The Electric Bike Experience

The Electric Bike Experience

I’m like most cyclist … I’m not really sure about the whole e-bike thing. They seem like they have their place, but we can’t possibly be part of that place. Can we? We ride our bikes for fitness and competition. Whether that’s friendly competition with our riding buddies or real competition in the Thursday night criteriums. Never in the world would we consider an e-bike as part of that equation.

Nonetheless, I tried to keep an open mind when I decided to test ride a Trek Dual Sport+ from our home in Santa Ana to our son’s home about 20 miles away—a fairly flat route. I left early on a Sunday morning. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

My initial reaction was pleasant. I especially liked the ease of acceleration from a stop. Getting up to speed (20 MPH with electric-assist on high) took little effort. Sustaining that speed was even easier. Overpasses were a breeze.

Now, without having to concentrate on mashing pedals, my mind began to wonder … am I getting any exercise at all? Is this better than going by car? Why am I enjoying this so much?

Was I getting any exercise? Of course. I rarely stopped pedaling on this 20 mile commute. Like a standard bike, I could work as easy or as hard as I liked. The big difference was how fast I was traveling and how fast I was getting to my destination.

Was it better than going by car? Yes. It took me an hour and ten minutes to get there by e-bike. It would have taken 25 minutes by car if there was little or no traffic on the freeway. Rush hour traffic might inflate my car commute to 45 minutes to an hour. The traffic affect on my e-bike commute would probably be minimal.

Why was I enjoying the electric-assist bike so much? Because I was in my street clothes riding more upright and faster than if I was on my commuter bike with little concern for head winds or overpasses. It was fun!

Now I’m thinking of all sorts of adventures I could have on an electric-assist bike. I could go further and see more and be left with enough energy to enjoy the evening when I got there.

Has my mind been altered? I’d say more like it’s been blown!

November 10, 2016