by Carol Fitzgerald
I like to ride my bike. You’re thinking, “so what! Me too!” Bear with me here. I don’t ride every day like my friend, Gary Crandall. But I ride 4-5 days a week. Not in the winter though, I ski in the winter! I ride around 3,000+ miles a season.
I lead some group rides in MN and around Hayward on weekends. Although my groups have gotten smaller with a more select group of riders due to the COVID thing, my riders are more social. We don’t sprint to stop signs. We usually cruise up to them while admiring the brilliant blue forget-me-nots along Forest Circle. We don’t put our heads down and hammer. We chat – about kids, grandkids, doctors, surgeries, horse camping, Pickleball, and the wonderful safety features on our cars. We don’t have 25-year-old legs that can attack the hills. We have 50, 60 and 70+-year-old legs that think it’s a cruel joke that the hills get larger every year.
Ebikes were made for us! I just got one from my wonderful friends, Chris and Joel, at New Moon. It’s a Specialized Creo and it’s amazing. I didn’t think I needed one. I’m pretty strong. Again, my rides are social, kinder and gentler. We average around 13-14 mph and that’s just fine. We’re chatting – we’re usually not pushing the pedals as hard as we can.
Several riders in my groups have ebikes. You’ve probably heard people say “that’s cheating!”. Get over it – it’s just not true! You’re outside, you’re pedaling, you’re riding your bike. It’s fun! Ebikes allow you to climb some bigger hills without having your heartrate max out, or when you see 6-7 mph on your speedometer, you’re thinking you could walk up the hill faster. Ebikes allow you to ride with faster friends, children and grandchildren who previously dropped you on every hill. Now you can drop them. They allow you to ride routes that you previously thought we too long or too hilly. Not the case any longer. Pack a lunch and head out. They are now within your grasp and your ebike’s range. It’s a windy day and you just don’t want to deal with the wind. No big deal. Jump on your ebike, maybe crank it up to Sport mode and who cares about the wind. And trust me, those people who tease you that it’s cheating riding a bike with a little motor will be extremely grateful when you’re able to pull them into a 15-mph headwind! Who’s cheating now, baby??
I didn’t think I needed an ebike. I could keep up with my friends just fine. But now that I have one, and a really pretty blue one, I should have gotten it several years ago. The nice thing about these newer ebikes is you can’t tell they’re ebikes. The motors are so well concealed, if you don’t tell fellow riders, they may not notice – until you pull away from them on a steep hill!
Ebikes are not cheating. You can pedal as easy or hard as you’d like. You can turn off the motor. You can ride on windy days, days when you’re a little tired, or you when could have settled in on the couch and not ridden at all, but it’s beautiful outside. Go . . . ride . . . you’ve got an ebike. I have one and that’s what I plan to do.