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Beacon Senior News

E-Bike enthusiasm from a former bicycle purist

Jan 28, 2020 11:09AM ● By Melanie Wiseman

Neighborhood streets, The Riverfront Trail and Canyon View Park are busier than ever with “boomer bikers.” One reason is the thriving enthusiasm for e-bikes, resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales per year.

Once a bicycle purist, I’ve grown to accept the benefits of this revolutionary bike, which gives users a little boost with an electric motor and rechargeable battery. E-bikes are offered in three classes according to the speed and type of gentle propulsion assistance given.

“Baby Boomers have a lot to do with the popularity of e-bikes,” said Diane Manuppella, co-owner of Colorado E-Bikes. “With the many varieties of e-bikes and modifications that can be made, people are able to get back on bikes, even if they haven’t ridden for years.”

Colorado E-Bike customers are calling their e-bikes “life-changing.”

“We see the satisfaction our customers get in range of motion and the ability to be active again,” said Manuppella. “One customer who was previously immobile has lost over 90 pounds.”

E-bikes can be useful therapy for those with cardiac and respiratory challenges, hip and knee replacements, prosthetics, MS, Parkinson's and other limitations. New e-bike designs are both lighter in weight and on the wallet. Options include trikes, recumbent and recumbent tandems (designed to be ridden by lying almost flat on one’s back), fat tires, cross (road to gravel), mountain, road and folding bikes.

“E-bikes take the intimidation out of riding, and take the worry out of distance, hills and headwinds,” said Manuppella. “Instead of thinking ‘I can’t,’ you’ll find yourself saying ‘I can!’”

Walter Cummings, 66, is probably the biggest advocate for e-bikes you’ll find anywhere. In good weather, he rides his e-bike between his Redlands home and the Lincoln Park pickleball courts almost daily. He’s done that for almost four years. With double collapsible baskets, he uses the bike to make runs to the grocery store as well as other errands.

“By using my e-bike two-thirds of the time in town, I save $1,000 per year on gas!” said Cummings. “I also like the fact that they are eco-friendly and don’t create any pollution.”

Cummings enjoys commuting by e-bike for the outdoor experience versus “riding in a box.” Each charge allows him 25 miles of travel, as he toggles between 17 and 22 miles per hour. With his home at the top of a tall hill, he welcomes the helping hand at the end of a ride.

While traditional bikes may be collecting dust, e-bikes are being ridden more often, further and faster.

Whether you’re a leisure seeker, commuter, road or mountain biker or recovering from an injury or surgery, e-bikes offer a little extra assistance to help you enjoy your biking experience.