Saturday, November 10, 2012

Look Ma no legs!

It has been a while since I rode a bicycle to church but today being an exceptionally glorious late Spring day - sunny but a cool 22c, there was no excuse. The trouble is riding with my nephew Nick is a bit of a challenge. He is a strapping 22yo Physical Therapy student at Curtin, certified Fitness Trainer and a Tour de Bintan top cyclist which means his average speed is in excess of 35km/h. How is 5 decades young me going to keep up with someone half my age?

Well, one way is to train hard, very hard which is an impossibility given the laws of aging. A smarter way is to harness technology to be the equalizer. So Nick goes on the fastest Dahon, my 24 SRAM gear Speed Pro and I on an entry level 20" foldie with fat tires, but with a secret weapon. Electric power assist. Nick of course was in his usual element cruising on the main road along Shelley Foreshore at 30km/h effortlessly as its way too fast for the bike paths. On my Prodeco Mariner 7, it was easy to keep up with Nick and even be ahead of him especially up the hills and when the head winds came.

Leaving home at 959am, we arrived at church in 17 mins flat both feeling very fresh. I was glad to see so many people riding to church too on their push bikes. The e-bike attracted a lot of attention as expected. As usual, its really great to be in church to get my spiritual batteries charged. The excellent sermon on James 2:14-18 was delivered by Pastor Peter Christofides on Faith and Works, the main point being that we are richly blessed by our faith in God so that we can be a blessing through what we do for others. In a nutshell, it is -

The reason for the filling is the overflow

Being on two wheels, there is a sense of excitement on every journey and we took a different way back home as we needed to get some lunch from the supermarket. The Jacarandas were blooming and we stopped to admire them. These beautiful deep purple trees bloom only in November.

After shopping, I thought it would only be fair I got a work out too and swapped bikes with Nick. It was tough getting back to moving on my own steam but it was good to be cycling again. On the other hand, Nick was on a different paradigm and was smiling ear to ear, getting a big thrill in being able to move so quickly with his legs up. One passing cyclist looked at him curiously amazed at this unconventional riding position.

We arrived home from church feeling a little bit different somehow today compared to the usual Sundays. There is something special and free about being able to feel, see, smell, hear nature when we are on our bikes compared to being cocooned in an airconditioned car. Moreover, we both felt we earned our lunch, Nick more so than I. He had seconds....  

As a means of exercise, I say e-biking is not very effective for me personally as the temptation to not pedal but rely on the seamless electrical assistance is too great. However, if one views this strictly as a mode of transport vis a vis cars, buses or motorbikes, it is truly unbeatable. No need to dress in lycra, normal wear will do. Also, its green, cheap and fun - and you can always say to your mother, "Look Ma, no legs!"


Unknown said...

Nice blog. I have to say my Prodeco e-bike gets plenty of pedaling. I use the assist only on hills where I might hurt my knee and for quick removal from the path of vehicles. It's sort of a reverse gateway drug - using assist to slowly increase pedalling on my own to build that stamina. If you try to cut down on the e-assist and gradually increase your own power pedaling, you will be able to keep up with your co-riders eventually without e-assist. Just cause it's there, doesn't mean you have to use it ;-)

Oldyonfoldy said...

Dear Mr Unknown,

TU for sharing. I appreciate it v much. Im glad you are getting a lot of exercise with your Prodeco. If I want exercise and I get lots because I am an avid tourer, I prefer to use one of my many other bicycles.

The e-bike is to me pure & fun transport. Agree with you about being able to zip out of traffic, esp in city riding. That said, it can also become the best bike to exercise with coz its much heavier than a normal bike. Most apparent climbing hills!

Have fun and ride safe!