The Glowing Bicyclist by Kellie Morris

The gym uniforms we wore in Middle and High school just reinforced the old saying: men sweat and women glow. When you are wearing a starched, white, 100% cotton, cap-sleeve blouse closed my snaps, you’re going to do everything you can to NOT sweat in PE class. I’ve dated myself! There were two reasons for that aversion to sweat;

1)  You had to wash, starch and iron that blouse into submission so it was stiff enough to stand on its own.  I remember the crunching sound my blouse made whenever I moved.  Crunching was a good thing: you had penetrated that cotton with the recommended amount of starch.  

2) If we sweated we would have to disrobe in front of all the other girls and take a shower! Yuk!

Fast forward a few decades and I have gotten over my aversion to sweating (and showering) when it’s appropriate for me to sweat. I usually pace my bike rides to match the type of riding I’m doing:

  • Workout = major sweat
  • Running errands = minor sweat
  • Communing = glowing 

I have discovered the perfect way to glow over longer distances: riding an electric bicycle (also known as an ebike)!  My husband and I have rented Pedego  ebikes from the Greater Long Beach Pedego dealer twice in the last 6 months (we used an Amazon Local deal).  Beth and Brian own the shop and took the time to explain how to operate the ebike safely.

We were hooked the minute we took off from the parking lot. For our first rental we rode bikes with a throttle near the right handgrip. When we needed some speed we rotated the throttle toward us. If we didn’t need assistance, we just pedaled the bike, shifting as needed.   We also tried the pedal assist, known as pedelec ebike. That was so much fun! You set the percentage of help you want and the bike gives you assistance as long as you are pedaling. Talk about Pedal Love.

I decided to check out an ebike shop that carries several brands of ebikes.  My research pointed to Electric Bikes Los Angeles  located in El Segundo.   It was hard to interview Craig Savage, the Sales and Service manager because I was rubber necking all the beautiful ebikes and folding bikes in stock.  I also was able to talk to a few ebike owners who were all very enthusiastic about their purchase. My hands were itching to try a few models. I settled on the two biggest  pedelec sellers:  Stromer and Easy-Motion (e-motion). 

So why would someone buy an ebike, especially since you will pay $2000-$4000 for a quality bike? I already own three bikes so I have to come up with solid excuses to talk my hubby into buying another bike!   So here’s my logical list (no emotion involved!) of “Why buy an ebike?”:

  • It opens up more opportunities to ride your bike for running errands, commuting and getting around town.
  • It’s a great way for someone improving their health by getting into a sport. The healthier they become the less they may use the pedal assist.
  • It will allow a slower bicyclist to keep up with faster bicyclists (note: it’s a way to get others to join you on a ride
  • It can assist in disease management – I cycle regularly to help manage the level of my chronic pain; The more I exercise the less medication I need to take.
  • Riding a bike might take too much effort if you live in hilly or windy area.
  • It will blow away all the excuses you have for NOT riding.
  • It will take less time commuting than riding a regular bike and it might take less time than driving, depending on the traffic and commuting distance.

There are some downsides to owning an ebike

  • They are heavier than a regular bike
  • You do need to charge the battery
  • It costs more than an non-electric bike

Now let’s get radical: It could replace a second car for local trips.  If you replaced a car, you would:

  • No longer buy gas
  • No longer need insurance (but probably want to purchase bike insurance)
  • No longer pay the DMV for vehicle registration
  • Be legal to ride on bike paths and streets
  • Pay less for maintenance than you would for a car
  • Always have a free parking space near the front door of your destination
  • Never get a parking ticket!

Has this overview got you curious to learn more about ebikes? Try electricbike.com for lots of information and articles about ebikes.  There is also a very informative presentation, ebikes in the United States, put together by John MacArthur, Portland State University.   To me the most surprising stats gathered from the ebike owner survey addressed ebike use:

  • 94% indicated they had rode a standard bike as an adult
  • 55% rode their standard bike weekly or daily prior to e-bike purchase --this went up to 93% after purchase
  • Of the 6% that hadn’t rode a bike as an adult, of those 89% ride their e-bike daily or weekly
  • Over 90% use their e-bikes weekly or daily

Part two of the Glowing Bicyclist will look into converting your current bike to an ebike along with other ways to glow while you go on your bike!  Have comments? Ideas? Suggestions? Please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!

