by John Duprey
Do you remember the the fun and freedom that a bicycle brought you as a child? With the wind blowing in your face, your bicycle could bring you places faster and further than you had ever experienced. While riding my bike, I would pretend that I was piloting an airplane, twisting and turning through the skies. I would race my bike against my mother's car as she drove my brother to school. Due to short cuts with fewer traffic lights I sometimes won, but win or lose I preferred my independence.
So what happened? You got a car, you work at a desk all day, you've had some injuries, your muscles have atrophied, your cardio isn't what it used to be, and let's face it, nobody is getting younger. When it comes to riding your bike, you find your self-talk making a convincing argument about the hill you live on being a deal-breaker.
Maybe you've heard of an e-bike but never actually seen one. Then miraculously, you get the opportunity to ride one. As you start to pedal the motor begins to assist. Like a bionic extension of your legs, the thrill of riding a bike rushes back to you. Your self-talk has a new story and no longer speaks of hills, but instead of cycling adventures. You find an eleven mile ride is faster now on a bike than in a car, and when you arrive you're not the least bit exhausted. Being outside in the sun and fresh air, experiencing seasons and getting exercise is renewing your life spirit with every passing mile. You start to look for reasons and places to ride above and beyond a Saturday recreational ride; a trip to the grocery store for a carton of milk, the bank to make a deposit, a meeting across town, your daily work commute. After a short period of time you find that you are using the motor less as you get stronger and healthier. That hill on your way home remains, but it doesn't seem insurmountable anymore, and besides, you've got some friendly electrons along to help. Riding with a significant other is fun again too. Do you hear that? Yes, it's the sound of domestic bliss. No longer is one waiting endlessly for the other, both parties frustrated.
You say you're a purist and want to sweat and breathe hard. No worries, just dial back the assist to low or off and ride like a normal bike. When your non-cyclist significant other passes you going up hill, you can always bump up the assist to keep pace. There are many other reasons to ride an e-bike, such as protecting the environment, or saving money on gasoline and oil. What are your reasons for riding?