I am not a rider of bikes. I will run, walk, do weights, yoga, tennis but I don’t ride bikes. Maybe I just need to better my balance! I am a city dweller though, and the traffic volume has become ridiculously congested these days. Recently the council took away the much beloved street parking outside my apartment and replaced it with a bike lane. I wondered if this was a sign that it was time to give cycling another go so I decided to give a stylish e-bike a try.
The next day I took the bike on an hour-and fifteen-minute ride, straight out of the city to the nearest suburb of Mission Bay. And I was off! I rode down the bike lane and stopped at the lights. So far so good, stopping has always been easy. Trying to take off however has always involved an awkward push off the curb with a not-so-much pedal that is just enough to discover I’m in a way too high gear creating a wobble that made me look like a mix of Mr. Bean and Miranda Hart. This time as I put my foot on the pedal, it was like I had a friend behind me giving me a good push. Even in top gear, a little whirr helped me along and I took off like a pro. This remained my favourite feature of the bike my entire ride.
I navigated my way through the city noticing that the bike lanes would come and go, oftentimes leaving me sharing the way with pedestrians or cars. As it became necessary for me to slow right down to pedestrian speed, the pedal assist made it much easier to ride slowly without wobbling. I felt quite graceful as I expertly weaved my way through to the next bike lane. Once on a good stretch of lane, I changed up and up, each time feeling the familiar whirr help me along. As I got into top gear I felt my lungs take in a bit more oxygen and began to wonder if I should have taken that yoga class right before I got on the bike—the pedal assist wasn’t taking away all the work for me. I felt like I was exercising, but I felt about 50% fitter than I really was. Once I got to Mission Bay, I stopped in for a cup of coffee, feeling a little flushed and energised, but not sweaty. Perfect. In fact, possibly most women’s idea of how exercise should be. As I returned home, I realised I’d been riding for 40 minutes and started to wish my bike had cruise control. I was very grateful for the pedal assist as I went directly into an icy gust of head on wind, the bike’s whirr pushing me effortlessly along against the breeze.
The pedal assist was amazing for going slow and increasing speed with ease (especially from take off). Having pedalled further than expected, I’d have loved some cruise control to return home. Upon getting home after my bike ride, I felt like I had done some exercise for the day, enough for me to enjoy a good lunch and some chocolate afterwards, but I did not need a shower. Very cool for city living to pop to my nearest (or furthest) café and arrive still looking fresh, but not deal with traffic jams and parking.
Words: Denise Ferguson