ELECTRIC bikes may be seen by cycling purists as – well – a form of cheating perhaps, but they are a sensible way to persuade some who may not feel they are fit enough to take to the saddle.

Three electric bikes are being delivered to the New Forest and 25 to the Isle of Wight as part of a £700,000 fund that has been created to encourage more people to take up cycling, as this paper reports today.

The small number of machines for the Forest reflects the fact the New Forest National Park Authority already has a number of bikes that are considered suitable for disabled children and their families.

The initiative should be welcomed, whether someone is a purist cycling enthusiast or not for many reasons, not least the fact that cycling should be a pastime that is able to be enjoyed by all and not just the elite few who can and do excel in the sport.

The announcement comes at a moment when it has been revealed that London has turned down the opportunity to host the start of the famous Tour de France – known as the Grand Depart.

The decision over cost has caused a row in the capital and is seen as a lost opportunity by many.

What cost can be placed on encouraging more British people to leave the car at home and take to pedal power? Even electric peddle power.