Why this business is at the forefront of Norfolk's e-cycling revolution
- Credit: Archant
A Dereham firm has adapted its shop space to cope with increasing demand for electric cycling.
Pauls Cycles, off Yaxham Road, has opened a dedicated 'e-Bike Centre', showcasing some of the finest products on the market.
While e-bikes have taken off in Europe in recent years, the UK remains slightly behind the curve.
However, their popularity on British shores is rising dramatically, as people look to reduce their carbon footprint, improve fitness and embrace the great outdoors.
Pauls Cycles has been selling e-bikes for five years, but managing director Tom Thornley revealed demand had skyrocketed since the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: "We got to a point where we had so many customers asking to see e-bikes that we decided to create an e-bike centre, so they can go straight in and see everything we have to offer.
"This trend has been a real explosion. In Europe you are looking at 50pc of sales being e-bikes, whereas in the UK it's more like 20pc.
- 1 Heatwave parks steam engines and closes routes for railway
- 2 Townsfolk and firefighters join forces to battle blaze at moor
- 3 Teddy, set, go! Windmill set to host popular zip wire event
- 4 Product sold at Tesco recalled due to risk of disease-causing bacteria
- 5 Covid vaccination centre to shut within a month of opening
- 6 Where you will be able to see the Red Arrows over Norfolk today
- 7 Norfolk Restaurant Week returning for 2022 with discounts across county
- 8 Revealed: Some of the places you are most likely to spot ghosts in Norfolk
- 9 Couple fined after string of thefts at Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores
- 10 Cyclist celebrates 70th birthday by pedalling to 70 churches
"There's still a long way to go but, if we can get the product in and raise awareness, we think this is a really exciting market."
E-bikes work using battery-powered assistance, meaning users must simply pedal lightly to engage a small motor which gives them a boost.
They are flying out the door at Paul Cycles, with around 30 being sold every week during the peak season.
At times, Mr Thornley said, a significant majority of customers coming into the store were looking specifically for electric bike products.
"The most exciting thing for me is the number of non-cyclists entering the market," he added.
"It's a really accessible way into cycling as a leisure pursuit. And, because of the cost of living, a number of consumers are moving away from using their cars, but still need speed and reliability to get to work."
George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, visited the new e-bike centre last week and was enthusiastic about the growing enthusiasm for cycling as a whole.
"Cycling is really taking off, partly due to the pandemic and partly families thinking it is much healthier and often much quicker.
"More and more people are cycling and I think we've got a particular opportunity to utilise that here in Norfolk."