The CEO of Brompton, the UK's foremost folding bike manufacturer, says that we're set to see a 'mega transformation' of the bicycle in the immediate future, with the rise of e-bikes at the forefront of this transformation.
Speaking to Cycling Industry News after an All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group meeting, Butler-Adams said that e-bikes will play a crucial part in getting more people cycling: “All these things are colliding; our awareness of our own mental and physical health, the fact we have an urbanised society and we’re all living in cities and so on.
“We came up with this mad idea of using a giant metal box to get us across the city, but we can’t do that because it’s too busy. So, we stuff ourselves underground into metal tubes where it’s dark and the air sucks. Now, we’re suddenly thinking, ‘this doesn’t make sense, it’s not making us happy.'
“Here’s the bicycle reinvented in the form of an e-bike which is so delightful that it will deliver health and it will deliver a better environment for us to live with our families in cities. We just need our government to get a bit of a move on and stop being so slow to encourage it because the evidence is there, we don’t even have to guess at it; just go to Northern Europe and it’s there for all to see.”
Butler-Adams also suggested that bike brands and active travel advocates need to look beyond the cycling community and engage with those who don't consider themselves to be cyclists:
“We know the Government can affect the habits of the nation, particularly in the early stages. Once it’s embedded, and once it’s normalised then that support isn’t needed. So you’re looking at a three to five year focused investment from government in terms of communication, subsidy, such as the Cycle to Work scheme, although not everybody is covered by that."
On the £1,000 cap being lifted on Cycle to Work schemes so e-bikes can now be purchased on them, Butler-Adams said change is happening but "not fast enough."
You can listen to the full Cycling Industry News interview with Butler-Adams on their podcast episode here, which also features Chris Boardman, Will Norman and Ruth Cadbury MP.