Ray Wookey, founder of e-bike specialist retailer Cycling Made Easy has spoken on his dismay at having been informed by the British Heart Foundation that electric bikes are no longer welcomed on its charity fundraisers.
A former fundraiser for the charity himself, Wookey said receipt of the email left him reeling, writing on his store’s blog:
“The BHF are effectively saying to thousands of people – who would not otherwise be on bicycles – that they don’t want their support. That includes me as a former fundraiser, and also our customers who alerted me to the fact that they were not allowed on the London to Brighton ride.
“My feeling is that the BHF are sitting on the wrong side of history. Their stance perpetuates a tired myth that pedelecs are fast and dangerous; that pedelecs are ‘mopeds’. They are not. Meanwhile, a growing community of pedelec riders will want to participate in charity events.
“There is something that I agree with the BHF on: more people should get cycling. However you simply won’t get more people cycling by forcing pedelec riders to the sidelines.
“Pedelec riders are very often people who have not cycled in decades. They’ve made the psychological and financial leap to get on two-wheels. Surely we need to reward their courage, to encourage them to expand their cycling and to welcome them back into the cycling community. We don’t need to sneer at them and block them from joining in. It’s that attitude that stops people from cycling in the first place.”
Wookey has now started a petition calling on the charity to recognise electric bicycles for what there are legally classed as – bicycles. You can sign here.
The MCIA and Bicycle Association GB have outlined the legal definitions of what is a bicycle and what’s not, with the pair warning retailers and consumers alike to be aware of the law or risk derailing the sector’s progress.