Remember that feeling of rushing down a hill, hands in the air, hair flying back, feet off the pedals because they’re turning to fast to keep up? I was the youngest of four kids in a single-mom family, growing up in the seventies. That meant no helmet and hand-me-down bikes that were probably too big and definitely ready to rattle apart at any minute.
And I loved it.
But then, like most kids do, I grew into a teen and discovered driving. I traded in my love of bikes for a love of cars, also hand-me-down and ready to rattle apart at any minute.
A few years ago, I got out my old bike and went for a ride. I don’t remember the catalyst, but I do remember panting and cursing the entire time. It’d been so long and I was decades out of practice. But, despite the discomfort, it took me back. In those few minutes I was on the bike, I was ten years old and flying down the gravel road.
So, I went again. And I still huffed and swore and felt amazing about it.
Turns out, biking is just like everything else. It gets easier with practice. In a few weeks I was making longer trips, around twenty miles, and even did a couple that were over forty. When I’m on a bike, I feel like I’m floating, like all is right in the world, and there’s nothing I can’t do. The world is made out of hearts and flowers.
In reality, I’m sure I look like a sweaty woman, huffing and puffing after my kids and hoping my heart doesn’t explode. So far, it hasn’t.
But then, my main riding buddy got sick, and riding took a back seat in my schedule, until one day I realized I hadn’t been on a bike for over a year. I was out of shape. Well, not really, because, as a comedian on TV once said, “Round is a shape.” So, in that sense, I was still in shape, but all my muscles were cleverly hidden beneath a layer of fat. It was clever, suburban mom camouflage.
This time, I decided to approach biking differently. You see, no matter how healthy and in practice I’ve been in the past, I’ve always hated hills. Sure, that’s a good indicator that I should work harder, but right now, that hatred is enough to keep me from riding at all.
So, I went shopping.
I looked at about a thousand different electric bikes. Okay, more like fifty. But still, that’s enough to confound even the most savvy shopper. I lucked across an amazing website that reviews electric bicycles. You can check it out for yourself HERE. It was still boggling, but it definitely helped me narrow the field.
Now, I realize this is probably more bike than I need for the type of riding I like to do. But I LOVE it. There’s an awesome cargo platform up front that is big enough to hold my puppy, Max, so he can go with me on rides. Or, you know, I could run to the market to pick up fudgecicles for Tara when she has a craving.
Okay, I could have done that last one on my old bike…
Still, that whole hill thing is real. I’ve been out on it a few times, and this bike makes me love riding regardless of which side of the mountain I’m on.
The technology that goes into electric bikes is pretty amazing. Here are some of the highlights my bike features:
- A powerful 500-watt hub motor. That means the motor is in the rear wheel hub. That makes it heavier on the back end, so carrying it up and down stairs, at least for me, is a big negative.
- A 48-volt Lithium Ion battery. That means more power for longer. And it maintains it’s charging integrity and is lighter than old school SLA batteries.
- That awesome cargo platform in front, plus another rack in the back.
- The bosses are in place for a water bottle cage. I just need to move it over from my old bike.
- Will go 25-35 miles per charge. Distance varies depending upon how much weight the bike is carrying and how much the rider pedals.
- A step-through frame that makes it easier to get on and off.
- Eight gears, which means I can work myself through the paces before calling on the motor for that extra oomph.
- Pedal assist mode (PAS). This means that the motor works with you as you pedal. If you don’t pedal, the motor doesn’t engage. There are five levels of PAS. This mode is nice because it works with you throughout the ride, without taking over all the work.
- Power on demand mode (POD). This means you can access the power without pedaling.
- Top speed of 20mph. This is regulated so that you don’t need a motorcycle endorsement to ride it.
Before I embark on my 2016 in 2016 challenge, I need to do a few things to the bike, like add that water bottle cage. I also need to add one of those blinky lights to the back and a headlamp in the front. And a bell! It’s really hard to ring a bell to alert other riders to your presence if there’s not a bell on your bike.
Did I need a three thousand dollar bike? Probably not. Am I glad I bought it? Absolutely.