Buyers GuidesElectric bike rentals and holidays

Electric bikes come to Henley

The latest Electric Bicycle Network project encourages more people to cycle in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.

Funded by the Cycle Chilterns project, the latest Electric Bike Network aims to encourage more residents and visitors to cycle in the area. Sara Randle, Senior Development Officer for the Cycle Chilterns project, said “Electric bikes make light work of hills. They are ideal for those who don’t feel fit or confident enough to tackle a hilly route through leg-power alone, and it opens up cycling to a much wider audience. The Chilterns has so much to offer and we want to promote it as a place that’s easy to get to and to enjoy without a car”.

Henley and the surrounding countryside is already a popular tourist destination and there is a strong network of businesses there to support this new initiative. Three businesses have already signed up as hire points, two in Henley-on-Thames (Henley Cycles and Swiss Farm Camping) and one in the nearby Hambleden Valley (the Chiltern Valley Winery). Swiss Farm Camping will also have some kids’ trailers and tag-a-long bicycles available for families. There will be charge points in cafes and pubs in the area and a free emergency pick-up service if needed.

David Ealand proprietor of Chiltern Valley Winery & Brewery, who hosted yesterday’s launch, explained why he is keen to take part. “The bikes should offer an interesting addition to the Tour and Tasting experience at the winery and brewery, already offering farmhouse B&B on site and now the chance to explore the locality on these brilliant bikes.”

The Electric Bike Network told Pedelecs that “a visitor with their own electric bike should also be able to use charge points in EBN’s networks, provided some sort of contribution to the charge point’s business is made – e.g. in a charge point cafe, a drink or some food is purchased – although ultimately it is at the charge point’s discretion” so it is worth checking ahead.

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The Chilterns takes in the finest countryside in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, with highlights including market towns and villages, country pubs and National Trust properties. It is also home to the 173-mile Chilterns Cycleway, which loops the area. The Cycle Chilterns project has funding from the Department for Transport and the ongoing aims of the project are to ‘encourage visitors to cycle as part of their holiday through better access to bike hire, increasing knowledge of cycle-friendly accommodation and facilities, and by improving and marketing local the cycle routes.’