Some people think that electric bikes are for lazy people. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In my own case, I started riding an electric bike after a collision with a car while on my in-line skates shattered several bones and sidelined me from any athletic activity for over two years.
Once I was able to start riding again, I was weak and out of shape, and I lacked energy, as my cardio-vascular fitness was nonexistent. It was under these circumstances that I discovered the BionX electric bike kit. I installed the BionX kit on my bike several months ago, and began riding a local rails-to-trails several times a week with a friend of mine.
The BionX conversion kit allows you to select between four levels of assistance. Because the sealed internal hub motor and lithium ion battery pack add weight to your bicycle, you will probably want to use the electric drive, if for no other reason than to compensate for the added weight. My friend is a semi-professional bike racer, and even before I was injured, it was no easy task to keep pace with him. After my accident, it became “mission impossible.”
The BionX kit changes everything. We are not racing, we are only training, and selecting Assist Level 2 on the control console amplifies my effort to the point that it allows me to travel at about 15 mph, and that’s fast enough. A typical ride is about 14-15 miles long, and the lithium ion battery has plenty of charge remaining after that distance.
I am a longtime member of the New York 5 Borough Bicycle Club, and I used to love to go on leisurely day-long rides with the club in the city. I went out on many rides with them where we racked up 40 – 60 miles or more. Now, believe it or not, after riding the rail trail 3 – 4 times a week for the past several months, I believe I have gotten strong enough to ride with them again.
My present training regimen includes a ride, once a week, on a non-motorized Trek mountain bike on the same trail. This is a sort of training “ritual” for me. I usually go out on Saturday morning. When I started, I was pedaling between 8 and 9 miles per hour. Now my speed is up to about 12 or 13.
I enjoy the non-motorized ride as much as I enjoy the ride on my BionX-equipped bike. But with the BionX PL350 bike, I know that I have “power on demand” to maintain whatever pace I want to, and that the lithium battery and rear hub motor have the capacity to extend my range and allow me to complete long rides without suffering from soreness, fatigue, or heat exhaustion as we all grind along through an abnormally hot summer. And that motivates me to continue riding, gradually becoming stronger and more physically fit with each passing week. And I hope that by sharing my story here, I have dispelled the myth that EBikes are a crutch for lazy riders.