I have a cycle computer, and being somewhat of a geek, I like to keep track of my stats when I’m on my bikes. But, for my road bike ride, I didn’t want to look at my average speed during the ride, because I figured it would be so slow. Instead I just kept the distance displayed. I noticed many times that my instantaneous speed was hovering around 20 mph, and a few times that it dropped down to 14-15 mph on a big hill, but I thought I was doing ok. Well, except for the time that a pack of hard-core racer types – all guys – whizzed past me going 23-25 mph. I held them off on a hill, but once we got to the flat stretch, they were gone.
On Wednesday evening I dusted off my poor road bike, a Lemond Buenos Aires, to take her out for a ride. I hadn’t been on her for 6 months or so. The tires were flat, and the chain needed a serious lube. I got her going, and went out in the popular Dairyland area North of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, for a pleasant ride in the rolling hills (some would say these hills are more than rolling).
Starting out, I thought that I was going to suck wind on this ride, since it was my first ride in so many months on the road bike (which does not have electric assist!). In fact, aside from my electric assist Big Dummy, the only other bike I’ve been on in the past six months is my 29er mountain bike – exactly 3 times. My life is way too busy right now for regular recreational rides on the road bike or the mountain bike. The only bike I have time to ride is the one I get to and from work on and do errands on – which has an electric motor that some folks tell me they consider “cheating”.
Anyway, after my 21.4 mile loop with 1,043 ft of climbing (plus 7 miles to/from home), I stopped and checked the average speed: 18.91 mph – very close to 19 mph. This is not Olympic level riding – but neither is it slouch riding. Even back when I was training on the road bike regularly, I rarely would average much over 19 mph when riding by myself (and often 22-23 mph or so in a group for this hilly area).
There goes another nail in the coffin of the myth that “electric bikes don’t give you exercise” or “electric bikes are cheating”. I couldn’t have pulled off that kind of speed if I hadn’t been riding almost every single day on my electric cargo bike. Some days on my electric bike I don’t pedal very hard, if I’m feeling tired. Other days I pedal a lot to get the exercise. But I do pedal, every day – because I feel goofy riding the bike without pedaling.
It reminds me of a customer whom we’re going to profile soon on video. She bought an electric eZee hub motor kit from us last year. She put it on her commuting bike, and logged over 2,000 miles on it in the past year. In the process, she lost 90 pounds! She recently brought her bike in to have us take the motor off, and to put that on a cargo bike with an Xtracycle for her. She is in such good shape now, she no longer needs the electric assist for her regular commute on the regular bike. I don’t think her 90 lbs lost and all those car trips saved are “cheating” – exactly the opposite.