buggy and my mum (thank you) in tow, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a warm welcome from the staff (I did wonder if they would be worried about me knocking over their bikes with an unruly buggy!).

They asked lots of questions and talked me through the benefits of various makes and models that may suit my needs. One of the bikes that was suggested, and I sat on in the shop (and loved). hadn’t yet had all it’s pre-sales checks so I was disappointed to not take it for a spin. But before I could even show my disappointment, the lovely Russell behind the till offered his own bike. It was virtually identical to the one I was interested in and he was happy for me to take it for a test up the nearby hill to see how I felt with it.

The next day I returned with the hope that my dream bike was still in store (yey, it was!) and left with a much lower bank balance. However, Dave Mellor Cycles provided me with my ideal bike at the best price around by far. The team then helped advise on helmet, gloves and lock, and even delivered everything free of charge the next day.

Since having the bikes, my husband and I have been able to get out and about without being daunted about going too far or worried about how we get back if we are completely out of puff. The bikes have helped us get active and enjoy more of the beautiful county we live in. Even simple tasks like going to the shop around the corner have become easy to do without the need of a car.

This is me. Makeup free and rather warm in 30*C summer temperatures, but loving being outside and exploring without the need for a car.

They have also caused some strange looks from passers by! When taking some photos for this article, my husband insisted on getting some beautiful arty shots of the bike, that involved lying on the floor in the middle of a field. So of course, I had to include one of him too.

Helpful hubby taking some photos of my proud new bike

Yes, a non e-bike would be even better to the environment and increase our fitness further still. But realistically would I go out on one every day without the backup of the electric assist? No. At the moment with my fitness levels and lack of time, I wouldn’t. If our bikes enable us to enjoy the great outdoors and reduce our reliance on motor vehicles, then I think that is a great start.

I am confident we will be enjoying our bikes for many years to come and look forward to reducing our fuel emissions and getting back to a healthy state of mind and body that our family deserves.

What mode of transport do you use every day or every week? Could you go from 4 wheels to 2? If you do look at getting a bike, I would highly recommend going to a local bike shop where you can talk to the experts. It made my decision a lot easier and the whole process more enjoyable.

Quick stop outside of the Bike Hub in Telford Town Park on our latest mini adventure

If you are unsure about getting a bike, you can also hire them at various locations such as Telford Bike Hub in the Telford Town Park. A great way to test getting back in the saddle before making an investment. Many local bike repair shops also offer refurbished models too, so there is something to suit most budgets.

Some useful local cycling links:

Dave Mellor Cycles – Friendly bike shop with wide range of makes and models to suit all. Frankwell, Shrewsbury.

Draft Cycles – Local independant bike repair business. Minsterley, Shrewsbury

Saturday Cycles – Cycle Repair Shop within the heart of the market town. Wellington, Telford and Wrekin.

Shropshire Council Cycling page – Cycle routes, tips and other useful info.

Shropshire Cycle Hub – A community charity focused on improving access to healthy sustainable transport across Shropshire.

Telford Bike Hub – Affordable bike hire in the center of Telford Town Park.

Telford and Wrekin Council Cycling page – Links to activities, cycling routes, training and upcoming cycling and walking strategies.

Trek Shrewsbury – All things Trek and Bontrager. At the bottom of Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury.

Do you already have a bike or an e-bike? We would love to explore more of Shropshire, please share your favourite cycle routes and bike shops with us on facebook!

NB: This article is a true representation of my individual e-bike choice, bike shop experience and bike. It is not sponsored by either Kalkhoff or Trek bike manufacturers. If you are buying a bike, please do your own research and speak to the experts to help you decide what make and model suits your needs.

Caroline Talbot
Author: Caroline Talbot