E-bike: E for enjoyment

My brother Charlie and I have been biking since we were 8 years old. Every weekend, every summer, everyday when we don’t have school in La Salle Bacolod and when our BMX bikes are begging for a joyride, we ride. Wearing slippers or Adidas Pro Models, wearing sleeveless or being shirtless, we’d cycle over 110 rotations per minute. Our playground was Mountain View Subd. in the City of Smiles.

Fast forward to a few decades later and I’ve shifted to the mountainbike and road bike. But there’s been another ride that I’ve tried lately. 

An E-bike. The “e” stands for electric. There are various types but the one my buddies James Co and doctors Ronnie Medalle and Ron Eullaran and I use is termed “pedelec” (pedal electric cycle): it’s a regular bike with a small motor that gives you assistance as you pedal. In our Giant Fathom e-bikes, for example, there are 5 settings and you pedal hard but with the added boost. 

My verdict? I’ve never had more fun. I used to detest it. When friends would mention the word “e-bike,” I’d cringe and my ego would say, “That’s for the oldies. I’m a true-blooded cyclist and I only need my God-given legs.” 

What a mistake! Now that I have an e-bike, I’m smiling, pedaling, smiling, pedaling — even on a 15% climb. 

On an e-bike, you’re much faster. We bike in Maria Luisa and you know this village. It’s littered with mountains. On a regular bike, if I climb towards the Busay gate, I’d switch the gears to the softest one and grind slowly at, what, 7 kph? On an e-bike, I’d attack that ridge. I can go on a Niño Surban-like 18 kph on the steepest hill. It’s amazing. And you won’t understand these words unless you try it yourself. 

You cover a much farther distance. In Maria Luisa, if I bike for 60 minutes, that would normally take me to a just few sections in the subdivision. On an e-bike? I can go down to the Banilad guardhouse, trek all the way to the Busay gate — twice. No kidding. Banilad to Busay to Banilad to Busay in 50 minutes. I feel like I’m Chris Froome.

Your workout is (nearly) the same. Dr. Arnold Tan and I were “e-biking” for over two hours last Sunday (elevation gain: 878 meters) and, being Cebu’s top cardiovascular surgeon, he should know plenty about the workings of the heart. 

“You almost get the same workout on an e-bike,” he said. “You burn the same calories.”

I agree. Since you’re going much faster, your cadence increases and so does your heart rate. Your leg muscles will not be subjected to the hard, painful grind but your heart will pump just as fast. And because you’re less “laspag,” you can ride again the following day. And the day after that.

The Bicycling.com article, “13 Reasons to Get Stoked About E-Bikes,” confirms this: “Getting an e-bike can dramatically increase how often you ride, according to a recent survey of nearly 1,800 e-bike owners in North America. Beforehand, 55 percent of respondents said they rode daily or weekly. After buying an e-bike, that number soared to 91 percent.”

An E-bike is a game changer. Try it.

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