Have you ever considered buying one of those electric bicycles that give you a wee bit of electric power when you are going up hills but thought them too expensive?

If so take heart, new legislation means that if you qualify for the tax reductions you get for cycling to work the £1000 maximum on such tax breaks has been lifted so that buying an e-bike may suddenly be more affordable.

My relationship with e-bikes goes back 20 years, after I was commissioned to write a review of one for this newspaper and liked it so much that I ended up buying one, though I quickly sold it on as I found it far too heavy, the battery too weak and the experience of intermittently pushing it home after the battery had failed too traumatic. Plus at around £1000 it was ludicrously expensive for what it was, which was basically a super slow moped with pedals.

In the years since these problems have been largely resolved. Today you can buy e-bikes that are so light you can carry them on to a bus, whilst in certain circumstances the batteries can sometimes be eeked out for over a 100 miles. The prices vary from around £300 for the usually rubbish ones, up to ten times that for the ones your grandchildren will probably still be using when you are long dead and gone.

Since then, I have owned another two e-bikes. One being a rusty old death trap with one of those bolt-on electrified front wheels, a device that turned out to be pretty lethal as the brakes weren’t up to the additional stresses.

If you do buy second-hand make sure to have the battery tested before you hand over the cash as a replacement may cost you more than the bike itself.

My latest bike is something called a Rad Rhino which had been given to me by the American manufacturers to review after I suggested to them that there may be a growing market for using these kinds of machines for camping in the Highlands, or amping as I hilariously put it.

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I had another agenda that the marketing people evidently liked. Having just returned from America I had noted that the Americans have an even greater health crisis with diabetes type two (we have over a quarter of a million sufferers in Scotland, including myself), and that given the new Glasgow-based research that suggests that this ghastly disease can be ameliorated by radical weight loss and exercise I suggested that if we could only get more over-fifties using e-bikes that many a life may be extended.

I didn’t speak lightly. A large proportion of those buying e-bikes are elderly people who haven’t been near a bike for years and are finding them useful ways to get back on the path to fitness.

My new bike arrived for its testing just before Christmas and since then I have given it a thorough review having spent weeks riding it around the streets of Edinburgh, along the tow paths between Glasgow and Edinburgh and up and down the mountain tracks around Glencoe.

My choice of the Rad Rhino came about after a conversation with my brother Neil who handles the marketing for a couple of luxury barges that run week-long Fingal barge cruises from Fort William to Inverness. He asked me to recommend a robust model that might work for his largely elderly clientele who usually prefer cycling along the flat canal tow paths by the Caledonian canal, though are sometimes tempted by the odd mountain track.

When my Rad Rhino arrived I was initially rather aghast at its huge size and weight which, whilst it might work if you are a beach bum in California and need something to help get your surf board to the beach, wouldn’t be much good if you were a granny who lives in Easterhouse and who needs to get it up to her tenth floor flat each night to avoid having it nicked. In short, this is more of a bike for rural areas than the town, particularly if you are over 50.

But for something to use for canal side trips it was just about perfect, being robust and at £1000 for the basic model remarkably good value. True, both the brakes and the gear system are hardly top of the range but at least they work and can be relatively easily maintained.

My first major test was to cycle it from Glasgow to Edinburgh, easily my most enjoyable Saturday trip of my winter so far and whatever bike you ride I can thoroughly recommend it. On the Rad Rhino it was a breeze and I found that I could almost maintain an average of the 15 miles an hour that is the maximum speed allowed for this kind of machine without having to wear a helmet or get an MOT and insurance.

The Glasgow to Edinburgh canal path is surely one of Scotland’s best kept secrets and as yet shamefully underutilised as a facility for tourists. The great thing about the track is, of course, that it is entirely flat and although almost all of the tow path is through countryside there are also a welter of interesting tunnels, villages and even such wonders as the Falkirk Wheel to keep you entertained.

My battery lasted in these largely unchallenging circumstances for around 40 miles, a number I could have improved on if I had been more circumspect in my choice of gears and the use of the five variations of power assist. Once the battery ran out, I decided to simply use pedal power and whilst this was easy enough to manage on the flat tow path I did find the last few public road miles to my home to be particularly irksome and would recommend buying a spare battery (around £500) if your budget allows.

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Once the Glasgow to Edinburgh trip had been completed I popped the bike, once the front wheel had been removed, into my large saloon car and headed for Glencoe to try her out on some fierce mountain tracks, no mean challenge given that it was blowing a force nine gale.

Here, the Rad was not nearly as impressive, particularly once the baskets and panniers had been loaded up as the centre of gravity rises considerably. Will there ever be a market for camping holidays on e-bikes? Will “amping" take off ?

Hard to say. If I was to take off into the hills on an e-bike with a tent I would probably choose to tow along a light-weight trailer, or even to upgrade to the not much more expensive 750ww version, in spite of all the faff of getting it registered and insured and wearing a crash helmet.

One thing is for sure though. The authorities need to get their act together as there are currently dozens of youngsters riding around uninsured on illegal e-bikes that are above the maximum 250ww rate and considerable confusion as to what is legal both on road and off.

But will e bike camping ever take off? Well, I have just bought the Amping domain name and will now only sell it for a good price. After all, you never know.

The Rad Rhino is a great bike for flat cyclepath and canal tow path riding and at a great price too. Well worth considering.