FAMILY VALUES AND E-BIKES
Electric bikes are the gift that brings everyone closer By Sam Bernard
This is becoming a familiar scenario—electric bike love starts when one family member comes home with one. Sometimes that’s because a car is being replaced with a cargo bike, sometimes it’s to rehab an injury, or sometimes it’s just a desire to get out, ride a bike and feel the wind in the face. As soon as other family members try it, they, too, get hooked on the thrill of electric assist. There are so many choices for different bikes to fit different riding styles and preferences, and there is something for everyone out there.
The family-friendly feature about electric bikes is that they are the great equalizer. Dad, Grandma and Junior may all have different fitness and riding abilities, but a motor helps level the playing field so that everyone can have a good time riding and enjoying the scenery together. Nobody ever has to feel like they’re holding others backin the group.
We recently had the opportunity to talk to several families about their experiences with electric bikes, and universally it was received positively. Whether it was parents and two kids or a massive family of over a dozen, everyone agrees that it brings everyone closer by having adventures together that create lifelong memories.
When Andrew Smith pulled his truck through the gates of Yosemite National Park, he was directed to VIP parking (for bicyclists). That’s where he, his wife Beverly and their 8-year-old son Colton alighted the vehicle and removed the three customized e-bikes from their racks. That is where they started their pedelec tour around the park, seeing the natural wonders on trails, paths and ridges where riding a regular bike would be difficult, if not impossible, for them.
Owners of The Bike Shop, a boutique bicycle shop in Santa Monica that sells everything from beach cruisers to high-end pedelecs, much of the Smith family’s life revolves around two-wheel vehicles. When it comes to planning most of their vacations and day trips, it’s all about the distinctive perspectives and experience that can be attained on e-bikes.
“When Colton was younger, the e-bikes were a huge help to cart him and supplies with us, as we like to ride rustic trails,” Andrew says. “He’s now big enough to ride his own.” He pauses, then adds with a chuckle, “I don’t think my son even realizes how special an electric bike is to us. He was raised on them!”
As for Beverly, she adds, “Our many excursions on pedelecs have made our family exceptionally close. Experiencing the many places we have ridden together is truly at the core of our family bond.”
Among the many places they travel are Santa Fe Dam, Joshua Tree, Banff National Park up in Alberta, Shasta Dam and Sequoia National Park, where they cruise along the Trail of a Thousand Giants. Andrew boasts, “It’s both great fun and educational for our son. He not only learns about our country’s history, but nature and how to be self-sufficient.”
In Boulder, Colorado, the Windsor family all love riding bikes together. Not all of them have the same abilities. When June, the matriarch of the family, was having some knee problems, they bought her a Yuba Spicy Curry cargo bike. Having this type of e-bike makes it easy to tote their two small children along on various adventures in the area. But soon, husband Gary and eldest daughter Patricia wanted their own because they couldn’t keep up with mom on their pedal bikes. They especially love to ride around the lakes and countryside, experiencing the area in a much grander way than they would by car while covering more ground.
“It’s a group activity that we share as a family,” Gary states proudly. “Riding together has brought us closer. Instead of everyone doing their own thing, we are engaged in the same experience together, having a fun time together!”
It started with the Spicy Curry. They call it the ultimate family bike and grocery-getter. The Bosch CX mid-drive provides plenty of power to get moving with a pile of groceries or two not-so-stationary kids on the back, even on days when her knees are acting up. Gary and Pat chose their own bikes; Gary went with the Bulls Lacuba Evo E8 and Pat decided on a Juiced Crosscurrent Air.
June really enjoys the functionality the cargo bike provides, but what she loves best is the joy that riding gives her family. “I was used to riding regular bikes, but our e-bikes have made me a convert. We go for longer rides and can all ride together, and, most importantly, we’ve realized that riding the e-bike puts big smiles on everyone’s faces. What more could a mother ask for?”
Businessman Don DiCostanzo rides his e-bike every single day to his office in Fountain Valley. Riding it is something he loves and doesn’t ever want to miss a day, not even on Christmas!
This past December 25th was a beautiful day in Newport Beach—clear, crisp with creamy clouds spread across the rich blue sky. Don loaded up the SUV with three e-bikes—one for him and one each for his daughters, Deanna and Jessica. Their destination was the Newport Coast Mountains, which feature hills and brush-lined trails against the backdrop of Newport Bay. Together they pedaled down scenic Rattlesnake Loop. Don reports that the air was filled with laughter and whoops of excitement as the three of them wound their way through the loop.
“My girls said this was one of the best Christmases ever.” They love e-bikes because its great exercise and can ride the loop as many times as they want while staying together. They still get exercise, while the pedal assist and throttle help them conquer even the biggest hills. “Engaging in this incredibly fun activity with my daughters was the best Christmas gift I could have ever wished for,” said Don. “Electric bicycles—I love them!”
At age 86, actor/producer William Shatner loves to stay active. He finds many ways to do this, but his very favorite is riding his electric bicycle. Back in 2012, Bill and his wife Liz were taking a walk on a popular bike path where they noticed several e-bikes whizzing by. He knew of their existence, but only vaguely. After further investigation, they knew they just had to have them, and they became owners of two Pedego Interceptor bikes.
After proudly showing them off to their family, everyone wanted one! Soon enough, the man known around the globe as “Captain Kirk” from his days starring in the sci-fi TV series “Star Trek” was commanding a star’s fleet of Pedego electric bikes—exactly 16 of them—that take his extended family soaring down Southern California bike paths for out-of-this-world adventures. Today, the Shatner family enjoys riding together on their 16 electric bikes—truly a star’s fleet full of fun.
“I treasure quality time with my family more than anything on earth—or any other planet,” Shatner said. “Electric bikes let us ride together sharing adventures. We can go as far as we want, knowing we can always get back. We can pedal or not and enjoy the scenery as the electric motor propels us along. It’s unifying, it’s joyful and it’s really something we all look forward to. It’s great, because I can keep up with the 20-year-olds in our family! In fact, sometimes I go a little faster!”
Shatner is proof positive that age is only a number, especially when you’re riding an electric bike.
Do you and your family ride together? If so, we’d love to hear your story. If not, we think you’re missing out on the fun and adventure that you can only experience from an electric bike. Unlike road cycling groups that labor to stay together as a pack, a family of electric bike riders can easily stay together, even if one or two are feeling a bit tired. Everyone gets out on two wheels, gets some fresh air and exercise, and gets to see more of the area in less time. What are you waiting for?
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