A boyfriend once took me to see a rally for owners of Honda Goldwing motorcycles. We went our separate ways soon afterwards, it having become readily apparent that there was a yawning chasm between our respective notions of what constituted a good time.
As I looked around that gathering of vast, plush, sofas on wheels, I remember wondering what would possess someone to buy one of these machines when they so clearly would have preferred a saloon car. There was even - I kid you not - a Goldwing pulling a caravan.
I've always felt a bit like that about electric bikes. Why would you buy a bicycle, if what you really want is a taxi? I'm terrible on hill climbs. Really dreadful. I can be overtaken by pedestrians. But when I reach the top, I know that it was my stubby little legs that powered me and when I fly down the other side, I've earned the free ride.
An electric bike seems to take all the challenge out of cycling. The whole point of bicycling is to be self-propelling. It's the ultimate in sustainable transport, as long as you carry sufficient inner tubes and energy bars.
But then I saw this video.
And now I really...really...want an electric bike. But it has to do 50mph. And the engine has to be cunningly concealed.
Isn't that brilliant?
Throughout my childhood we had a Morris Minor Traveller (the ones with the wooden frame). At that stage they hadn't attained the status of cherished icon of motor engineering. They were just old. Ours produced its own crop of mushrooms along the rear windowsill and was covered in so much moss that it was effectively camouflaged. My dad nursed a secret ambition to remove the engine in our Moggie and replace it with something with a fuel injection. His plan was to don the obligatory tweed hat and pootle along a stretch of dual carriageway towards a hill. Then, just as the boy racer behind him prepared to speed past in his hot hatchback, the aged motorist would press Hush Puppy to the floor and leave the lad standing.
My father never got to pimp his Morris Minor but if I added an engine like that to my bicycle, I think I'd make him smile.