Battery Boosted Biking

Exactly, five years ago this week, I bought the first new bike that I had bought in 25 years. I felt like a kid again. My plan was that it would be my FIRE escape to great fitness in my new no-work lifestyle.

It’s been a good bike, but I haven’t used it very much. I’ve learned that like most people, I like to ride a bike – through the woods, on a shady lake path, or around the city – but I just don’t like the peddling. Especially hills. I get exercise many other ways (tennis, hiking, softball, etc) – just not much biking.

Fortunately, the world solved my aversion to peddling in the last five years by inventing e-bikes. Battery-boosted bikes promise all of the FUN of riding a bike without as much peddling. My good friend Jeff, who owns a bike shop, hooked me up with this snappy Felt Verza e30 electric-assist.

With an easy step-through design and 3-mode (Eco, Normal, Boost) electric-assist settings, this new bike is a breakthrough for me. You do have to peddle it, but it rides as if someone is giving you a nice push through it’s 10 speeds up to 20 miles per hour. The motor, integrated into the crankshaft, comes on effortlessly and with very little noise.

On the loop I like to take around a lake near our house, I easily cruised 10-15 mph, slowing only once on the one very big hill. Most of the time, I kept it in ‘normal’ or ‘eco’ settings which have a 60-80 mile range. Only a couple of times did I click it into the ‘boost’ mode (which still gives you 40 miles of range). It was very smooth and I found myself going much faster than I would on my manual crank bike.

I will note, that some people – including Mrs FireStation and our close friends who love to bike – consider the idea of an e-bike patently “cheating”. While it’s true that riding it is less of a workout, it’s not replacing the time I already spend walking, hiking, softball & playing tennis. As a matter of fact, I probably biked less than 20 miles the last few summers.

Besides, this article notes that the average heart rate of someone riding an e-bike is about 90% of the rate of someone on an ordinary peddle bike. Other studies like the one in this article show that e-bike riders go much further than other bicyclists. I’ll have to calculate how much of a workout it gives me versus my manual-crank bike in a head-to-head comparison on a route of the same distance & difficulty.

The bottom line is that I’m excited by this new eBike. I think I’m going to enjoy biking much more than ever. My new bike isn’t for everyone, but I think it will be good for me.

Who else has bought or is considering an electric-assist bike?

Image Credit: (c)

5 thoughts on “Battery Boosted Biking

  1. I’m in the club, Chief. Three years ago, I bought an EVELO Galaxy. Here in CT, we have lots of hills. I could no longer muscle my 7-speed up the steepest hill to get back home. Galaxy solved my problem. But last year, I had an accident, caused by going too fast for road conditions on a flat road with some pot holes. Totally rider error. My body took 7 months to recover from wicked hematoma on my hip and leg. (My helmet may have saved my life; it was wrecked – always wear a helmet!). This spring I was ready to ride again, while purposely limiting speed below 14mph and avoiding bad roads. But with pandemic, no bike shops remained open to make my bike ride-worthy again. Then I discovered a startup called Velofix. They have fully-stocked bike shops in vans, with certified technicians, who come to your location — with masks, gloves, CDC protocols. Voila! My bike is fixed in tip-top shape. I’m on the road again, older but wiser. Speed is not my goal. Feeling like a boy on his bike is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, John, that sounds like a horrific wreck! So sorry to hear that, but I can already relate. I noticed on my first ride that the ebike goes MUCH faster than the busy paths around our lake are built for. I agree that the speed makes a helmet a must-have – I was always 50/50 on wearing one on my ‘regular’ bike. Glad you & your bike are back up to speed!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun! I say, what ever gets you moving is good! I’m still kicking my Trek hybrid (mountain/road) bike that I bought in 2016 right before retiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve found that electric vehicles (both cars and bikes) are an excellent way to save money. We have 1 internal combustion engine (on a car I love) which we use when electric isn’t practical. It’s really reduced our frequency of car maintenance bills. I use the ebike for short trips when I don’t need to carry much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely hear great reviews from everyone I know that has gotten an electric vehicle. I’m guessing our next purchase in that department will be battery-powered.


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