About Kellie

KellieMorrisweb_MG_0176.jpg

Kellie did her first multiday, fund-raising bike ride in 2002 after a co-worker dared her to take up the challenge - the seven-day ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. In 2010 Kellie was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease: Mixed Connective Tissue disease that left her so weak she could barely dress herself. Through medication, dietary changes and exercise she was able to recover much of her strength.  Kellie does most of her local trips on her trike including shopping, running errands, attending fitness classes, visiting friends and even riding to church. In May 2013 Kellie became a certified bicycling instructor via The League of American Bicyclists. She now teaches throughout Long Beach and Los Angeles. Image by Lisa Beth Anderson.

 

 

 

 

What My Bike Means to Me

Image by Lisa Beth Anderson

Image by Lisa Beth Anderson

My bike is an integral part of my life. It represents freedom, fun, travel, exploration, introspection, pain reduction, transportation, exercise, connection and, personal expression.  These representations ebb and flow throughout my decades of riding.

When I reached my early teens I noticed a marked difference between my parents - beside the obvious stuff like Dad was a man and Mom was a woman.  They had very different interests especially when it came to physical fitness.  In fact my parents were at opposite ends of the bell curve when it came to physical fitness.   My Dad ran and coached track and my Mom very rarely exercised.  Eventually my Mom’s declining health left her in chronic pain, obese and struggling with various health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Dad kept working-out well into his seventies and maintained a perfect weight until his death at eighty one.

I inherited many of my father’s physical characteristics but I also inherited many of my Mom’s health issues such as high blood pressure and arthritis.  Physical characteristics inherited from my parents are one part of what makes me, me. I also learned healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms from my parents.  What do you do during emotionally challenging situations? I learned to eat and to exercise but not necessarily to share my feelings.  Sometimes I couldn’t share my feelings because I didn’t even know what I was feeling.

As I have gotten older and have spent many hours riding my bike, I have meditated on my life and how I could be a better me.  I ponder the passages I read in the Bible, consider the advice given to me from my close friends and sometimes I just ride, emptying my mind of all the dialog that sometimes clogs my brain. 

Kellie rides her cool 60's vintage folding bike for shorter rides and her recumbent for longer rides. Image by Lisa Beth Anderson.

Kellie rides her cool 60's vintage folding bike for shorter rides and her recumbent for longer rides. Image by Lisa Beth Anderson.

I have learned to be in the moment while riding my bike: just enjoying where I was and what I was doing at that moment. I have learned to commute with my bike: taking quick trips to the market, movies, coffee shop or post office.   I have learned to treasure the beautiful Southern California climate. I have learned how to pack up my bike and trailer and travel across several states carrying all the supplies I need, camping and swapping adventure stories with my fellow travelers.  I have learned that even though I wake up with chronic pain, one of the best ways to lessen the pain is to ride my bike: not an easy feat since I would rather stay in bed than move my painful body.

I could not imagine my life without my bike. It is my physical, spiritual and emotional life glue. 

About Kellie

Image by Lisa Beth Anderson

Image by Lisa Beth Anderson

Kellie did her first multiday, fund-raising bike ride in 2002 after a co-worker dared her to take up the challenge - the seven-day ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. In 2010 Kellie was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease: Mixed Connective Tissue disease that left her so weak she could barely dress herself. Through medication, dietary changes and exercise she was able to recover much of her strength.  Kellie does most of her local trips on her trike including shopping, running errands, attending fitness classes, visiting friends and even riding to church. In May 2013 Kellie became a certified bicycling instructor via The League of American Bicyclists. She now teaches throughout Long Beach and Los Angeles.