On a whim, while at Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica last Friday, I tried riding an electric bike. I was amazed. Since testing a couple of e-bikes inside the event center, I've visited a couple of shops and tried riding on the street and up hills. They have "pedal assist" which magnifies each of your pedal strokes so strongly that you feel like you have bionic legs. You can ride up a steep hill like it's flat. It's a real rush. And many of the e-bikes also have a throttle so you can be lazy and ride it like a little motorcycle.
You still get exercise because you need to pedal to get the assist, and you can vary the assist down to zero for more effort. And some of the bikes can be set on training mode so that you can pedal against the motor's regen resistance and charge the battery. The regen also works on downhills, but it's pretty minimal.
Of course, I'd heard about electrified bikes for years, but just considered them a dorky, low tech, slow and boring fad.
I've been a cyclist for the past 25 years, but I've let myself get older (not sure if I could have prevented THAT
) and out of shape, so the hills and long distances, as well as keeping up with fitter companions, are intimidating. I'm thinking that having an e-bike will get me back out there in nature, open up some hilly routes that I've always rejected as too challenging, and be a lot of fun.
I'm about to pull the trigger and have a BionX kit installed on my mountain bike. It's expensive, like $2,000, but cheaper than a good quality complete new e-bike.
Anyone else into this fun hobby?