By Nick Claire
Photos: Pat Carrigan
While many of us have different ideas about what ultimate purpose our e-bikes serve, every once in a while we’ll run into someone who thinks outside the box and doesn’t seem to put limits on themselves or, better still, their kids. One of those guys would be Bill Baker, who is a local vet cross-country racer.
Last year Bill decided that he wanted to take his daughter Morgan out on some longer rides than what they had been doing together. While doing laps around the neighborhood was easy enough for a 9-year old, the thought of making a three-to-five-mile ride through hills is pretty daunting. Now, all Bill had to do was find a bike that would fit her.
Eventually, Bill decided to settle on an extra-small Haibike HardSeven 1.0 with 27.5-inch wheels. Although the bike was on the big side for her, Bill knew she would soon fit it more comfortably. Best of all, with the purchase of the new bike and some gentle cajoling, thanks to the e-bike, Bill knew that Morgan would now be able to experience the scenic views that he had been describing to his family for years.
Once Bill went over all the technical details of the bike, including what the different power modes were and how to use them, the two were able to double and triple their previous ride lengths. Best of all (at least 0f or Bill), Morgan was now able to climb hills that would make many adults cringe.
The best thing that’s come from Morgan’s riding has been how infectious her enthusiasm and excitement has impacted the other members of the family. Since Morgan got the bug, so, too, has her mom and sister who both experienced the e-bike experience and have now also been to the top of some of Bill’s favorite climbs. Bill laughs as he shares tales of struggling to keep up on the climbs while yelling, “Eco mode, Eco mode!” to whoever is riding away from him!
At this stage, Bill’s biggest hope is that a more permanent cycling seed has been planted so that the whole family can begin to experience the joy of pedaling as a family.
THE PERSONAL GAIN
When it comes to chasing his own fitness goals, Bill is happy to report that the lonely task of doing intervals has only improved with the e-bike, because now Morgan can join him. So, when he’s doing his intervals at 350 watts for a minute and a half on his cross-country pedal bike, his daughter is now right beside him doing her own intervals (though not as intensely) on her Haibike. More important, Bill feels it will inevitably have an impact on her fitness in the future, as she now has first-hand experience on what goes into becoming successful in the sport her father is so passionate about.
As Bill sees it, the e-bike is playing an important role in progressing his kids’ physical skills and confidence at an early age. He also mentioned that there isn’t as much pressure on them to climb a hill with an e-bike versus on their regular bike, which only wears them down before they can get to the top.
Recently, Bill and his wife have let Morgan start riding her e-bike to school, a trip which has brought with it a new sense of pride and responsibility that also makes her feel more independent.
When they ride together, Bill and his daughter have been turning heads and changing the perspectives of people they meet on the trail: “I think it’s hard to knock a little kid for being a ‘cheater’ riding some of the trails we hit. I’m hoping it makes people realize what their own possibilities are when they see a 9-year-old on an e-bike.”
When asked what her favorite part about riding the e-bike was, Morgan replied with a smile. “I like the e-bike when there are a lot of steep hills! My legs aren’t dying as much on the climbs, and it’s much more fun,” she said before adding, “I only use Eco mode, though.” Kids having fun outdoors—what a concept!