-Increase Mobility, Laugh like a kid again-
You gotta love a bicycle that also has a throttle. While the cruiser bike I like has 7 gears, you can shortcut the system and just twist your throttle handle in your right handlebar, and the electric motor kicks in like magic to begin boosting you forward. Kind of like someone standing behind you and giving you a little push off.
Freedom! The air blowing in your face, laughing and smelling the fragrances of the outdoors. No mask required, but a helmet is probably prudent.
There are various types of e-bikes available. One type is just a throttle boost, and the pedals still drive the bike, by adjusting through the various gears; this type is my favorite. There is also a “pedal assisted” type, which still has the twist grip throttle, but also gets a boost by pedaling and the bike senses and propels you forward even faster. I don’t like the pedal assist, mostly because the “boost”, can also be activated during a corner, if you happen to be pedaling while turning; this can be scary and probably dangerous if you have decreased balance, or lack of experience with the bike accelerating through a turn.
What a gratifying feeling, to be able to pedal up a super steep hill and keep the bike going around 11 MPH. The throttle boost can lug that heavy bike up the hill while you are still getting some workout in your legs-basically doing “supplemental pedaling.”
We rented from Roll E-Bikes, in Durango, CO. They delivered two Pedago cruisers to our doorstep, and picked them up after our two hour rental. Our sojourn down the hard surface river trail was perfect; being a Saturday afternoon, quite a few walkers, bikers, strollers and even a few recumbent bikes were out on the trail with us. The ability to quickly and effortlessly pass the slower movers is really fun. The City states e-bikes are limited to 10MPH on the trail, however, I noticed that we would sometimes exceed that speed while passing or even going up a hill, if no one was around.
Imagine if your leg strength is compromised, you’ve had surgery or have a heart or lung condition-and still being able to ride 15 miles on a bike in an hour and a half, and get off feeling so refreshed. You control how much effort you exert via the gears, but more importantly by how much “juice” you give the electric motor with your twist grip throttle. Hand strength isn’t important for the throttle, but changing the gears can be challenging to do while negotiating a busy bike path; the button to lower the gear is easy to tap, but to go faster in a higher gear requires significant thumb strength. I used the heel of my hand to push the high hear lever, with mostly good success.
This rider has not only CMT 1A, but lumbar scoliosis. The rental bike was mostly fitted well to me, allowing me to keep my back straight and long, while still being able to breathe freely. The legs get some workout just pedaling; it’s soothing to be able to keep a regular pedal cadence going, while using the throttle to even out the effort required during uphill slopes, or acceleration.
“I never thought I’d ride a bike again.” This phrase is uttered over and over again by those who try these little marvels. I also rented a mountain bike type e-bike, and didn’t like it nearly as well as the “cruiser” type bike with the step through top tube; these used to be called “girls bikes.” This more open frame is much easier to get on and off, as well as your take-off from a stop. The extra weight of most e-bikes can be offset by having a well balanced and easy step through configuration, so that hopefully you always have control and a sense of ease and grace, especially while mounting and dismounting. ~Dr. Greg Stilwell, DPM