When we moved into our current home nearly five years ago, one of the first things I did was buy myself a bike. I hadn’t owned one in a while, and I was excited not only to do a little riding around with my daughter (who is ALWAYS on wheels, be it Rollerblades, a skateboard, or a bicycle herself), or to get two bags of groceries from my local Trader Joes without having to deal with their crazy parking lot.
My husband rides a mountain bike, and can go for miles: He used to be gone for hours in Malibu State Park and cover lots of terrain. That kind of biking has never really been my thing— I get a little nervous about riding that far (probably because I’m worried I won’t be able to get back!). So when he sets out for one of those bike rides, I wave goodbye and stay in the neighborhood.
An electric bike is a workaround that I hadn’t considered, but since trying one from Juiced Bikes, I’m having a major change of heart… in that I’m in LOVE with how it’s actually getting me exercising more and integrating into my lifestyle more than my analog bike ever did.
For those who are new to the idea of one, here’s the background: Basically, an e-bike is a bicycle that can run on electric power or pedaling—it’s your call. What this means for you is that you can take it out for a spin, pedal 70 percent of the time, then rely on some of that souped up (but still smooth) electric power to get you through those last couple of uphills. The exertion level is up to you, not the terrain.
The e-bike gives you an alternate mode of transportation for running errands around your neighborhood, and you can decide how hard you want to work: Push the accelerator to go vroom without moving your legs, or use the pedal assist which adds a bit of extra oomph to your pedaling. In other words, you can get on your e-bike with intentions to take on every uphill, but if you find the load of groceries you’re carrying back is too heavy—or you simply want to look cute vs. sweaty upon arrival at your destination—you can rely on the handlebar accelerator to give you that extra push.
I took Juiced Bike’s RipCurrent e-bike for a spin by the beach on a chilly but gorgeous day to check it out: The route to get there was gorgeous, but hilly— getting down the hill was exhilarating, but heading home was a steep uphill would have been impossible without some help. Once I was on the boardwalk, however, it was lovely to pedal and take in the scenery without assistance. With a 750-watt motor in tow I took comfort in knowing that I wouldn’t have a torturous time getting back to my car.
Back in my neighborhood, I’m loving that it’s a transportation option that’s a lot more eco-friendly than my gas guzzler. Los Angeles is NOT doable without a vehicle, but I do run a lot of regular errands close to my house, and I welcome anything that puts me out in nature instead of getting into my car for the 80th time that week. I bought a cute tote bag for it, but I also can haul a grocery bag or two, and another cute bag upfront stores my phone and keys. It’s got fat tires that make it feel really stable, and 20-45 miles of range, so I have time to get everything done without worrying that I’ll run out of juice.
Here’s the last thing, and it’s real talk: I haven’t been taking care of myself as much as I’d like to lately. Getting to the gym, or prioritizing self-care at all, has been last on my list these days. The e-bike is like a little mind trick: I know I don’t have to do the work, which makes me feel more comfortable about getting out there, and I end up doing more of the pedaling than I would have thought.
According to a recent report in The New York Times, e-biking has the potential to increase aerobic fitness, help you have better blood sugar control and reduce overall body fat. The good news? These results are possible even if you crank the motor up: With pedal assist, you have help, but it’s still on you to get yourself from A to B.
So, what do you think—would you give e-biking a try? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Juiced provided an e-bike for the purposes of testing for this post.