I Pedal The Bicycle Electric
We’re having an extraordinarily mild summer here in New England: low temperatures and humidity, really fine weather if you don’t mind didging the more occasional rain. Today was about as perfect for a bike ride as it ever gets here, so my wife and I took advantage of it to get the big wheels of our Giant Toughroads spinning along the Minuteman Bikeway.
Which was as clogged up with bike traffic as Massachusetts Avenue, which it parallels. We drafted another coiuple for a mile or so, and I asked the guy, “Know what the speed limit is on the Minuteman?”
As fast as you can go,” he replied. Serious, not snarky. Cuz the hotshots in their kits riding their Cervelos certainly think that’s true.
“Fifteen miles an hour,” I replied.
He said, “Huh, didn’t know that. I’ve never seen a speed limit sign.”
Well, they have signs up in Arlington, but not in Lexington where I live. I told him I contacted “the people” at the Bikeway and learned that yes, the speed limit is 15MPH up and down the entire 10-mile Bikeway, but was told Lexington prefers not to post it.
But I was on a mission, and was undeterred by the heavy traffic and dodging the occasional speeder or the idiot swerving between mother and baby carriage.
Lexington, where I live, has had the good fortune to see two new bike shops open up within the past month. Curiously, one is about a mile and a half south of my home, and the other the same distance north. Both specialize in electric bikes, and both are very close to the Bikeway. I’ve been to them, but today was heading back to Pedego, the one that had offered me a free demo ride on one of their electric bikes. It would be a first for me.
Electric bikes have made major inroads into the bike market over the past few years, camping on the boom in cycling across the world. (Shameless self-promotion: this is the topic of my new forthcoming novel, Bridge Across the Ocean.) I’ve heard a lot of this growth is due to COVID, but I’m not quite sure why. For all the electric bike’s advances, it’s still using a motor drawing power from a battery, so you have the additional weight issue. However, after speaking with Emilie and Eddie (as in Emilie+Eddie+E-bikes—is this just a coincidence?) at the Pedego Bike shop, I came to understand some advantages even for a hard-core pedal-it-yourself, guy like me.
My test ride was great. You can pedal away, but any time you want a goose, you just twist the grip—just like a motorcycle (which it is, of course). The acceleration is remarkable. Woo-Hoo! I wouldn’t mind having one of these babies in my bike stable. I’m cultivating a special idea for how I would like to take it for a ride, but I’ll save that for another blog.
Ride far, ride fast, ride free!
Jack takes the Pedego E-bike for a test ride (it was longer than this clip)