E-Bikes Round Two! Life-changing!

Posted on 09/13/2013 by | AARP MT Region | Comments

Do I have a helmet, you ask!  I do!

Do I have a helmet, you ask?! I do!


I am very excited this week to be writing about a truly amazing experience I had with WanderBikes  in Chicago last week. If you recall a few posts back I wrote about E-Bikes and the vast improvement in this technology over the past few years. These bikes are becoming more mainstream.  The value to all of us as we age is really the story here.

My visit was set up after I had Brady Doerschuk from WanderBikes reach out to me after my E-Bike blog. We decided I’d visit WanderBikes and test ride a few of E-Bike models. Brady started WanderBikes with three brothers and they are all committed to getting the word out to all about how these bikes can be seen as transformative, eliminating limitations that begin to creep up on us as we age, or for other reasons.

For me, you know the story by now, my muscle issues have left my legs a bit weak and the years I had of biking up to 3,000 miles are gone. In fact, I’ve been relegated to stationary bikes only, so my E-bike test ride was a real treat! I never imagined that riding E-Bikes would be so easy and so much like just normal riding. Under the umbrella of complete honesty I will say that while these bikes should be universally used by so many millions of people, and I predict they will be as our society continues to get older, the one drawback is still cost. That being said there are  some alternatives to adapt current bikes that will lesson the financial blow. But buying  my dream E-Bike will set me back about $3000. That’s a hefty price tag. Side note they also rent bikes.

So let’s start with a look at the bikes I tested.  At this link you’ll see five of the six bikes I tested. There were a lot of similarities between them so  let me break it down this way – I tested two bikes that had the hand throttle control and the others were all the more common pedal assist.

Hand Throttle vs. Peddle Assist

The hand throttle bikes were great. I was able to begin pedaling and then give myself a boost. What I liked to do was hit the throttle as I kept pedaling and then when I released the throttle I’d have enough of a push to continue pedaling solidly. If I had come upon an hill or upslope, I could throttle more or, I assume with enough practice, maintain a steady throttle power to keep pedaling as hard as I want.

The pedal assist bikes were my favorites and these bikes allowed me to start at a power level I preferred, always keeping in mind the higher the power boost the more battery power used.  Even by keeping the level at a lower “one or two,” I was able to start pedaling, get a good workout, and very subtly feel the assist I was getting. Here’s a clip of me taking a test ride. This is a really big deal for me as I am completely unable to ride a regular bike due to my muscle issues! Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 9.11.10 PM

Pedal Assist Test Ride

As far as bikes themselves go there are many options. You can get the Stromer or the Ohm and go out and do some great rides on trails. The Motiv is a cool cruiser for beach boardwalk or riding fun in the neighborhood. And then there are the workhorses, as I call them, the Yuba or the Juiced Rider. Load groceries, haul things, etc., and still look cool.

If you read my initial E-Bike post and came back to this one with interest, you MUST go out and do a test ride. Or let me know you’re interested and where you live and I will find a place for you to try.  I am on twitter @ralphyaniz and my email is ryaniz@aarp.org