Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An effortless Wednesday

Today was a very electrifying day! Finally got my beautifully finished pristine white Prodeco Mariner 7 e-foldie all the way from Florida, USA. Blame it on the bad influence of my good friend Ken Cheok. He poisoned me some time back and despite trying so many anti-dotes, I succumbed.

So when we met at the usual 730am spot at Leach Highway, both Pete and Rod were surprised to see 2 Prodecos gliding up to them. It was almost like a shoot out between the 700c bikes and the 20" foldies, except this time, the latter has the unfair advantage of electrical assisted power. I was curious to see if the Prodeco had enough battery range for a ride to the city and back, plus a few excursions.

E-riding opens a whole new world, riding wise. I was determined to get my exercise and pedalled most of the way but the thought that the "boost" was available anytime just made riding such a relaxing experience. The Prodeco felt just like a normal entry level foldie, though its extra weight of 7kg (battery + motor) could be felt especially when climbing. But a simple twist of the throttle and climbs instantly become flatten thanks to the torquey front hub motor. I felt a tinge of guilt but seriously, climbing with all that weight is hard work.

We skirted around the Canning River and joined up the Kwinana Freeway northwards at Canning Bridge. The morning traffic on the highway was heavy and logged, but the lovely bike path was smooth sailing despite quite a few cyclists commuting.

On the straights, it was a matter of choosing what speed I wanted to cruise. 22 or 25 or 30km/h. Just twist to the desired speed, throttle-off and just pedal to maintain the momentum. Once things slow down a bit, just a quick 10sec squirt and you are back to happy dandy land. I was overtaken by a fast roadie and I wanted to see if I could catch him. Alas, the Prodeco is dialled in to US legal requirements, that means 32km/h and thats it.

Our target destination today was Casa Del Dolce at Lake Street in Northbridge but their amazing coffee/cake starts only at 930am, so we had plenty of time to kill. We decided to ride towards UWA along the beautiful riverside of Crawley and stopped to say "Hi!" to Eliza, the famous icon. She is normally dressed for the occasion of the day, this time being Melbourne Cup but strangely, she was stark naked save for a bird on her hand. This got Pete so excited!

With so much time to kill, we proceeded on to Kings Park. Greeting us was a long 1.5km climb which is the playground for many a roadie to train. This was where the Prodeco came into its element. I honestly tried to cycle up but the temptation to just twist and mow down the upslope was just too great. I felt bad leaving Rod and Pete behind, and kudos to Ken too who went up unassisted, I think. Along the many trees planted along the road were plaques remembering fallen soldiers during the past wars. I have the highest respect for these young heroes. This poor officer was killed in action on the first day of battle when the Japanese landed in north-west Singapore.

King's Park truly is so magnificent in Spring with all the colourful flowers in full bloom. We soaked in all of them and of course the great view of the city skyline too.

Heading towards the city, we had to go down a very steep road lined with beautiful purple Jacarandah trees. I was so glad the Prodeco had powerful disc brakes that gave me full control of the fast 50km/h descent. 

It was really fun carving our way through traffic in the city as we made our way to Lake Street. Though we got a bit lost, we finally made it to Casa del Dolce and were welcome with the wonderful smell of fresh bread and cakes. There were too many varieties to choose from, so we told the lovely owner to just give us the best 4 cakes she think we must try. That with a nicely made mug of hot Latte really made for an absolutely glorious morning. What was even better was the bill came to only $7.50 per person!

Perhaps Pete had one cake too many as when he rolled out from the cafe, his rear tire had a loud pizzzzzz sound. It was operation change tire time and that was quick and painless. 

Rod had to leave soon and so he caught the train home while the 3 of us enjoyed our ride back. The 12km route was polished off very quickly as we maintained a steady 24-26km/h. As I was feeling very guilty indeed having it too easy, I swapped bikes with Pete and paid my token dues for the morning for this last stretch.

What was amazing was at the end of the 42km ride, my indicator still showed a full charge of "gas"! I reckon that the range when the power used only sparingly is a comfortable 60km or more and one can indeed tour with the Prodeco e-bike. I can only imagine more effortless Wednesdays in the weeks to come and can't wait to ride it again. 

The brilliant words of my buddy Mike Khor, captured the experience today.


Taiwoon said...

I know some cyclist would feel power-assist takes away the "purity" of cycling. But I think it is really about how you view things as.
It is not about the bike but that you ride. Bicycle or power assist.... the friendship and bantering after a ride, during a ride is simply awesome! Keep on blogging Sir Al!

Oldyonfoldy said...

Thanks Taiwoon for your encouragement. Indeed, you are absolutely right about how we view assisted cycling. I see it as a real alternative to buses, cars and a form of serious transportation. Just that it uses the bicycle as a platform. The joy of cycling with friends remain the same, no matter what we ride! :)