Better than a car

By James Durand

If you’d asked me about E-bikes five years ago I would have told you to suck it up and pedal.

Bikes are meant to be fun, but they’re also a form of exercise, so adding a motor to assist your efforts seemed like cheating to me.

Shortly after that, we had a couple come in asking about electric bikes because at their age of 80, they were having trouble with the hills and wanted to continue on their longer rides. My eyes had been opened up a bit that day.

Riding an electric assist bike sure beats not riding at all. With it being a motor strictly to assist, you have to pedal, so you are still getting some exercise. It seemed my elitist opinions were swaying slightly and it seemed okay for some people to ride an E-bike, but not me.

A few weeks ago I had a minor surgery and was told to stay off the bike for three weeks. Okay, surgery is scary and medical issues can set you back, but three weeks with no riding is all I heard, my surgeon clearly doesn’t understand me well.

The bad part is that is has nothing to due with crashing, bouncing, or straining anything. I’m just not allowed to exert myself for a few weeks.

As I watched my friends head out on my group rides without me, stared at my backyard pump track, or dreamed of Mount Washington, the stress built. I started looking for an escape, but found none.

Then last week I’m in Montreal looking at next year’s bikes. New toys, new colours and new technologies. All sitting right there waiting for me to ride. Trail bikes, or road bikes, the best of the best, and I’m not allowed to play.

At this point I’m starting to imagine what a diabetic feels like in a candy store.

Then I look around the corner and see an assortment of E-bikes. I’m wearing jeans, a cotton shirt and dress shoes. I borrow a helmet, throw a leg over a bike, and leave the showroom.

I saunter along the St. Lawrence River towards downtown Montreal. I cruise fancy neighbourhoods checking out the mansions, I pick up coffee in Pointe Claire, and I enjoy the water views while I ride 35 km.

I return after a few hours and step off the bike. I average over 20 km/hr, but I’m sweat free and relaxed.

Now I’m not one to take the easy way, especially on a bike, but if you don’t feel like pinning it, or you’re not in the mood for a big workout, is it not better to still get out on a bike instead of driving a car?

I had a great ride, I was relaxed, and I saw some parts of Montreal I would have surely missed in a car. I’m converted.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…