December 21, 2019 - First ride on the XP!

A year ago today I got my first bike in 20 years, an electric folding bike, the LectricXP. I’d sold my last two bikes 20 years ago after an aggravated knee injury that didn’t seem to get better. Over the years I would occasionally try a bike ride on a borrowed bike but the discomfort was there every time. When I bought the LectricXP last winter I expected to just use it to ride a mile to visit my folks and check the mail when I wanted something faster than my usual walk. I had no idea that I’d be able to consistently pedal again. The day of this photo I ended up riding a 12 mile round trip to town. The bike did most of the work as I didn’t yet have the confidence that my knee would hold up to much effort. Over the weeks I put in more of the effort and was riding farther, as far as the battery would safely last.

The Rad Rover in Perry County - a 40ish mile ride!

After a month I’d bought a second e-bike, the Rad Rover that had a larger range (45 miles instead of 35) and I was riding nearly every day up to 30 miles. Then 35 miles. Then 40 miles. By March I was trying to pedal as much of my 45 mile rides with little to no assist from the bike for as much of the ride as I could. I rode 800 miles on the Rover in March.

Non-Powered  Gravity fat bike

With the Covid virus getting worse my sister started working remotely and began a long-term visit in early April that would end up lasting through the summer. I decided to cut my long county rides short and focus on building some trails to ride closer at hand. As a result, in April I bought the non-powered Gravity Bullseye Monster fat bike. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to ride it unassisted but the Rover had allowed me to build up some confidence. A year ago the idea of riding a bike unassisted wasn’t a thought when I tapped the “buy” button on the Lectric webpage. 50 miles with no assist? I would have rolled on the ground laughing. Or that I would be riding nearly every day week after week? I’m feeling a lot of gratitude for the folks at Lectric and Rad Power Bikes as they got me back peddling on my own again. And for anyone thinking of an electric bike, go for it! That said, if you are healthy enough to pedal on your own, keep at it as much as you are able. There’s no technology better than a bike that I can think of that has made me a happier, healthier person in the course of my life.

It seems weird that in this terrible, bizzaro nightmare of a year I have had perhaps the best year of my previous 20 years thanks to these bikes and the socially distanced life I’ve been living for most of the past 12 years. As the pandemic, social struggles, and related nightmares raged on I’ve been out in the quiet countryside peddling along blissfully. It’s a strange disconnect. Regardless, I’m thankful that my year has been a healthy one.