This month's Star Letter

This month’s Star Letter is from a mountain biker in Northern Ireland who is currently being short changed by the e-bike vehicle classification over there.

Legalise e-bikes now!

I’ve been mountain biking for 20 years, always with more enthusiasm than skill. As the years pile up priorities change and now rather than a quick lap of the local trail centre I can be found sitting at my kids’ swimming lessons or football practice. I was never the fittest of my friends but could usually bring up the rear of the group. As time went by, they got fitter and I got fatter, I found myself being the reason the group got cold waiting at the top of any climbs. I started to make excuses for not getting out.

My Cube Stereo E-bike was a massive investment, but it has reignited my love for mountain biking. I will admit I got a bit choked up the first time I took it out and could whoop and scream along with my mates as we sped along the trails. It is cheating every bit as much as an uplift, but to me being on a mountain bike is for the fun of it, not the work or endurance. It puts a smile on my face every time I get on it and to me that is what my bikes are for.

Now imagine the heartbreak caused by the fact that as I live in Northern Ireland it is illegal for me to use my bike as it is classed as a motor vehicle. I can’t use it on the roads without a valid motorbike licence, insurance, registration with DVLA, headlights, indicators and a licence plate. Each if which is difficult if not impossible to achieve. And then if somehow I manage all of that, the question is whether or not I can legally use my ‘motor vehicle’ on the trails. What makes it worse is that it is only illegal as my local politicians intended to update the law on Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles to bring it into line with the rest of the UK, but just never got round to it.

There are plenty of questions and few people stepping forward to offer any answers. And in the mean time owners like me are paying off their credit card bills for a bike that can’t leave the garage.

– Andy McQueen

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All Star Letter correspondents win a Madison Zenith waterproof jacket worth £99.99.