By now you’ve heard of ebikes. Maybe you know someone who has one. But you’re left wondering how one would fit into your life. You’ve still got that bicycle you bought during quarantine collecting dust so you’re understandably hesitant to add to the collection. I know how the story goes because I was you.
When my husband and I bought our home 7 years ago, we bragged about the location. Our county’s longest biking trail runs along our backyard. The nation’s best beaches are only a 5 minute drive away. We have so many beautiful parks and playgrounds just around the corner in every direction. The problem was that a bike ride to enjoy any of these amenities was a swift reminder that we are casual bike riders and not disciplined athletes. How could we enjoy a bike ride knowing our muscles were going to ache for days afterwards? We’d been down that road before so it’s no wonder our bicycles were forgotten in the far corner of the garage. We are so close to all of these great places, but we rarely enjoyed them.
Now we’re getting to the good part. This part of the story we’ll call “the Maiden Voyage” because it really deserves a place in the memory books. We had owned our ebikes for a few weeks and had been having plenty of fun buzzing around our neighborhood. But this day the sun was shining just right and a cool breeze was coming in off the gulf, and I felt the calling. I prepped my water, cranked up the music, and told Chris I’d be going for a longer ride today.
To his surprise, I texted him a picture 15 minutes later from the top of the causeway overlooking the intracoastal. While I was trying to play it cool, the joy in my face said it all. This…is…AWESOME! I felt so FREE. It was at that moment I realized the ebike was the key to unlocking the next level of exploring the world around me. Adventures that felt just out of reach before now felt totally possible. I was standing at the top of a steep bridge that I had never dreamed of crossing on a bicycle. Ready for more, I continued down the bridge and over into the barrier islands where the beaches are. I crossed another impossibly steep bridge before pausing in the sand to send another picture. Cruising through the beaches on an ebike just hit different. Were people staring at me? I think they were because my joy was radiating. For good measure (and bragging rights), I took a completely different path home. I crossed yet another bridge before catching the bike trail and following that back. In all, I rode over 20 miles that day and crossed 5 steep bridges.
Even better is that I woke up the next day…ready to do it all again. By keeping the pedal-assist low I had found the sweet spot of getting my heart pumping and moving my body without pushing my muscles past their limit. The ebike gave me the confidence to go the extra mile because it spared me the embarrassment of having to call my husband to come pick me up because I had gone too far.
It’s been months since the maiden voyage. We’ve gone on dozens of ebike rides to all of our beaches, local parks, and even out for dinner. But it still makes me smile to think about that first ride. It sparked a fire within me that has changed our lives for the better. We’re now forever asking, “Should we ride our ebikes to that?” If you ever find yourself in a Florida beach town passing a group of smiling, happy ebikers just assume I’m one of them.