An Electric Bike for You?

Roger Fife

Turning back the clock on aging?

I will be 80-years-old in just two months, but as I approach that milestone, it feels like I am getting younger physically and I owe this to riding my e-bike. Yes, an electric bike!

Many SaddleBrooke residents have physical problems related to their legs, such as trouble walking, climbing stairs, getting out of a chair, and playing sports. Much of this, as we all know, is due to muscle weakness as we age. I’ve had those same problems with my legs.

My usual active lifestyle includes playing tennis, hiking, and biking, which, in the past, included many week-long bicycle trips in foreign countries. On each of those trips, we would typically bike 35 to 50 miles a day.

However, bicycle riding changed as I have aged. The grinding, uphill climbs and slow speeds diminished my pleasure in bicycle riding to the point that I gave up riding altogether.

A year and a half ago, we moved to SaddleBrooke from Colorado. It was then that my wife and I thought about trying e-bikes. Could we get back into riding with the help of an e-bike? Would the passion and enjoyment of riding bikes return?

We started researching e-bikes and trying out some models that were available in the Tucson and Phoenix areas. I was still looking when I got lucky and found a used bike in our SaddleBrooke community. I say “lucky,” because the bike I purchased was high quality. It was, in fact, one I had tried out at a shop in Gilbert and liked.

When I began riding my newly-acquired e-bike this summer, I would begin around 6 a.m., which was a perfect time in that weather. It is invigorating to get out early as the community begins to wake up. I see dog walkers and wildlife and usually catch a beautiful sunrise. I now can ride faster with less effort and it is exhilarating. Typically, I ride three to four times a week, covering seven to ten miles, but sometimes I go farther, because it is so enjoyable.

My leg conditioning has improved considerably. I now walk with ease and with a longer stride. I’m now going up and down stairs like I did 15 years ago. Tennis and hiking have also improved. This has given me a new lease on life. There may also be some other benefits to e-biking such as improved balance, physical endurance, and flexibility.

Hopefully, a few of you will be inspired to pursue e-biking for its promise of physical conditioning, but also consider the outright enjoyment you will have. E-biking is fun!

The main consideration for people purchasing an e-bike to get some exercise is to buy one that is equipped with torque sensing for motor power rather than cadence sensing. This will give you some exercise and you will feel like your legs are bionic!