Monday, 6 February 2017

My sister gets an e-bike

A few weeks ago, my sister Aimée and her husband Neil took the plunge and bought folding e-bikes. With Neil planning to retire in the next year or so, they are hoping it will be as enjoyable a retirement activity as it has been for us. The four of us had a wonderful cycling holiday a couple of years ago – is it really that long ago? – when we went on a supported tour of the Mackenzie Country with Pure Trails. You can read about that trip here and here

The day they bought their bikes from Wellington Electric Bikes in Petone, they dropped by to show off their purchases. Neil bought a SmartMotion e20 like ours, but Aimée decided that she wanted the SmartMotion Vista, because it is lighter. She wants to be able to lift it in and out of the car herself (as her weekday rides, if any, will be mainly without Neil, until he retires). The fact that it has only three gears does not worry her. She’s not planning on doing any heroic hill rides, she says. (Anyway, John reckons they give her more or less the same range as our gears on the e20 give us.)

Neil’s e20 and Aimée’s Vista (photo by John)

So, on a sunny day in January Aimée, John and I set off on her inaugural ride on her new bike. We met at the Takapu end of Te Ara Tawa, intending to ride to the Gear Homestead Café and back.

Aimée sets off on her inaugural ride (photo by John)

We duly set off – past the Bucket Tree Motels, down towards the bridge over the Porirua Stream, back up a little rise onto Te Ara Tawa. We hadn’t gone more than 500 metres, when Aimée’s bike suddenly keeled over and she fell off her bike. I was behind her and of course stopped to help her. John, who was ahead, hadn’t noticed, so I called out to him to come back.

Poor Aimée, her right elbow had suffered a bad graze and understandably, she was feeling quite shaky. We were all a bit mystified as to what had happened. Aimée said her handlebar had suddenly swivelled, and that’s when she’d lost control. So while I patched up Aimée’s elbow (luckily I always carry a small first-aid kit), John tightened up the handlebar and checked that everything else was as it should be.

After a little while we were up on our bikes again. As with a fall off a horse, it is best to get straight back into the saddle again. John’s rear-mounted camera took several photos of us as we were riding along.

On the shared walking/cycling path on Beauchamp Street (photo by John)

On the relatively new track between Kenepuru and Porirua (photo by John)

The steep drive up to the Gear Homestead Café did not present any problem (photo by John)

We enjoyed lunch in the garden of the café. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, John took the opportunity to photograph Aimée’s bike from all angles, as he wanted to write a review of the bike for his website. Her bike, the Vista, is a folding version of the SmartMotion eMetro that he has reviewed before, so this was to be an update. 

Lunch in the garden (photo by John)

The controller is different from the e20 … (photo by John)

… and the motor is in the front wheel (photo by John)

Ready for the return ride (photo by John)

When we got back to our cars, John asked if he could take Aimée’s bike for a short ride up the track – all in the interests of his review.

I think it was an enjoyable ride, and I hope Aimée thought so too, despite her fall. But she did report that the following few days she was feeling quite bruised and sore all over. Poor thing …

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