This is not an article about steroids, anti-inflammatories, or testosterone injections. I’m 70-plus, and I used to ride a mountain bike up some pretty steep terrain and ride a road bike for the entire day. Now, it seems I spend equal time between orthopedic doctors and physical therapists, as I do living my life in the golden years.
I always loved to ride a bike. But as the years passed my wife was afraid of my falling off a single-track mountain trail (me too). I also found it increasingly uncomfortable sitting on the seat of a road bike and not have it try to invade a body part I always considered out of bounds.
Enter the world of e-bikes. This is not your e-bike of yesteryear, where you sat on a bike with a little battery and putted down the street for a few miles while you hid your ego. Most of the e-bikes today are called “pedal assist.” They can look like a beach cruiser or a ferocious mountain bike with four knobby tires that can climb goat trails.
The battery is disguised and looks like it is molded to the front frame. It can have all the incidentals that you would want, down to having a USB port in the battery. With a 16 amp battery (don’t get anything less) you can travel for hours. Buy a backup, and see you in Santa Barbara. A 5 amp charger will give you 100 percent in under three hours. That’s a tennis game at Riviera Country Club, or a little surf with an afternoon snooze, and you are headed home.
Pedal assist means just that. You can go from no assist to gradually increasing to the maximum, which allows for smooth pedaling at a good clip. There is not a hill around, including Golden Valley Road, that you can’t climb with little effort if you wanted.
More than anything, it allows you to ride like you did when you had legs. Now, you can go anywhere for hours and not wonder who you are going to call to pick you up. The wife can also join you, and you will not hear, “Wait for me.”
Surprisingly, the price of a really good e-bike is not that much (under $2,000), compared to a good road bike, which for a pro runs close to $11,000. My friend paid over $4,000, and he rides only on the weekends. Just remember, you get what you pay for.
For you athletes over 40, put your ego in the pocket of your tight black riding pants for a weekend, or for the average guy and gal try the pedal assist e-bike and enjoy the road to and the road back. You’ll thank me.