Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An E-Bike Success Story - Me

A University of Colorado at Boulder electric bike study has been making the rounds lately:

The New York Times - The Surprising Health Benefits of an Electric Bike

Treehugger/Lloyd Alter - Let's stop bashing the e-bikes; they are still better than driving.

It's had me reminiscing. My first legitimate e-bike was a Currie EZip Trailz.

I loved that thing!

Let's rewind a bit. Back around the time I was forty things were not going so well. I weighed about 275. I had high blood pressure in a big way. I traveled a lot and I ate out a lot and I did not exercise. One day the dog got out and I thought I would die after chasing her for less than half of a block.

About that time, Best Buy figured out they should not be in the electric bike business and they had some great close-outs. The EZip dropped down to $150, and I bought it. And I loved it!

My commute to and from work became my favorite time of the day. Instead commuting straight down Indiana with all of the other lemmings in our shiny metal boxes I became a Roger De Coster hooligan wannabe flying down back streets and back alleys and past parks at a blazing 14 miles per hour!

[To be fair, it was a really crappy e-bike. It had two really heavy batteries (with very little power) mounted on the back. It had a geared and brushed motor (that howled like a banshee) also mounted on the back. And it had really weak spokes. If you combine that combo with a heavy guy sitting toward the back, you might have a problem. I kept tightening spokes on the rear wheel until one day I tried going up a curb and demolished the rear wheel. I ordered a new rear wheel, but someone broke in and stole the bike before the wheel arrived, snagit!]

FrankenHuffy 2.1
Along the way, I found myself enjoying life a little more and losing a little weight. So I built myself a scary electric Frankenbike and kept riding. And I started using a regular (non-electric) bike for shorter trips. A few years ago, I joined the National Bike Challenge. The NBC did not count miles ridden on an e-bike back then (they do now for pedelecs) so I started commuting on a non-electric bicycle.

Fast forward to now. The past few days have been record-breakingly hot and extremely windy. And I have ridden my bike to work. I am now at a point where I am not winded when I get there. Where I don't feel the need* for an e-bike. I weigh about 240 these days. (That number would be even lower, but I have not become a give-up-the-donuts-success-story yet.) The blood pressure is under control.

I bike about 45 miles per week, climb lots of stairs, and walk about 8 miles per week.

And the revolution started with a highly enjoyable (but very poor quality) e-bike I picked up off the discount rack.

May you find that thing that kicks off your revolution for a healthier self and a healthier planet.

As always, thank you for reading!

* I do feel the need for an electric cargo bike to help me say no to the truck and to the gas pump, but that's another blog entry or ten.