Cycling campaigners are encouraging people to try an electric bike in an attempt to disprove the myth they are just for the “lazy”.
Every year, charities Outfit Moray and Elgin Youth Cafe host an event to get more riders in the saddle on electric bikes.
Organised rides were led by instructors to build confidence, while all sorts of bicycles were available to try and children learned how pedal power can be used to make smoothies.
‘Cycling is no longer just cycling’
Electric bikes are now available to hire from locations across Moray in an attempt to encourage more to use the technology.
Campaigns are under way across the country to encourage more to use pedal power – whether it is to enjoy the great outdoors, get to school or commute to work.
And charity Outfit Moray hopes using events like this month’s Elgin Bike Fest will destroy myths that have developed around electric bikes.
Outdoor instructor Anna Bailey said: “The big thing for us is to make people aware of the different types of cycling that’s available – there’s e-bikes and so much more.
“Cycling isn’t just cycling anymore, there’s so much more and so much available regardless of age or ability.
“E-bikes open doors for so many people, they reduce barriers to cycling.
“There’s a stigma that e-bikes are just for lazy people but they reduce barriers for anybody and everybody – they can help you go further on your own.”
‘The wobbly cyclist’
Outfit Moray fundraiser Karen Cox suffers from a medical condition that means she is unable to walk anything other than short distances – let alone cycle.
However, the Lossiemouth resident has set herself the goal of reaching one of the region’s highest peaks.
The mum-of-three, who calls herself the “wobbly cyclist”, is aiming to reach the summit of Ben Rinnes on her electric bike while encouraging others in Moray to do the same.
And her campaigning for more access to cycling has led to her being named as one of Cycling UK’s 100 women in cycling in 2021.
She said: “I tried an e-bike for the first time in March last year.
“I can’t walk far, I don’t have the power in my legs to put through the pedals to get myself moving forward, there’s too much resistance for me.
“The extra help from the e-bike though makes a huge difference for me, I just need that extra bit of help.
“If it was not for the e-bike then I know I wouldn’t be cycling but I use it a lot now, I go to the shops with it.
“It’s literally life-changing for so many people and we want to encourage families to have healthy lifestyles.”
What else is there other than electric bikes?
The annual Elgin Bike Fest aims to showcase the variety of pedal power available on the market.
From electric bikes to hand-cycles and tricycles with a bucket seat instead of a saddle for more comfort.
Bike doctors have also been sharing tips on how to maintain tyres, chains and everything else to help cyclists save money by repairing their own instead of buying new.
Elgin Youth Cafe were also demonstrating to youngsters the power of pedals can also be harnessed to make smoothies through blenders attached to bicycles.
Health promoting youth worker Donna Breen said: “We want to show young people that cycling, and staying healthy in general, can also be delicious and fun.
“The smoothie bikes show them that they’re using energy when they pedal and that can be used by the blenders, but then also needs replaced by them having the smoothie.”