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) MrFireStation.com