The other Alex on here (alexoldman) has very kindly asked me to contribute here. I am a 38 year old young(ish) man living in Ipswich, who has been a regular commuter cyclist since 2001, who does not currently drive/own a car.
I am relatively new to East Anglia – being brought up in London/SE England.
I always enjoyed cycling as a child, and got reintroduced to it in 2001, in some curious circumstances. I was built a bicycle in payment for wiring up a group of impoverished friends’ electric cooker!
I then lived in Reading (4o miles west of London). Economic and global political events in the subsequent years served as a slow awakening to myself about being wary about overdependence on oil and larger motor vehicles, and choosing stability over hedonism in my life (I was also then enthusiastically involved in the electronic dance music scene, and still occasionally party).
Then economic decline in SE England from 2001 to 2005 led to my current job being downsized, but a job opportunity in Ipswich brought me to East Anglia in 2006. A positive move – there is less traffic than in SE England and not as many bad drivers. However, East Anglia is big – and not entirely devoid of hills!
I purchased a Raleigh Hybrid in ’06 and didn’t mind the 7 mile commute on it from Ipswich to Mid Suffolk (where I work) – but when I learned in 2008 that electric bikes had matured to the point where they no longer looked like an old clunker of a shopping bike more suited for Nan and Grandad (e-bikes are already popular with the older generations), my interest in technology encouraged me to try the newer models out.
I now own two, (and still don’t own a car and am in no hurry to get one!) and would encourage everyone to at least try an e-bike. They have become affordable, more reliable and better looking (more like your traditional MTB or hybrid). Whilst of course unpowered cycling is just as fun, the extra assistance can stop a daily commute becoming a chore, even if you are tired or there is bad weather (you get away from it faster).