The E-Bike Challenge and Sweet Reward

By Louisa Mursell, Executive Director, Ontario By Bike

Editor’s Note: Originally published in the 2018 Cycling in Ontario / Le vélo en Ontario guide. View online version at www.ontariobybike.ca/2018

E-bikes make you look. Whether you notice as they whiz by you on your push pedals or you’re an innocent bystander noting something just isn’t right with the ease of speed and rider, a second glance may answer the question. What may appear to be a regular bike may indeed be sporting a chargeable battery pack, with pedal assist kicking the bike into an accelerated speed.

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With e-bike sales sky rocketing, we decided to investigate further and take one out on a ride. Picking a destination known for its climbs and scenic routes, we headed to Escarpment Country, in Halton Region, not far west of Toronto. With it being a non-event day, we easily parked at the Velodrome in Milton, also using it as an opportunity to take a peak inside this world class facility, and use the public facilities.

Credit_ Howard Calvert

Riding out with plans to zip about the 50km Veldrome Vista route, an odd couple we may have seemed, one on an e-bike and another riding a high end road bike. The challenge was on, but all for fun. Digging the flatter country farmland, with a backdrop of jagged and crumbling Escarpment cliff faces, we were soon running a series of rolling hills. Great pleasure was taken in pressing the ‘turbo’ mode and easily outpacing the Cervélo. With fall in full swing, the colours were a stunning mix of muted yellows and oranges, enjoyed all the more, without having to make the full effort needed to power up the hills and keep up with a faster rider.

At 30km a few deciding factors came into play. The weather appeared to be taking a turn, with threatening rain clouds circling. Also a phenomena new to me set in, range anxiety. Not wanting to be caught out with many extra kilometres to go and a flat battery, unsure of the full life expectancy of battery and not fully trusting the handlebar computer’s calculations, we made the call to re-route, easily finding an alternate loop option that saw the ride out.

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What a super experience! There is no shame in riding an e-bike, it is 100% fun, and still requires a considerable amount of physical exertion. I imagine with more familiarity on e-bike of choice, range anxiety would not be an issue. For riders, families or friends of two speeds and different ride styles, this is a great way to be able to ride together again, and a win-win for all.

FUN FACTS

  • 35 MILLION e-bikes worldwide sales estimate for 2017
  • E-bikes are one of the fastest growing categories of bicycle sales
  • There are e-bikes of every type and brand

*Thanks to Gears Bike Shop for the e-Bike Electra Townie

Photo Credits: Howard Calvert

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