e-Biking It!

I’m such a wuss! The hills and mountains around here were striking at my undoing in terms of bicycling. Around here in town, I’m good. It is pretty flat. However, go a mile or so in any direction I’m willing to bicycle on and you run into some pretty good hills. After over a year of bicycling to get in shape, the hills were still killing me! And I haven’t even gotten to the real mountains a few miles further. Oh me, oh my. What’s an old man to do? Enters PJ at my local R.E.I. –a very Bohemian soul. And, Ben there wasn’t any help either.

Both Ben and PJ work in the bike department at our Greenville, SC, REI store. Well, PJ works all over the place, but Ben is one of the bike mechanics. Unlike most of the youngsters that work there, i.e. 30’s and under, PJ is an old man, relatively speaking, somewhere in his 50’s I’m guessing, and a lifelong, dedicated bicycle rider. He and Ben have been my constant advisors on my re-arisen bicycling endeavor, starting with my REI touring bike, Adv 1.1. model.

PJ on left, Ben on right. The two R.E.I. culprits!

I love the Adv 1.1, a really well designed and built bike. But alas, even replacing the rear gear cassette with a lower gear capability didn’t sufficiently help my futile efforts on some of those hills. Plus, I am always having to calculate my rides in terms of 1) what hills I encounter and what direction, as well as 2), the traffic and times on all the winding country, two-lane roads, with no shoulders, that I have to ride on around here. When the highways were built, who needed shoulders, right? Gees. My new electric-bike doesn’t help the latter, but should definitely address the first, the hill issue.

After doing a lot of research and several talks with PJ especially, I decided on the Cannodale 700 M Synapse 1 C model (picture above). After I had decided, Ben, informed me, that that was the model he had, and how pleased he had been with it. It’s a road bike, but could take a back bike rack and carry my Ortlieb panniers. It has about a 150 mile range. Plenty for me to do road trips around here and even go on touring trips, provided I plot out my recharging stops. It rides very much like my old Felt road bike but with power-assist peddling. I can determine how much assistance I want.

I’m transferring my equipment and accessories from my Adv1.1 touring bike over to the e-bike with a somewhat heavy heart. I really love that touring bike, but this e-bike, for my limited budget, was very expensive and a major investment. I really need to sell the touring bike to help pay off the new e-bike. Sigh. Plus, I need the room in my shop where I store the bikes.

My nearly 20-year old Felt road bike is now serving as a dedicated indoor training bike, which I will post about later. That’s been a whole different learning experience.

I’m biting at the bit to get out on the road to really try out the e-bike. But, alas, the weather has not been cooperative. I’ll let you know how that goes.

PS update: Wednesday I got home from my Boys School/ Equine-Assisted Counseling gig early. (This is all the counseling I do anymore.) It was supposed to have rained all day and been cold, wet, and windy. Obviously the weather had not listened to or heeded the weather forecast. When I got home, there was blue sky, it had warmed up to 61 degrees, and only a slight breeze. Finally, I was able to take the bike out for a shakedown ride. Did a short 10-miler. It was wonderful! The e-bike ate up those hills! I came back feeling like I had a good workout, noting that I needed to adjust the rear derailer a little–the chain was slipping on the lowest sprocket–, but not exhausted. It was exhilarating!

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