This post was not typed in one day. This is a big decision. And one that is tearing me apart. This post is about me about getting a electric assist mountain bike. It’s a touchy subject for sure.
Today any good bike shop has at least 3 or 4 ebikes in stock. They for sure have their place in the bike world. I’ve sold more in the last 4 months (not MTB) than the last 10 years. Mostly to those who just want to ride farther. Not faster. For commuting. If your not a cyclist and your farthest ride was 5 miles now you can do 25. Again, they do have their place in the cycling world. And I agree that this is a good use.
Enter the eMTB. This is a bike that is very distinctive in what they do. No elderly people buying these. No commuting. Im on the fence here. The bike manufactures show videos of these bikes being ridden by young riders ripping it up. So here they are showing riders that are perfectly able to ride in any terrain but now you can ride said terrain faster. I disagree with this use. And some trail systems are also disagreeing and banning them on their trails. But thats not the reason Im getting one.
Let’s back up a few weeks. No… a few months. Last fall when I was riding out west my buddy had to adjust their route for me. I just could not ride what everyone else was riding. Thousands of feet of climbing. Having someone pick out a easy route for me and still struggling. That’s not a feel good moment. Fast forward to two weeks ago. On my Sunday ride in Eagle River I struggled terribly. It took me two weeks to say this out loud but I had a terrible time that day on the bike. I walked more than I rode. Sure, I was a ton dehydrated but the effort knocked the crap out of me. That was the start of this thought process.
Today almost all of the people I ride with have to wait for me. Trails I had so much fun on years ago I cannot ride today. So here are my thoughts:
I love MTBing. It’s really the only riding I care about. Last week I decided to ditch my road bike and had me thinking about how much I want to just MTB. But physically Im just not able to ride the way I once did. Some trails I just dont do anymore. Any ride over 1000 feet of climbing and Im done. I’ve always been a big guy and in my youth I could work past that but I just can’t anymore. Bad knees and bad hips. Up until last week I just thought I could lose some weight and ride harder to get back in shape. Ive been thinking that for 5 years now. Its time to face reality.
Currently I pretty much ride alone. I can’t do the rides everyone else is doing now. I used to, but cannot anymore. So my rides are solo. I miss riding with my freinds and the ones I do ride with go out of their way to accommodate me.
Im not going to get faster. Im going to get older. And slower.
This has not been a easy decision. It’s hard to be a true cyclist and ride a bike with a motor in it. It just does not sound right. It’s for sure not the same. Part of riding bikes is fitness.
But this is pedal assist. Not a motorcycle. Am I going to crank the assist up to 11 and ride 30mph in the woods? I am not. This will let me ride with my friends on trail systems I forgot that I could once do. Im not going to rip it up. This will not put me ahead of everyone. It will bring up to their speed. I dont care to go faster. I just want to keep up.
I will never lead, only be happy to once again follow. This bike wont be an addition to my stable. I will sell the EX and this bike will be my one and only mountain bike. Its a leap of faith.
And maybe I will fall in love with MTBing again. And maybe stay that way for quite some time. Head west and climb some mountains this fall. Ride the local trails with the crew.
But in a way, Im giving up. Im admitting to myself that my bike fitness is on the way down the other side of the mountain. But you know what? That will happen to all of us. No one can beat father time. But as I battle father time I will be riding my bike in the woods with friends. And that may mean I win.
Again, I’ve been lying awake at nite thinking about this. But I think Im in it for all the right reasons. And I know some trail systems have flat out said no ebikes. I hope that they would make exceptions for riders like me.
Its looking like I’ll have said bike in 7 to 10 days. Im considering heading up to Marquette on the 11th and 12th for Ore to Shore (not to race of course). And maybe find some friends to ride with.